How Accounting can be faster and easier for your business

Accounting

Brian Clare, Founder and CEO of Blueprint Accounting

“Hey there, my name is Brian Clare and I’m the Founder and CEO of Blueprint Accounting, a cloud-based accounting firm in Ottawa, ON.  I hold a Bachelor of Psychology from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Accounting from Mount Saint Vincent University, and an MBA from Wilfred Laurier University. I am originally from Halifax, NS, but I now call Ottawa home. I’ve been a CPA for 8 years and I am a huge tech enthusiast. I’m constantly searching for new apps to integrate into my bookkeeping and accounting processes. I love partnering technology and accounting because it saves so much time and money – for myself and my clients. The time we save on accounting is spent strategizing and growing the business.

I started Blueprint Accounting in 2018 with the intention to help as many business owners as possible reach their dreams by providing them the financial data they need to make better decisions. In 2020, I partnered with Scott J. Armstrong Financial Consulting LTD, and Blueprint now offers tax, bookkeeping, and virtual CFO services all under one roof! We serve small businesses in a variety of industries including eCommerce, fitness, professional services, medical services, real estate, and more.”

What is the mission of your organization?

We aim to provide the best client experience possible so that our clients can create value from their business and personal lives. This starts with creating a great team experience that translates to clients.


What was the motivation behind coming up with the idea for Blueprint Accounting?

There had been a shift in the way accounting and bookkeeping could be completed that benefits the client through a better client experience. I wanted to provide as much value to as many businesses as possible so I created Blueprint Accounting to provide help to entrepreneurs so they can better understand their financial data. In September 2020, I completed a merger with a tax firm here in Ottawa and brought in my new business partner, Scott Armstrong. This merger created a full service offering that we now provide to our clients through bookkeeping, tax, and vCFO services.


Why should people choose Blueprint Accounting over some other company that has been in the game for a substantial number of years?

Our client experience is different that a traditional firm. We’re very hands-on from day one. For example, our onboarding takes 6 weeks, and we meet 6 times over those first weeks to ensure we are learning the nuances of each business we work with, adjusting processes where needed and setting expectations properly for a successful partnership with our clients. Not only that, but we also utilize cutting-edge technology to facilitate our work and interactions with clients to create a smooth process for everyone involved.


What are your plans and aspirations for your company in the next five years?

We want to grow to $5M annual revenue, build on our best-in-class client experience, and provide an inspirational team environment so that our team loves working at Blueprint, with each other, and our clients. We want to attract the best talent and that starts with having a great culture. This will ultimately result in a better client experience.


How do you feel the business environment has changed since the pandemic?

It accelerated people’s adoption for working remotely and with anyone across Canada and the world. I think these benefits everyone because now we’re not wasting time driving between meetings in our cities – we have access to the entire world and people are realizing the benefits of this. Whether that is finding better talent or clients that fit better with the way people want to work.


Can you elaborate on some of the challenges you faced and what can other aspiring entrepreneurs learn from them?

Starting a business is one of the hardest things you’ll do. With a service firm, it’s not only about delivering great work. That is the end goal, but there are so many different facets of your business that you need to think about and decide on ahead of time. For example, do you want to be a one-person business or grow to have a team? If it’s the latter, then you need to consider what roles you need in place to grow effectively and service your clients. These are underlooked aspects of running a business that many service-firm owners don’t consider when they take the leap and start their own business.


What suggestions do you have for small-scale businesses that are finding it hard to pull through during these challenging times?

The financial burden that the pandemic has wrought on people has been extremely challenging. A lot of businesses closed since the world was hit with the pandemic. But consider the mental challenges that people face as well.

Being home all day can be challenging in a pandemic so reaching out to your friends and family is super important. You need to have a great support system as you get back to normal with your business, assuming you survived the pandemic.

With your support system in place, then you can really take a deep look at your business to figure out how to run it more efficiently and effectively. Whether that’s cutting certain expenses, finding better talent, or using some automation to free up your time, it’s important to assess these aspects of your business so that you can turn a better profit.

I’ve always heard that one of the first things to cut in a business during a pandemic is marketing. I would disagree here because if everyone is cutting marketing, you now have an opportunity to set yourself up for future success by investing in marketing in a downturned economy. Doing so means that you’re leagues ahead of your competition as people and businesses start to spend more in the future.

Your investment in marketing will pay itself back in spades because it’ll be cheaper in a downturned economy with fewer people spending (think ads), which puts you front-of-mind for your customers when they are ready to spend. It’s an investment in your business’s future when done right.

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