Financial Advisors For Artists – Who’s On Your Team?

Painting of accountant

Every art business needs good advisors and this starts with your accountant!

The people you surround yourself with play an important part in the overall success of your art business.  The accounting and finance world can be complex and is ever changing so it is important that you get good advice in running your business.  As your business grows, so may your needs for additional or different kinds of financial advisors.  You may need financial advisors for different purposes and in many cases it may make sense to use a specialist.  It is highly doubtful that a good bookkeeper or even CPA can fill all of your needs.

You need to make sure that you have access to and consult financial advisors as you need them.  Whomever you choose to help you with your accounting and finance needs, make sure that there is a high level of trust!  A good financial advisor will explain things to you and help you understand but remember, understanding of what you are getting into is up to YOU.

Types of financial advisors you might need

Here are some examples of the type of financial advisors you may need in starting and running your business:

  • Your Banker – your banker should be one of the first financial advisors with whom you develop a relationship!
  • Book Keeper – to help you with day to day accounting tasks.
  • CPA – to help you set up your accounting system, prepare a bank package, advice on financing alternatives, file taxes, insure compliance and general business advice.
  • Property & Casualty Insurance – to make sure that you have the proper insurance on your property and have needed liability insurance.
  • Health Insurance Advisor – to help you find the right coverage for you and your employees.
  • Life Insurance – you may need life insurance as a part of a partnership agreement or for protection for your family.
  • Benefits Consultant – to help you navigate the various types of benefits that are available and suitable for your situation.
  • Retirement Planning Advisor – to help you plan for your retirement, something that you should get started on early.
  • Estate Planning Attorney – to help you develop a plan about what happens to your art and art business after you are gone.
  • Investment Advisor – to help you with making investments of your business capital and plan for retirement.  Smart businesses make sure their money is working for them.
  • And don’t forget your lawyer.  A good business lawyer can go a long way in helping you make the right financial decisions.

Choosing and working with a financial advisor

Take the same care you would use in choosing the paint, brushes and supplies that go into creating your art.  You may not be able to afford the best but you should purchase the best you can afford.  Whomever you choose to help you with your accounting and finance needs, make sure that there is a high level of trust.  A good financial advisor will explain things to you and help you understand but remember, understanding of what you are getting into is up to YOU.
If you don’t understand something keep asking questions until you do.  If something doesn’t feel right then it may be time to get a second opinion.  Nobody should care more about your art business than you and at the end of the day it is you who is responsible for your business’s success or failure.

Some things to look for in choosing a financial advisor:

  • Appropriate experience and credentials
  • Great references – don’t forget to check these out
  • The types of clients they work with and the fit with your art business
  • How much it costs and what you expect to get in return
  • They are in it for the long haul to work with you and your business
  • They will teach and explain to you the issues at hand

The bottom line(s)…

As your art business grows and becomes more complex, at some point you will probably need the help of a financial advisor.  A good financial advisor is worth their weight in gold and if done right they will make you money not cost you money.  Take care in choosing any advisor, don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to become more knowledgeable.  Remember that a good financial advisor can become an invaluable member of your team – and who doesn’t want a great team?

If you would like to learn more about preparing your own business plan, building your art business and selling more art I invite you to check out my book – The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox. Good Luck!


Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver where he teaches “Marketing the Arts”.

Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto