22 of the Best Reasons to Engage a See Clearly Accountant

Introducing See Clearly Accounting

See Clearly Accounting was started by Edward Wear, a Chartered Accountant, with more than 36 years of successful experience operating his own accounting practice. 

He believes that small businesses and individuals are not well served by the accounting community, and he envisions a solution that will see accountants with different competencies or expertise working to provide excellent solutions for small businesses and individuals.

Objective of See Clearly Accounting members (SCAC)

SCAC members will be leaders in servicing the accounting needs of small businesses and individuals.

The objective of SCAC is similar to the objective of many businesses: to provide quality services to small businesses and individuals. The business model is that of a co-operative association where accountant members can share insight, experience, competence and solutions that will benefit their clients; but that will also allow each member of the group to be independent of each other.

A SCAC member has an edge over other accounting services because it has a significant inventory of proven and effective systems available to it to produce quality results quickly, efficiently and consistently.

Fortunate Timing

Large, international accounting firms have recognized the need to provide more service to their clients.  They are hiring everyone they can. At the same time, fewer accountants want to get involved in the demands and rigors of public practice. That means there are fewer people available to service small businesses and individuals. 

SCAC plans to engage accountants who want to be in public practice, without the demands of belonging to a large firm; who want to provide quality service to businesses, and who want to do demonstrate their specific expertise.

Each SCAC member will focus on his/her expertise

Members will have expertise in complementary skills. We started with small businesses, residents and non-residents T1’s and estates. The group had expertise only using QuickBooks but plans to encourage members who have expertise using Sage (Simply Accounting) and other accounting software.

The group has expertise in preparing Compilation but plans to encourage members who have expertise preparing Reviews and Audits.

The group plans to encourage members who have expertise in taxes and consulting so that small businesses can get all their accounting, tax and consulting from one group.

It maybe that member firms will coordinate their efforts on a job; for example, an expert in compilations may work well with an expert in audits; this expert in preparing compilations may prepare most of the working papers reporting the composition of a balance with a trail to the supporting documents for the audit expert, who would examine the documents and perform the other audit tasks.

The 22 Best Reasons

Independence

  1. Accountants must be independent from their clients
    • Accountants who have no financial interest in the business they serve can be impartial and independent
    • Owners and other stakeholders know they can rely on their accountant’s advice because the accountant has no involvement in the business and is therefore impartial
    • Without this independence the accountants’ services are of no value to you
    • This is not a new concept
  2. The members of SCAC are independent of each other
    • This means that their first commitment is to the small business not to another SCAC member. 
    • This has been the preference of many accountants over the years.
    • Partners of the same firm cannot be independent of each other, and some of the SCAC members will be multi-partner firms, but most members of SCAC will be sole proprietors, who will operate independently of one another.
    • One of their goals is to make the small business independent of SCAC, if possible.  That means the business will improve its accounting and will not be dependent of the See Clearly accountant.
    • As small businesses you don’t care how good an SCAC member is, you want to know how good that member can make you. 
    • This concept may not be new but it will be the first time many businesses have heard it expressed this way.

What you can measure, you can manage

  1. This is a well-known business axiom.  Our slogan is What you can SEE, you can manage. Enabling small business to see what is happening in their business (books) is the first step to success.  

See Clearly member profile

  1. What you can measure, you can manage describes an SCAC member and how the members operate.  They are always refining their systems to improve their services to small business.  These systems include tools for reporting and measuring success.
    • The problems that small businesses encounter in their business are wide ranging.  That means that an SCAC accountant member may not have the expertise to provide to a client.  If this arises, the accountant member may know another SCAC member, or a non-member expert, who may have the expertise to install a system, or resolve a problem for a client.

Client profile

  1. What you can measure, you can manage clearly defines the profile of a SCAC Network member client. 
    • To become successful, and continue to be successful, a business owner must identify and measure critical success factors and key performance indicators. 
    • The client must have a documented system, so that when they finally determine the best method of performing a task, the system can be customized to enable all current and future team members to perform the task efficiently and effectively and more importantly repetitively, without error. 
    • For many small businesses the axiom, what you can measure, you can manage, will result in Error-free (not false or misleading) financial statements on the 1st of the month.
    • The client who joins SCAC may not yet have all the systems in place to get the type of reports they need as quickly as they need them each month. 
    • Their SCAC member will help them to quickly put working systems in place.

No maybe’s

  1. The normal solution to an accounting question is black and white, although, we admit, there are times when the answer may be grey.
    • SCAC members will help you become and stay successful by enabling you to see clearly and by not being evasive or confusing.
  2. There may be times when the views of the small business and the SCAC member are not in agreement, even though they both firmly believe they are correct.
    • It is when you are involved in a situation like this, that it is comforting to have the skills, knowledge and systems of See Clearly Accounting available to support the decision you make. 
    • We assure you that you will pay every dollar of taxes that you owe, so that you are not faced with unnecessary penalties and interest; but we also assure that you won’t pay any more than you owe, (you will pay the absolute minimum of taxes on your hard earned income).

