Starting my own Accounting Business

It was sometime around 2010 when I had been working as an accounting for a large firm for many years when it suddenly hit me. Why was I putting in all of this extra time with my work when it is directly rewarding the company I work for and not myself? This revelation led to me quitting my secure job and starting my own accounting firm. This decision was a lot of hard work, but it enabled me to take early retirement and enjoy the “golden years.” I wanted to share some of my advice for others thinking about doing the same thing.

Something in Reserve

Never quit your job to start up a business without some savings behind you. The minimum amount you should have saved to do this is equivalent to 8 weeks of your wage. I actually recommend half a year’s worth of wages in savings before attempting to start your own business. This will give you time to setup your business, settle into the new job and find new clients.

Government Assistance

Governments around the world are running programs to assist small businesses in getting started. It only makes sense, because more successful businesses means more tax dollars. One of the first steps I took when starting my business was contacting the small business hotline. The helpful operators were able to help me apply for a business name and the appropriate tax forms and numbers. This service makes the process very easy.


Small business consultants are also a great way to get your business of the ground. They are able to help you with almost any aspect of your business including things such as bookkeeping, business plans, marketing and advertising, legal advice, retirement funds, employing workers, and much more. I used the services of AccessPL  for many of these tasks and I couldn’t have been happier. A consultant takes away much of the stress of starting and running an accounting business.

Getting Clients

Where it is possible it is a good idea to try and engage some of your old clients. However, you may have signed an agreement with your old employer that doesn’t allow this. In this case a great place to get new clients is to ask your old clients to refer you to their business partners. Word of mouth spreads quickly and will ensure that you are never out of work. Advertising and marketing is also important and your business consultant will be able to help you develop a plan to get more clients.

Employing Others

As your business grows you will have the opportunity to employ other workers. This can be a daunting task because there are many rules relating to employees. However, the government offers assistance for businesses in this situation. Your business consultant will also be able to offer advice on employing a worker. You should not be timid about taking this step because it is only with extra staff that your business can grow.

Starting your own accounting business does not have to be a daunting task. There are many people that can offer you assistance and make the process as smooth as possible. It is a good idea to take advantage of these services so that you can concentrate on actually running your business.


From CPA To X-Ray Technician: My Journey

Not too many people end up being an x-ray technician because they wanted to be a CPA. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’m likely the only one. I’m not looking to start an exodus, however. I’m simply looking to tell my story so that those who aren’t dead set on the path of their career and future will open up their minds to other options. If that means becoming an x-ray technician then so be it. If it means leaving behind the job you are in to do something else, then good.

So how did a person who always wanted to be a CPA end up becoming an x-ray technician? It’s pretty simple really – I got tired of taking the test. I must have tried and failed at taking the CPA exam half a dozen times. It wasn’t because I wasn’t smart enough or didn’t study hard enough. I simply got jittery and nervous, so much so that I started to forget and make mistakes. End result – failed again. Although I had always wanted to be a CPA I realized I couldn’t just keep taking the exam again and again. I needed a change. Enter my clumsy brother.

One night after a family dinner my brother stepped off the curb wrong and ended up breaking his forearm. When we were in the ER, pretty much the only person who wasn’t running around ragged was the x-ray tech helping us out. I got to talking to him and he told me how great his job was. Good salary, nice benefits, 40 hours a week; very little stress. One thing led to another and I was interested. He told me about one good website with all the information I’d need to make a decision. When I got home, I checked it out.

What did I find out? Being an x-ray technician was a pretty attractive offer. I would only need to complete a 2 year associate’s degree to get my foot in the door. Certification was required but as long as I went to a good accredited school I would likely pass that test. Not like the CPA exam. Money wasn’t fantastic to start with but after a few years working in a larger facility in a good sized city I’d be making good money. Salary range was from $40,000 - $80,000 a year. It all sounded good.

By the end of the week, and after tracking down and talking to a few more x-ray techs, I was set. I knew what I wanted to do. Although all my life had been about numbers and balance sheets, I realized that if I became an x-ray technician I would actually be helping people every day in real time. I found a good school in my area, enrolled and in two short years I was all done. It took me about 4 months to get a job (mostly because I was lazy and picky) but now I’ve been working in a medium sized facility. It’s nice and quiet for the most part. The work is great, the pay is great and I actually enjoy helping people. If you’re interested you might want to check out the site I first saw. I am glad I found it and glad I made the choice to become an x-ray technician.


