Ask, Ask and Ask Again!
Johan Hällmark and Per Vilén
Bäck & Vilén Yrityspalvelut Oy is a full-service accounting firm in Vaasa with a branch office in Pirttikylä. Bäck & Vilén is also one of the expert partners of Enterprise Agency Startia. According to Johan Hällmark, managing director of the firm, a modern accounting firm emphasises helping the customers receive good financial management routines.
— It is essential to make sure that you have good tools and policies, for example, for billing and managing payments. Especially for newly formed businesses, it's crucial to get routines right quickly, Hällmark says.
Bäck & Vilén works with many applications and offers software solutions from Fennoa, Netvisor and Heeros, among others.
Make Sure to Have Enough Money
According to Hällmark, it is vital that all businesses, both newly formed and old, have a sufficiently high turnover. If you can’t cover expenses through revenue, your business activity cannot continue for long.
— You have to allocate a sufficient amount of working capital when starting the business. It is also crucially important that you have the right policies and tools to get the customer’s money into the company's bank account quickly. Especially at the early stages, it is important to keep track of both inbound and outbound payments to ensure having enough money, Hällmark (pictured on the left) notes.
— The product or service is usually at the centre, but one should not forget about the other important factors needed for success. These include marketing and pricing, for example. Moreover, the quality of the business itself, such as the security of supply and customer contacts, is very important, Hällmark points out.
Ask for Help
One of the cornerstones of Bäck & Vilén's business is consulting and advice service. Today, Per Vilén (in the picture below), the former managing director and current business consultant, has solid experience as an expert in financial management. He has previous experience in expert partnerships with also Rannikko-Pohjanmaan entrepreneur association. He has helped both future and already active entrepreneurs as an expert within this partnership.
— I've worked a lot with new entrepreneurs. I am happy to help them and ready to answer their questions about becoming an entrepreneur. Those who think about starting a business do not often really know what to ask. However, my best advice is that it's worth asking again and again, just in case something remains unclear, Vilén says.
As a business consultant, Vilén also often works with various acquisitions. A good tip for someone thinking about starting a new business is also to explore if there are interesting companies on sale. Bäck & Vilén takes care of many trade sales each year. If the takeover is thoroughly thought out, well planned and properly executed, there will be a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller.
— Few new entrepreneurs realise that it can take many years to establish a new company on the market. Sometimes it would make more sense to buy an existing company than to start fighting forward from zero, Hällmark ponders.
Where to Find a Suitable Purchase?
— My general advice is that one should start by calling VASEK's Kjell Nydahl. I have no idea where Kjell is getting his tips on companies on sale, but he certainly knows everything! Hällmark says and laughs.
Since Bäck & Vilén also help customers with acquisitions, they also know business transfer matters well. Today, most companies move on to someone other than the entrepreneur’s inheritors. Therefore, both Hällmark and Vilén urge everyone planning to close the business to make a sales decision early enough, when the entrepreneur still has strength and the company’s value is at its greatest.
Ambitious Knowledge Workers
Bäck & Vilén offers a wide range of both traditional and digital accounting services in Swedish, Finnish and English. The company invests particularly in the quality of service and the staff’s skills. Bäck & Vilén’s aim is to be the best accounting firm in Ostrobothnia.
— We conduct customer surveys regularly and want to develop our business based on their results. This year, our theme of internal education is to improve our customer communication according to our customers’ wishes, Hällmark says.
He knows it's not always so easy for a client to understand what an accountant is trying to explain. Sometimes an accountant might use, for example, professional terms that the client does not know. In such a situation, according to Hällmark, the customer should always do three things: ask, ask and ask again until they understand.
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