Choosing the best accountant for your business

There are a number of small businesses that attempt to do each and everything by themselves. This is not at all a recommendable approach. The team should be divided into different expertise and professionals who have a dedicated thing to do.

Accountants must be part of the team that would be responsible to address the accounting needs and preferences of the specific company. It is imperative to hire competent professionals like Accountant Melbourne to get the work done in a professional manner.

However, choosing the right service is a difficult task. Here are some things to take into account:


  • Professional qualifications


Accounting is a technical area. It is not an easy area to practice. This is why you need to hire a professional who has good qualifications in the field. There are several firms out there that will provide services that are run by accountants who have professional qualifications. They are used to work within a code of ethics which makes them more disciplined and organized.


  • Recommendations


It is always helpful to rely on word of mouth. You can ask from your colleagues and other professionals to get a detailed idea about the different accountants in the market. Read reviews on the Internet about different accounting firms. Having a detailed insight into the practical experience can help in making the right decisions. In a nutshell, you can rely on different recommendations to make a more well-informed decision.


  • Cost of services


Accountants would vary a lot in price range. Each accountant will charge depending on the expertise, experience, qualifications and the workload. Better the experience and competence, more expensive the accounting firm tends to be. However, you do not need to rely on the price solely. The first and foremost factor must be the quality of service being provided. Then take into account the costs and form your budget accordingly. Moreover, also inquire into how the fees is being charged and in what form.


  • Experience


Expertise and knowledge is not everything you must look forward to. Experience is perhaps the most important factor that will help you to make a well-informed decision. There are several experienced accountants in the market. It is recommendable to choose a team or an individual who has sufficient experience in the field. This is how he/she will be able to meet the needs of your business. Get to know which clients the accountant has worked with. This will reflect the quality of experience gained by the accountant.


  • Interpersonal skills


Accountants must be good at the core accounting skills. However, in this competitive day and age, it is not enough for them to acquire only the hard skills. Soft skills are equally important. Accountant must have good interpersonal skills such as communication and analytical abilities.

Choosing an accountant is not an easy task. However, above are some factors to make a better decision. Even though it is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the essential aspects.

How Positive Thinking Has Changed My Life

Although it has become something of a cliché, I staunchly believe in the power of positive
thinking. As a business leader who has spent more than two decades with National Bank, I have
come to realize how important recognition is and, at the same time, how invaluable
encouragement and positive reinforcement can be. Negativity does not work.

They are also excellent tools to help manage people, and in my charitable endeavors, to
support teams and individuals contributing their valuable time. In addition, a positive attitude
can create encouraging results, both in corporations and at charity events.

Brian Tracy — a widely acclaimed best-selling author who penned Believe it to Achieve It and
Change Your Thinking Change Your Life — admits that the idea that your mind can change your
world seems too good to be true. But Tracy, who calls the power of positive thinking
“remarkable,” adds that he has personally experienced and has witnessed the good that
focusing on the positive can bring.

Tracy says that healthy, happy people spend their time thinking about what they want and how
to get it.  “In this way, developing a positive attitude can truly change your entire life,” Tracy says on his

For myself, success in my responsibilities at National Bank has come a mixture of hard work,
dedication and loyalty. But, I also credit what I do outside the office to creating a balanced
framework and state of mind that allows me to succeed in the office.

For example, I chaired the 2018 Right To Play Heroes Gala honouring Louis Vachon (National
Bank’s CEO), while raising a record-breaking $2.8 million for the organization. Charity work and
community participation are a huge part of our culture at National Bank.

On top of that, I’m involved with Scotiabank Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, which has raised
more than $18 million for research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto since it
was launched in 2011. This particularly cause is very important to me because I am a cancer
survivor who received treatment at the centre.

Charitable giving is about more than just raising money. It’s a way of showing gratitude to your
community. If you believe a cause is worthy of your support, do all you can to provide that

Why Productivity and Great Ideas Matter

When I worked at a golf course as a little kid, I asked all of the members about their businesses: how they came up with their ideas, what made them successful. Now the tables are turned and young entrepreneurs will often ask me about a typical day and how I make it productive.

What excites me about my current role as an investment banker is that each day is completely different. I never know what’s going to happen, which clients will contact me for something, what type of investment someone will show us.