Author Bio:

Harvey Warren has been an x-ray technician for several years now. Although people sometimes give him a hard time about giving up his dream of being a CPA, he simply tells them two things: dreams change and he has never been happier

About Clothing for Tall People

I thought I might switch it up a little bit here and talk about some fun personal topics.

I’m a tall guy and I find it difficult to find tall mens clothing.  But recently I have been searching on the internet and found some pretty good places to shop.  Believe it or not most normal clothing stores such as old navy or banana republic have their own tall mens section.  The big and tall stores are also mostly online now days.

I have never really liked to go shopping at the traditional stores in person.  Its always been a struggle to find something that fits me.  My friends enjoy going to second hand stores and spending hours searching for the gem among the old used clothes.  I have gone several times, but cannot seem to ever find anything I like, so that gets me frustrated.  Tall men really need to have a community and share second hand clothes.

You may be asking why an accountant would be worried about discount clothing.  Well, I really don’t like to spend money on clothes.  I feel like clothes are something that I must wear and I do want to look good, but I really don’t want to spend too much time or money on them.  I would really prefer to wear the same thing every day.  (actually I pretty much do) But for the sake of some of my clients sanity, I will switch it up every now and then.

Accountants are actually pretty cheap.  One of the first times I went to a restaurant with my accounting team I remember they all ordered the cheapest meal and water to drink.  I remember thinking, ” I know all these guys earn more than me and I am making good money, so why are they so cheap?”  Well over time I came to find out that they do spend a lot of money, but they don’t spend a lot of money on things that don’t matter too much to them.  Usually they wear discount clothing and drive modest cars, but they will take some extravagant vacations.

I seem to be rambling on about random things to I’ll get back to the subject of shopping.  One of the things I dislike the most about shopping is the time it takes to find something good.  I am most satisfied when I just walk into a store, grab the first thing that I see, try it on, buy it, and walk out.  Fifteen minutes tops and I’m out the door.  That would be my ideal shopping once or twice a month as needed.  I love my valuable time.  I actually can calculate my time based on my consulting pay hours, and its not cheap.  So if I shop for a good deal and it takes me two hours, I could have landed a consulting gig for two hours and earned lets say 300 dollars.  Pretty sure there is no way I could have saved 300 dollars by shopping for two hours.

I guess its just one of my pet-peeves to believe that spending time for a discount is worth it.  Remember to value your time.  And shop for clothes online.  You can multi-task much easier online and save time while you are shopping.  My recommendation is to go to the store first and learn your size, then shop online from then on.

Good luck and have fun.

Increasing Productivity Part 2

The first part of this series has already been posted.  It is titled Increasing Productivity with the small things.  In that post I summarized several small techniques or tools that you can use to increase your office productivity.  This post will focus on several more things that you can do to increase your overall productivity.  I will assume that you already have a small business or are thinking of going in to business for yourself.  I think that this is most useful for startups and smaller companies.

Productivity is a wonderful metric to use for an established business.  If you think of a factory that builds product x, for example.  If you take a look at how much money it takes to make product x, one of the things you will need to know is how much machine time or labor time that is required.  Machine time can be easy to calculate.  The productivity will be closely tied to the machine efficiency.  Pretty much, if the machine is running properly then it is 100 percent productive.  But if it stops and you have to fix it then the productivity goes down. 

Human labor is different.  Humans can always improve on their own process and improve.  When calculating productivity you may set a standard example process that takes a certain amount of time.  If someone completes the task within that amount of time then they will be 100 percent productive.  But if they complete the process in less time they will be more than 100 percent productive.  Since this gets to be a mathematical nightmare, its best to just reset the standard to be a bit higher then you can show a metric less than 100 percent.

This is all fine when we have an established factory and hourly workers building something.  But, what about a solo-prenuer who is just by themselves in an office?  Perhaps even a home office.  How do you measure yourself against the standard?  What is the standard?

