I began to work in PUBLIC PRACTICE along side my father, AARON SINGER, Chartered Accountant (C.A.), since the summer of 1985.
Between the summer of 1985 to June 30, 1989 the firm name was Singer Lazer + Grant, Chartered Accountants.
In July 1989 my father, one of the senior partners, left with a junior partner and they formed their own accounting firm. The name was Singer & Johnson, Chartered Accountants.
Sometime around 1994 or so, another C.A. joined the firmed, and it was renamed to Singer Johnson Sasley.
Sasley announced he was leaving post January 31, 1999 and the firm name was renamed to Singer Johnson, Chartered Accountants.
I performed all the normal duties of an accounting technician, and I was ‘production’ staff. I was also the network administrator, the E-File Co-ordinator, the computer guy, and I even emptied the garbage cans too!
Around 1995 my parents began vacationing in Hemet California, on an annual basis, for at least two months a year. Their plan was to increase it to six months each year away on vacation and away from the Chartered Accountant Firm. I took a greater role in managing my father’s client base and dealing with the clients and maintaining client satisfaction.
My father retired in 2003 and I had major personal issues with his partner, in the way he handled the busines, myself and my father’s retirement, so it was officially in March 2003 when I left public practice to work under my own business name HBS Management Consultants. I maintained all of the relationships with the existing client base and still maintain them.
I am not a Chartered Accountant. Nor do I have any degrees.
I have taken the Bachelor of Commerce (honours) program at University of Manitoba, but I didn’t graduate. I had taken all of the courses except I failed the last course in the program called “Administrative Policy”. The reasons were, in my opinion, unfair and unreasonable and while I detested immensely and appealed the grade. I managed to repeat the course in the summer, but didn’t attend any classes and deserved to fail. I should have graduated in 1985. When I tried to enroll in the spring 1987 session to finish this course and program, I was placed on academic suspension for taking too long, and using up too many credit hours. The ‘rules’ to allow me to get back into the program, was to take a full 1-1/2 year session or 27 credit hours of non-accounting related ART courses before I could repeat the course.
I did not choose that option, and on June 30, 1989 I left public practice and university to become controller with our family business STI Merchanding Corporation, with my two brothers. I created HBS MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS and was also doing monthly accounting for a few individual lawyers, a few restaurants, and my cousin’s screen printing business.
I returned February 1992 to work at Singer & Johnson, Chartered Accountants, when I learned of their rapid growth problems and high turnover of accountant technician problems, and everyone thought (including myself) that I could make a difference.
In 1994 I enrolled in the Certified General Accountants (C.G.A.) program but, mostly concentrated on Income Tax courses, to help make me a better tax accountant. This was a good idea at the time, but had proved to be a bad timing decision. The course was intense and I barely finished it. I shouldn’t have enrolled during tax time. When the 3rd level came I put the courses on hold.
I never did get around to re-enrolling into the CGA or CA program and I really don’t want to go back either. I know my experience and what I am capable of doing. Of course, in my business, you have to keep up to date with the latest changes to accounting practices, income tax legislation, and technology. I do participate in many accounting forums, I do research all the time with regards to income tax and other matters, and I do subscribe to many newsletters and other sources of information that might occassionally give me a “heads up” to help me give me direction for future research.
For the more complex tax issues, I do engage the services of a tax specialist to assist me and provide consultation, but for the most part I can hold my own.
Since I’ve been on my own, I describe my business as an “Accounting / Consultanting” business specializing in “Systems Consulting” , and not as a public practice. I can prepare and file all types of tax returns and can help you be compliant and the accounting and income tax preparation consists the majority of my business income. I can prepare and publish Notice to Reader and Review Engagements. I cannot perform an audit, or sign a lawyer’s Form-D annual report and other audits of that nature.
I hope this blog entry helps paint a picture of me, in a good way. Throughout the years, I do not believe I lasted there because my father was the senior C.A. partner, where in fact – it was the exact opposite. He would stay out of all decisions and actions to avoid helping me and favoring me in any way. My growth and development and experience had evolved at the success of my own making, and of my peers.
“Public Practice” refers to “the practice of public accounting”.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba defines it in its bylaws:
“practice of public accounting” means providing or offering to provide one or more of the following services to the public:
(i)performing an assurance engagement as defined in the CICA Handbook;
(ii)performing a specified auditing procedures engagement as defined in the CICA Handbook;
(iii)performing a compilation engagement as defined in the CICA Handbook;
(iv)providing an accounting service insofar as it involves summarization, analysis, advice, counsel or interpretation, but excluding an accounting service which is part of but incidental to the provider’s primary occupation which is not accounting;
(v)providing a forensic accounting, financial investigation or financial litigation support service;
(vi)providing advice, counsel or interpretation with respect to taxation matters; and
(vii)preparing a tax return or other statutory information filing when such preparation is in connection with a practice offering or providing a service described in paragraph (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) or (vi).
For greater certainty, the practice of public accounting does not include:
(viii)management consulting, including investigating and identifying management and business problems related to the policy, technical, organizational, operational, financial, systems, procedures or administrative aspects of organizations and recommending appropriate solutions;
(ix)insolvency, including receivership, trusteeship in bankruptcy, liquidation and administration of bankrupt or insolvent companies and estates;
(x)data processing, including manual record keeping;
(xi)administratorship, insofar as it involves the management of affairs on behalf of others;
(xii)computer systems consulting;
(xiii)business brokerage, negotiating and advising on the sale, financing, merger or acquisition of business organizations;
(xiv)executorship and estate administration;
(xv)personal financial planning;
(xvii)insurance counselling; and