I actually started my career working at Arthur Andersen, one of the big accounting firms in Toronto. Then I worked at a big bank in equity research for five years and as a money manager for a few years. So, I’ve done all that corporate stuff and there can be repetition working for large companies. I like the variety each day brings now.

Being productive is about being available 24/7. The phone never stops ringing, the emails never stops coming in. And the reason for that is so people know that you’re available. It is one of things that make us unique and productive and successful.

When my partner and I founded Hillcrest Merchant Partners, we wanted to make sure that we emphasize that we are an idea company. Great ideas, great management, that’s what we look for. People talk about money, which is obviously important because it takes money to bring an idea come to life. But money is really a commodity and isn’t necessarily a differentiator.

Because money is available for good ideas, it’s really about bringing the right team together to help the idea come to fruition. Every idea requires a different plan, so I am always looking to meet great management teams with great ideas.

I want to see a track record of excellence – not necessarily having won at all costs, but having been positively competitive. I want to see a leader who gets the difference between leading and managing and who knows when to hand off the managing duties. It’s also important to establish a leader’s integrity. As an investor, I want to be comfortable that bad news is going to be shared and not glossed over.

We look for two key traits in companies: Being able to create solutions to difficult problems and coming up with ideas that apply to large, addressable markets. Typically, companies that we may be interested in investing in hold long-term patents and provide competitive, sustainable advantages over other companies. This is what gets us excited about new prospects.

I’ll usually tell people, there are 24 hours in a day. I sleep for three or four of them. I am fortunate in that what I do doesn’t feel like work. My job, my life, takes me to many different amazing places around the world. I’ve been to almost every continent and I’ve seen some of the most incredible cities in the world—just because of work.

Keeping My Focus on “We”

Of course I am proud of my career, but my greatest accomplishments really come outside the office.

I currently work as the Executive Vice-President, Managing Director, Co-Head of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities Group at National Bank.

In addition to my responsibilities at work, I try to share my time and energy with the community, in both Toronto-based and national non-profit organizations.

Perhaps my favorite quote will offer some insight into what drives me. In the documentary about Mohammed Ali called When We Were Kings, my favorite scene was when Ali was asked to share a poem with a graduating class.

Ali’s choice–albeit very short–inspires me to this day: “Me? We.” I try to live my life like that, with curiosity, and humility, and a need to keep learning.

For example, this year I co-chaired Right To Play’s The Heroes Gala honoring Louis Vachon (National Bank’s CEO). We raised a record-breaking $2.8 million for the organization this year, a success that I am very proud of.

I’ve also chaired the annual Scotiabank “Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer” event at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and have been doing that since the event began eight years ago. This year, we raised $2.7 million to support cutting-edge cancer research for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

As a cancer survivor myself, the Princess Margaret Hospital is near and dear to my heart, not just because of the impact the organization makes in the area of cancer treatment and research, but also because it is where I received my own treatment. The experience I had at the Hospital was nothing but positive, and if I can make someone else’s experience going through cancer treatment that much easier, then I want to be part of that.

I will admit that finding the right work-life-charity balance requires intentionality and commitment. I think a lot of people engulf themselves in work, tending to neglect life outside of the office.  But we all know the important aspects of life are family, friends and community.

Taking time to get out there, help others in the community, being involved – are all part of a full life. Success is about connection.

Examining the retail cannabis space at a macro level

There are certain developments in every generation that create opportunities for those who have an eye to seize upon them. The twentieth century was full of these technological, political or cultural shifts.

The widespread production of electric power, the splitting of the atom, the rise of computer technology — these are just a few of the discoveries that changed Western society, and paved the way for new industries and news way of life.

It’s not unrealistic to believe that the legalization of cannabis will be seen in later years as one of these shifts.

Currently, the known cannabis market is at least a $100-200 billion industry, while the illicit market is worth at least $100-150 billion. The idea that it is now possible to convert that illicit market into one that is legalized is exciting. It means that what is now an unknown frontier—Cannabis retail—will eventually become mainstream.