These questions cannot easily be answered clearly.  The best method I have found is to just start and make that your base line.  Then as you improve or get worse, you can measure yourself against that base line.  Today I have a few helpful items that you may have already thought of but believe that you cannot afford:

  1. Accountant.  I have to promote our own profession first.  Even if you are an accountant by trade, sometimes it is easier for you to focus on working on the business and let an external accountant worry about the accounting for your business.  This will free up lots of time for you to improve processes and increase your value to the business.  In the Toronto area there are several accountants that I have worked with before.  Generally they work for themselves and are very willing to take on small business clients.
  2. Lawyer.  These guys are a must have.  You should have a range of lawyers for every aspect of your business.  When getting started you need a lawyer to draft up your terms and legal entity papers.  When you begin to take on clients you need to be sure to have a lawyer draft up a contract.  Small business lawyers can help with different questions you may have about what you can and cannot do.  I recently had a friend who started his own business and ended up receiving payment from a lawsuit in the form of real estate.  He had to consult a Toronto real estate lawyer just to learn what his options were.  So, don’t underestimate the power that lawyers can give you.
  3. Consultant.  Finally, don’t be shy and ask someone who already knows about your situation.  Consultants are everywhere.  They can help with almost anything.  And if nothing else, they can be a mentor for you and help with small questions you may have.

Be sure to invest in these professionals.  You’re core value will be taking care of your business so be sure you let other professionals take care of the non-core items.

Increasing productivity with the small things

This will hopefully become a series of posts.  I am currently doing some consulting work for several small businesses near my home and there seems to be an interest in office productivity.  Productivity is an accountant’s best friend.  We love to count and measure, and the result is usually a clearer pathway to increase productivity.

Increasing productivity is something that everyone should be focused on or at least aware of.  Generally we think of productivity in the manufacturing world as an hourly or direct labor statistic.  This is very important.  Every factory manager should know how much efficient work is being done and how much inefficient work is being done.  But have we ever turned the table and looked at our own work?

Office Productivity

You need to work efficiently in the office as well.  This is something that almost every new business seems to struggle with.  Actually new businesses and old business struggle with this.  I think everyone can go out and find some good training material on increasing productivity in the office so I will focus on some small things that I have seen recently.

  1. Stock office supplies – make sure to have enough supplies to keep yourself and your employees or co-workers satisfied.  Think of how much time you spend looking for a pen or highlighter.  This is absolutely not necessary.  They’re cheap so just keep a good stock.
  2. Name badges - You may not believe it but, name badges are very important for office productivity. The simple reason is partially productivity and partially mind set.  Think of it as dress code.  When you go to work you normally dress a certain way and when you come home to rest you dress a different way.  Wearing your name badge and seeing others with their name badges can trigger something in your mind that allows you to quickly focus on work. For more information, read more here.
  3. Take breaks – taking breaks may seem counterproductive but actually it helps.  Most of the time I see “hard working” employees plow through lunch and breaks to finish a project.  But I have seen more productivity come from the employees who take a break and think about the tasks they have completed as well as the tasks they will complete.  Then when they return from break they can complete the remaining tasks more efficiently.
  4. Periodic emails – If you have an alarm that rings every time you get an email, then turn it off.  I know we claim that multi-tasking is a qualitative characteristic but I have rarely seen anyone with that gift.  For most of us we need structure.  Check your email as a break from your other tasks.  I have found that once every 2 hours works.  But others I have seen effectively check their emails just once per day.  Come up with a schedule and stick to it. Don’t get distracted.
  5. Smart phones – just a quick addition with the smart phones.  Make sure that you turn them off during times of concentration.  Set up a time, like emails, to check your phone.
  6. Regular phone – this one is a bit trickier.  Depending on your job role you may need to answer the phone very frequently.  But if it’s not an emergency type situation try to funnel people to sending you an email.  I like to prioritize my communication to first phone call next private message and finally email.  So normally if I get a phone call it should be something very important.  If I realize that it is not something important I will explain that they need to send me an email and I will complete the request within 24 hours. (or a time frame you decide)  This sounds bit rude to some people but when they learn the system it is much more comfortable for both sites.

The basic concepts here are focus and systems.  If you can find the right things to help you focus then you will work efficiently.  If you set up a good system that is predictable, then others will help you increase your productivity.  Being productive can be very satisfying and stress reducing.