Keep­ing ac­counts

Firm ded­i­cated to help­ing small busi­nesses suc­ceed

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID JALA SYD­NEY david@cb­post.com

Syd­ney-based ac­count­ing firm ded­i­cated to help­ing small busi­nesses.

A new Syd­ney-based ac­count­ing firm ded­i­cated to small busi­ness has come full cir­cle, more than 20 years af­ter it was first con­cep­tu­al­ized in Cape Bre­ton.

A Ledgers Canada fran­chise is now up and run­ning un­der the di­rec­tion of long-time lo­cal CPA Mer­rill Carmichael, who has set up the firm’s new of­fice in the Sears build­ing at the cor­ner of Prince and Disco streets in Syd­ney.

Carmichael said he feels that Ledgers is a good fit for small busi­nesses in Cape Bre­ton in that he can pro­vide per­sonal ser­vice with the sup­port of a suc­cess­ful na­tion­wide firm.

“I feel re-in­vig­o­rated,” said the 53-year-old Glace Bay na­tive, who has op­er­ated lo­cally for the past 20 years.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity for me to spend more time with my clients and hav­ing the brand recog­ni­tion, mar­ket­ing and tech­ni­cal sup­port avail- able to mem­bers of the Ledgers net­work will al­low me more time to get out, meet the clients and gather more in­for­ma­tion.”

The new Syd­ney op­er­a­tion is the 48th Ledgers fran­chise to be es­tab­lished in Canada.

The idea be­hind the firm dates back to 1994, when an inspired team of lo­cal char­tered ac­coun­tants rec­og­nized that many small busi­nesses in the area could not af­ford the high cost of the in­dus­try’s larger play­ers.

By 1996, the team fin­ished de­vel­op­ing the Ledgers model and the first fran­chise was es­tab­lished the fol­low­ing year when Terry Buchanan set up shop in Monc­ton, N.B.

But by 2000, Ledgers was barely break­ing even and that’s when On­tario ac­coun­tant Gor­don Haslam ac­quired the busi­ness and turned it into a suc­cess­ful fran­chise that now has al­most 50 of­fices across the coun­try.

The Ledgers Canada pres­i­dent said Carmichael is the per­fect fit for the fran­chise.

“Mer­rill brings a great deal of knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and ded­i­ca­tion – he has a wide range of skills and is very com­mit­ted to shar­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence by pro­vid­ing ex­cep­tional cus­tomer ser­vice,” said Haslam.

For his part, Carmichael is chomp­ing at the bit to take his new ven­ture into Cape Bre­ton’s small busi­ness com­mu­nity.

“You be­come a part­ner in busi­ness with the clients and that’s what we try to de­velop – there are so many great peo­ple out there who have so many great ideas,” said Carmichael, who has al­ready taken on board a num­ber of busi­nesses that he has worked with pre­vi­ously.

“You be­come per­son­ally in­volved and you re­ally get a feel for where they are com­ing from – in some cases their house is on the line, so the more I can learn about their busi­ness, the bet­ter.”

The af­fa­ble Carmichael said that Ledgers is es­sen­tially a one-fee-cov­ers-all ser­vice that takes care of a small busi­ness’ ac­count­ing, book­keep­ing and fi­nan­cial re­port­ing.

“We can’t al­ways guar­an­tee that a busi­ness will suc­ceed, but we can guar­an­tee that if it does fail it won’t be be­cause their books aren’t in or­der.”

Ledgers Canada, which has been based in New­mar­ket, Ont. Since 2000, has re­cently ex­panded into the United States and has fu­ture plans for Europe.

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Mer­rill Carmichael has brought Ledgers Canada back to Cape Bre­ton some 20 years af­ter the firm that is ded­i­cated to small busi­ness was first con­cep­tu­al­ized by a team of Syd­ney-based ac­coun­tants.

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