The societal concerns surrounding legalization are not new. There were similar concerns surrounding the legalization of alcohol in Canada following the First World War, and regulations also varied province to province for a number of years. Many people had health concerns and were worried about liquor’s widespread use. They were suspicious that uncontrolled public drunkenness would ensue once people had the ability to consume freely and openly.

While similar concerns have been raised about cannabis, this sector has the advantage of showing promising scientific research and development, through which effective solutions for the treatment of chronic pain and disease are being discovered. The industry can build a mainstream reputation on this solid foundation.

So here, at the beginning of a new era, cannabis retailers have the opportunity to be first in what is sure to be a valuable space. Clear regulations will develop from province to province and governments will gradually improve those laws and make them more suitable to social expectations. Eventually, any existing stereotypes will fade.

In the meantime, the possibility that an entrepreneur could start off with a very small company and build into something exponentially larger, represents one of the most recent frontiers here in Canada, and the possibility of a larger frontier abroad.

3 Things Entrepreneurs Should Keep In Mind With Respect to Venture Capital Fundraising

For an entrepreneur, starting one’s own company is both exciting and of course challenging. Being one’s own boss? Making one’s own schedule? Check and check — all positives. With that said, you’ll also want to be aware of the challenges that lie ahead as you plan to get started.

First, when it comes to potential fundraising for your company, prepare well in advance to meet with investors. Any venture capital firm will want to see solid data showing that your overall and addressable market is substantial—and that you have a first-mover advantage. Show what is different about your product, process, price or niche.

Display that you have done extensive due diligence. It is critical to support your pitch with data-based, industry-relevant metrics, and be sure to include revenue potential. While this may seem incredibly obvious, you would be surprised at how often it is overlooked.

Not all venture capital firms are alike or have the same investment philosophy. Some specialize in one area of investment, like green technology. Others only want startups that sell into Fortune 500 companies. Study them through their websites and the business media to ensure there is a potential good match.

Second, be able to demonstrate that you are not a one-person show, that you are ready with a solid, credentialed management team whose skills complement yours. Team-building is hard work. It’s not just finding the right candidates for certain roles — it’s factoring their cost into the equation and determining how they fit with your culture and other members of your team.

You will need each person on your team to buy into the overall vision. Take every opportunity to bring it up in meetings, in conversation, and in the normal course of your business.

Last, keep your enthusiasm alive and your passion burning. Even after 15 years of advising businesses on what it takes to grow, my day job doesn’t feel like work. I’ve always had a passion for investment and a passion for developing businesses. I truly appreciate the startup culture and creative mindset of entrepreneurs.

Maintaining your enthusiasm may be one of the biggest challenges as you strive for a successful launch and navigate the capital-raising part of building your business. Dealing with the unknown can be daunting. Sales, profits, customers – it all can be volatile and that is one of the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur. Keep in mind your enthusiasm will go a long, long way when meeting with venture capitalists and other investors.

Management Suggestions for Young Entrepreneurs

I used to think that success as an entrepreneur took an idea, seed money and of course, a “wing and a prayer”.

Until I came across a quote that read, “there is no finish line; there are only mile markers”. I can honestly say that leading and managing a business (your own or someone else’s), is an evolving process, and not one that has a specific manual to help young leaders pave the way to success.

In 1995, I launched MBM Investments Corp. out of Toronto to join the design aspect of construction with the understanding of commercial and residential trends throughout the industry.

When starting your own (or managing someone’s) business, it’s crucial to know your market and where you fit within the scope of your industry. That number one person? Be better than them. Find what they are doing and find a way to do it better. A way to do it cheaper. And a way to do it first. Staying “hungry,” as they say, will move – and keep you – at number one.

Something I still work on is understanding the labor market. For example, in the construction industry, unionized environments are not only something that need to be understood, but they also need to be effectively managed. Labor markets are something that aren’t taught, but learned, and they are so incredibly important – labor costs and markets being mismanaged often lead to companies spiraling out of control.

Speaking of control, cost management is vital to a thriving business. Always gather three quotes for any work that needs to be done. It keeps everyone honest and keeps you in check and responsible for what you’re doing. If young entrepreneurs can’t control costs, they can’t control other aspects of their business.

