Entrepreneur and Tax Expert Meisa Bonelli Shares Four Important Questions Women and Minority Business Owners Should Ask Financial Professionals By Staff Writer Millennial Tax Founder Meisa Bonelli sees incredible opportunity for women and black-owned businesses to become an even greater force in today’s economy — provided these business owners have the best, most qualified professionals in their corner. “Women and black-owned businesses face a pair of major deficits: lack of capital access and an absence of experienced, savvy financial professionals,” explains Bonelli. “No matter how great the concept, any business needs both factors in place to succeed.” Economic uncertainty affects women at a higher rate than men, and women who own their own businesses are not exempt. Women have a tougher time saving for retirement, and women and minorities are frequently a blind spot for high-powered financial professionals. On the other hand, women-owned businesses generate over $1.6 trillion annually, a number that’s continuing to grow. Bonelli believes that growth curve could be even sharper if owners know the right questions to ask their current (or prospective) financial professionals. In a feature report on MillennialTax.com, she suggests the following questions to get a healthy and productive conversation started: How many women or black-owned businesses does the financial professional work with regularly? Unique obstacles require a unique, hands-on understanding that can only be achieved through experience. The right financial professional will have demonstrated experience working with women and black-owned enterprises, as well as being proactive and protective of clients’ livelihoods. What’s the income range of the financial professional’s clients? The income range of a financial professional’s client base is a proxy for their skill and experience. Business owners with elite ambitions should select a professional who routinely consults with high net worth clients and profitable, growing enterprises. Among the financial professional’s women-owned business clients, how many are caregivers, single mothers or divorcees? Women are more likely to be raising children alone or serving as primary caregiver for a disabled or ill loved one. They’re also more adversely affected financially following a divorce. Women-owned businesses therefore benefit from a financial professional who understands the demands on their time and energy reserves. How often does the financial professional help prepare documents related to loans and other capital-raising efforts? For black-owned enterprises, the value of the business, its long-term potential and its need for capital to reach that potential can be difficult to communicate to investors and loan officers. Expertly prepared documents can help bridge the gap. Therefore, it’s important that a financial professional have ample experience in the nuances of document preparation for black-owned businesses.