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Staying in love with your significant other – who’s also your business partner

Shutterstock_570149110It’s Valentine’s Day, and you deserve a virtual high-five for being extra thoughtful this year. You put together a romantic dinner with candles, music, their favorite dessert – the whole nine yards.

And then you hear the love of your life, your main squeeze, yell from the shared home office, “Hey! Did you remember to pay the contractor?” Well, so much for that intimate evening sans work.

Turning your romantic partner into a business partner might sound like a struggle, especially when it comes to setting boundaries. However, with the right amount of agreed-upon expectations from the start, coupled with consistent, proactive and honest communication along the way, it is possible to succeed in both love and business.

David Almonte, CPA, CGMA and member of the AICPA’s Financial Literacy Commission provides these three tips to help you do just that.

Understand each other’s business styles.

You know their love language, but that may not be their business style. Maybe they’re used to working at a large company that had a long and intense approval process, while you prefer the flexibility of a start-up culture. There are a variety of assessments that can help break down these preferences and personality differences so you can develop a plan to work well together. Put aside some time to take tests like CliftonStrengths (previously known as Strengthfinders) or DISC, and it can yield great results for your partnership.

Review and reflect.

Have periodic, but defined progress updates along the way. What’s going well? What are some areas for improvement? Schedule a quarterly meeting with your significant other to lay out some ways you can work better together and continue to grow your business. And here’s a pro tip – it’s probably for the best if you don’t combine these meetings with date nights.

Bring in an unbiased, third-party expert.

Financial decisions cause tension in one-in-five relationships on a daily basis, and that’s just when it comes to personal finances. If you own a business with your significant other, that may add another source of financial stress to your relationship. Instead of trying to hash things out with each other, consider bringing in a CPA who can provide their unbiased, expert opinion. The AICPA’s #CPApowered campaign has a helpful tool to find a CPA near you.

Above all, remember that at the end of the day, you were a couple in love first. Separate work and home life as much as possible – now stop reading this and get back to your Valentine’s Day dinner!

Samantha Delgado, Manager - Communications, PR & Corporate Responsibility, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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