Another obstacle for any manager to overcome is micromanagement. It’s something every good leader is guilty of at some point in time, but a line that can be easily crossed when sharing your vision and goals for the business. Communication is key in effective management, and a trait that transpires through the test of time when referring to successful leadership. Provide your employees the training, resources and education they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Finally, find a way to incorporate your passion and interests into your business. Whether its problem solving or communicating (or both) keeping everyone on the same page eliminates friction and keeps things transparent. Which, in turn, increases productivity. Love what you do, become good and it – and you’ll never “work” a day in your life.

The Growing Popularity of Trading

There’s no doubt that trading has become more popular over the past decade or more. For some investors, working from home, where ever home might be, and earning consistent profits through trading stocks, options, futures, or currencies, is both appealing and lucrative.

On top of that, markets are more accessible than ever, information is readily available and internet access has become widespread. Perhaps even more importantly, experts are willing to share their knowledge, so mentoring and coaching help are accessible.

However, no one is saying that trading to earn money is easy. You need market knowledge, a willingness to dig deep on technical patterns and an understanding that all trading requires some level of risk.

Successful trading also requires a specialized mindset, an idea explored in my 2014 co-authored book, The Winning Way.

3 Traits Every Trader Needs

In The Winning Way book, we look at three psychological mindsets that are necessary for a trader, regardless of experience, to be successful. Those mindsets are: one, accept market uncertainty; two, focus on the “now”; and three, think probability.

I thought it would be useful to outline these qualities in a little more detail here.

Accept Market Uncertainty

You have to believe that each trade is a random event and the outcome is out of your control and beyond any kind of analysis. Unless you know what each of the millions and millions of investors and other market participants are betting on each day, it’s impossible to predict what the markets will do.

I began making a trading profit when I started to believe in my own tools and systems for trading. I accepted that markets are uncertain and that leads to randomly distributed winners and losers, at least in the short term. However, in the long run, I trust that my edge gives me a higher probability of winning than losing.

Focus on Now

We’ve all been conditioned to learn from past experience. That works, mostly, since a change in behaviour usually leads to a different outcome. But in trading, it is detrimental to associate current trading decisions with past results. As every mutual fund prospectus tell us: Past results are not indicative of future performance. Professional traders understand that each trade is random, operating independently of previous trades.

Great traders focus only on opportunities that are happening right now.

Think Probability

The focus on uncertain markets can be difficult for some traders as they wonder how to achieve consistent and profitable results in such an environment. Although markets are uncertain in the short run, long-term predictable results are achievable. Your own trading strategies and systems give you an edge. You will have both winning and losing trades in the short run, and in the long run your edge will give you a higher probability of winning than losing. Being able to understand probability also helps you become a more disciplined trader. You will be able to trade with less emotion, allowing you to think more clearly and ultimately make better trading decisions.

My Story

I started trading in 2001. By 2003, my initial success had disappeared. I was spending thousands of dollars on complex trading systems that just didn’t work. In short, I was struggling to find a new path that would suit my goals.

At that time, I was fortunate enough to meet the late George Fontanills, one of most respected options traders in the world. I needed George to help me understand my trading personality and what type of trading would be most suitable for me. More importantly, I needed a mentor to send me on the path of developing a winning mindset.

George mentored me on trading strategies and techniques, but most importantly, he guided me to my own trading personality. He knew I wasn’t suited to day trading, because I hated the idea of staring at a screen all day. He also knew I didn’t have the patience for long-term trading. So he came up with the idea of short-term or swing trading.

Swing Trading

The timeframe of my trades is anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the stock and market volatility. And because swing patterns are highly repetitive and happen over and over again, stock movements can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy.

George was able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses as a trader. He taught me valuable risk management skills and how to protect my trading capital. He also taught me how to trade small but win big, and how to scale up. Under George, I learned to focus on mastering one or two markets before expanding into other areas of trading.

In conclusion, I believe that you must apply the three psychological mindsets mentioned above at all times to keep trading simple. If you can do all that, you will see a breakthrough in your trading, and very soon you will become a consistent and profitable trader well on your way to achieving success.