Systems drive success

  1. See Clearly saw the need for systems for small businesses years ago.  The success of franchises is driven by their systems. The large international accounting firms are in that category. 
  2. Systems are global. Using the internet and a database, small accounting firms can access systems from anywhere in the world. The system that helped a client in one country to achieve success can be used to help a client in another country.
  3. Systems enable team members to work effectively. 
  4. Systems are an excellent training tool.  They enable new team members to be productive quickly and encourage consistent high productivity and low error rates.
  5. Systems breed success and improvement.  
    • As soon as you start working with a system, your thinking will be raised to the next level.  You will see more clearly. 
    • You will come up with ideas for the system that may improve the efficiency and effectiveness considerably.

Hiring

  1. Hire a high school student. It is a win-win situation; there are many jobs a high-school student can do effectively, if you have a documented system.
    • The benefits are many for you: you get a chance to make a difference in a young person’s life; and you get some work done well and inexpensively.
    • The student gets to learn a great deal and make some spending money besides.

Peace of mind

  1. Many clients over the years have commented that they know they could have their tax return or other professional work done at a discount shop that is probably open only a few weeks a year.  But they don’t.
    • They want the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if they provide all the required information, their tax return or other work will be done correctly. 
    • They can sleep soundly / peacefully knowing that they are not going to receive a visit from CRA that may claim much of the assets the clients have accumulated for their retirement.

Value pricing vs. hourly billing

  1. Accountants, like other professionals, like to get paid for their services. They may give you a bill based on the time they spent on your behalf, or they may give you a flat rate “Value” bill.
  2. There is no doubt that the true value of the services relate to the benefit received by the small business. Value pricing charges the client a flat fee based on the perceived or actual value that the client obtains from the service.
  3. Often the situation is that the client has a problem that is costing the client a lot of money.  The accountant solves the problem thereby saving the client a lot of money.  The client is pleased to pay a bill that does not relate to time and experience, but instead relates to the benefit received by the client.  The question is: is value billing a benefit to the accountant, or to the client? Who is the judge of the value provided by the work?
  4. SCAC members will continue to bill based on the hours they spend and the knowledge required to solve a problem for a client.
  5. Most often what happens in the work done by a SCAC member is there is no obvious benefit to a client.  The work done is required by law, by contract or some other reason. Any benefit is often difficult to value, except to state that the client has followed the law. 
    • With a few exceptions, the true value of the services provided by an SCAC member is determined by the experience of the member and the hourly billing value of that member. 
    • Undoubtedly there may be exceptions when that “true value” must be adjusted up or down from the calculation of productive hours times and experience rate.

What will a SCAC accountant do for your business?

  1. A SeeCAC accountant will:
    • Design or modify a customized chart of accounts,
    • Set up memorized reports so that you can see the key features of your business,
    • Set up memorized transactions,
    • Adapt our standard systems for your business.
  2. SCAC members know it’s the little things that mean a lot. 
    • For example if they install the chart of Accounts from the Toolkit, they know that initially it can be frustrating using all the categories, accounts and classes that they have customized for you. 
    • To solve this, they leave you a printout of the Chart neatly organized on as few pages as possible so that you have something to refer to when you are processing transactions. 
    • They will do the same for Classes. 
    • If you have a number of departments, they probably taped that list to your monitor.

The customer is always right - but an accountant’s client may not be

  1. “The Customer is always right” may be the most popular business axiom ever; it may be true in retail or wholesale, but it is generally not true when dealing with accounting or tax matters. This is one of the situations where the client/small business will benefit from the independence of the accountant.  As we stated above, the accountant is no good to the client if the accountant is not independent
    • This goes to our position on Independence.
  2. The client requiring accounting and tax services is seldom right, usually they are dreaming.  They may have been listening to too much cocktail talk. It is the responsibility of the SCAC accountant to clarify what is “right”. 

Common thread

  1. What holds the See Clearly Accounting community together is consistent quality that results from using systems that work and have worked for many years.
    • Some of the members will have been part of highly successful multi-practice firms. They left because the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. They wanted to do the work they were good at (their expertise) and bill a fair fee for that work. Some want to work only part-time for selected clients.

The future for See Clearly Accounting

  1. Recently, SCAC consisted mainly of this brochure or white paper. 
    • In the next few months the concept will be tested with accountants. 
    • Additional systems will be created or contributed by new members.
    • By September 2013 we believe the concept will have been proven and other accountants will have an opportunity to join.