When thinking about the lifecycle of your business there are a number of events and circumstances where you will require external professional advice, whether that comes from a lawyer, an accountant or any other professional adviser. Brodies, alongside Anderson, Anderson & Brown (AAB) recently provided their insight on the core values required for a successful negotiation to the Scotsman as part of its deals special report. The comments and discussion within this article, got us thinking. What makes a good professional adviser?

Here at Brodies, our Corporate colleagues, along with input from AAB, have come up with some key characteristics to consider ensuring you've chosen the right adviser for yourbusiness.

Market Knowledge

The market knowledge your professional adviser holds is paramount to them providing useful advice to you. This idea is twofold. Firstly, they should know your business and how it operates. Equally important is the their knowledge of the marketplace in which your business operates. It is essential that they are up to date and have a keen eye on developing market trends and how they will impact your business. With this knowledge they can provide you with relevant, commercially driven advice.

Technical Knowledge

It is likely that when you need a professional adviser, the concepts and ideas that require their advice can be complex. Being sure that your adviser is an expert in their field is essential so that you can be confident the advice you are receiving is tested, accurate and the right advice to take you forward.

A Track Record

In connection with technical knowledge comes the importance of your adviser's reputation. You want to be sure that they have a proven track record of success in the kind of work your business requires. Here, a firm's reputation and the reputation of its individual advisers in the market is everything. As commented by Brian McMurray, partner and head of equity funding at AAB: “We're a big business and have built up a reputation over the years which is important to maintain." AAB's experience and ability to add value in deals is essential in an adviser. Confidence in the past ability of your adviser will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus more on the commercial elements of taking your business further.

Values and Ethics

An important topic highlighted in the Scotsman article, was that of values and we couldn't agree more. As commented by our Corporate partner, Derek Stroud: “At Brodies, our values guide our behaviours and represent who we are and how we work."

It is also important to think about the individuals who make up a company and their attitudes and goals for the business. Look to see that your professional adviser aligns themselves with the values you regard as important. When this is the case you can be sure of a smooth and functioning professional relationship.

One of the main ways that your professional adviser will represent your business, is while negotiating on your behalf. As Brian McMurray has commented “The Scottish deals market is relatively small and most advisers know each other. Everyone tends to have professionalism and similar core values. But I have seen transactions in the past when you have advisers who just don't get on and that can cause all kinds of problems."

At Brodies this is something we are always aware of during negotiation. Reflecting on this Derek Stroud comments: "Ultimately, each party is looking to do a deal and will usually have to reach some form of compromise at some stage. It is far easier to achieve that if there is an element of trust and respect among the advisers on both sides.”

With that being said, this is of course the ideal situation and Derek adds: “Common values will certainly make the negotiation more efficient and perhaps less likely to fail. Ultimately, if there is a deal to be done and the parties wish to complete it, then the deal should happen irrespective of a lack of common values." A good adviser should be willing to put their emotions and feelings aside when required in the interests of a achieving a successful commercial resolution for all parties.

Whether you're a new start up on the market or fully fledged mainstay of Scottish business, the key attributes of a successful and supportive adviser are the same. Armed with technical expertise and market knowledge, and with a personalised focus on your business and its attitudes, at Brodies we are well equipped to provide you with commercially minded legal advice to secure your business in the marketplace today.

Contributors

Derek Stroud

Partner

Paul Breen

Senior Associate