Career Tips To Help You Maximize Your Income

Nobody goes into their career thinking that they want to make the least amount of money possible making it nearly impossible to retire. The goal for many is to make it to retirement as fast as possible which will take proactive saving but also maximizing your income. A proactive approach is need to maximize income as nobody is simply going to give you a raise without asking for it or pay you to watch Netflix for hours upon hours. The following are career and personal tips that will help you maximize your income and get that much closer to retirement.

Ask For Those Extra Shifts

Taking on an extra shift or volunteering for overtime is going to make a difference over the course of months. Not only are you earning extra money but you are also avoiding spending money as you are at work. Asking for extra shifts then calling off is a recipe to never be offered an extra shift again. This does not mean to pick up multiple shifts and burn yourself out as professional burnout impacts a multitude of people yearly. The fact that you pick up a shift whenever needed will have management looking at you like a team player which could eventually lead to a promotion.

Get A Bump In Commission

Those people in sales know that an extra percent in commission is going to make a huge difference in yearly income. Asking for this might not be as easy as many think as you will have to present reasons why you deserve this bump up. This is when you bring out closing numbers as those people who close the highest number of leads deserve this bump. Those salespeople with low closing percentages cost the company more money as the marketing team has to get more leads to make up for lack of closing.

Freelance From Home

Freelancing from home during free time can make a huge difference in your income. Adding supplemental income weekly can increase your quality of life immensely. Those people with proficient writing or web design skills can start earning immediately on a freelancer platform. Working a few hours extra per day does not appeal to many people but those that enjoy writing or designing will not mind. At the very least instead of a Netflix binge write a blog post or product copy daily. The best thing about freelancing is that you can set your workload as well as deadlines. The Money Alert is a great financial resource that can help direct you on how to save the money you are earning from freelancing.

Entertain Offers From Other Companies

You should never stop looking for better opportunities as far as your career goes. Your dream job is not going to wait until you are laid off or decide to quit your job. Accept interviews at other companies as well to see what they offer you that is superior to your current job to entice you to leave it. At some point you might receive an offer that is much better than the compensation package you have at your current company. Allow your company to try to match the offer before making any permanent decisions. This tactic cannot be used very often so only do this when the offer you receive is incredible.

Maximize your income and allow yourself to live a lifestyle that you never thought was possible. Retirement can come years early if you follow the above tips.

Transferring Your Skills From One Industry To The Next

Throughout an individual’s working career, they can have between 5 and 7 jobs. That means some professionals average a job change every few years.

Rather than leaving behind our experiences and starting fresh, we often take the skills we’ve developed into our new positions, which indeed proves an advantage for us and our next employer.

This doesn’t mean that every talent you have developed will be useful in your new job. But, more often than not, there are some basic skills that are transferable. These types of skills are often put into three categories: functional skills; personal traits/attitudes; and knowledge-based.

Functional skills are those that people use to accomplish tasks, such as writing. Personal attitudes or traits are those that make up your personality, such as independent, quick learner, etc. Knowledge-based skills are ones that you have developed with formal training, such as at business school or through accounting courses.

By having an idea – or better yet a list – of your strengths in each area, you will be able to see how you’ll fit into a new role.

Compare your talents and expertise to the new job requirements and see how you can fit into the role. This will help you sell yourself to the company or board by showing them you have skills that will be a boon to their business.

What are the must-have skills for today’s business leaders?

While most leaders come from various backgrounds, there are some basic talents they need to have developed to make them successful in any industry.

These include:

  1. Innovation: The ability to adapt and to think outside the box is crucial to many businesses. Oftentimes, we stick to what we know and continue to do things the way they have always been done. However, that is often not the best way to draw in new customers or to boost sales. By trying a fresh, original solution to a problem, leadership can advance the organization’s interest substantially.
  1. Technological acceptance: Needless to say, there have been major strides forward in the tech world over the past few decades and technology in many ways has substantially changed the landscape and environment we do business in. Moving forward into the 21st century, business leaders will need to implement – and be willing to implement – new technology to stay competitive.
  1. Human-ness: Despite an increase in automation of the workplace, managing people is still a major part of leadership in any industry. The executive who can demonstrate sensitivity, honesty and fairness will go a long way.

If the average person can expect to change their job every few years, it only makes sense to be prepared. By developing skills that can be useful in different industries and positions, leaders will be able to rise to new challenges no matter what industry they find themselves in.