Introducing the AccountaBility blog

AccountaBilityFebruary marks the start of year three for Adams Green. We’re marking the occasion by launching a new website (Thanks Dan Culberson!) and doing some blogging. So welcome to the new site and the AccountaBility blog.

It wasn’t simply the excitement of our anniversary that prompted these launches. After two years in business we feel like we’re just starting to figure out what we are all about. We always knew that we wanted to do something that felt important but now we think we know what that means.

You may ask – “Don’t you do accounting?” Yes we do, but we were never going to be satisfied with being defined that way. There’s a growing movement of businesses whose purpose is not only to make a profit but also to positively impact the world around them. We think they’re really cool and that’s what we want to be.

So while this blog will explore subjects directly related to the work we do, it will also veer into other things that we get really passionate about. To get an idea of what those things are take a look here.

I promise that these are going to be short posts that don’t take up too much of your time. I hope you will check back, and most of all I invite you to talk to us. Please let us know if what we’re doing resonates with you and if there is anything you think we can do to get better.

Welcome to the Family

Ashley

”I am a generous, kind, outgoing person who is always looking for ways to help people. I want to work for a company where the people I work with are not only my co-workers, but my family as well.”

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen lots of resumes, met with quite a few people and considered many scenarios for how and with whom we wanted to grow our little company. Over and over my mind kept coming back to those lines above. I was touched that our post could elicit a response like that from someone we’d never met.

I’m really happy to say that the author of those lines, Ashley Phillips, is joining our team on October 19th. Ashley just completed the accounting & payroll program at Eastern College, after having received her Bachelor of Business Administration (with a concentration in HR) from UNB in 2013.

Originally from Fredericton, she now calls Saint John her home. She likes to spend her spare time exploring the outdoors with her pup and travelling the world with her significant other.

Welcome to the family Ashley!

You had us at “process improvement”

Amanda
We tried to hire another accountant. Honest, we did! But Amanda DiPaolo grabbed our attention with her passion and enthusiasm. It was clear that she got what we’re trying to accomplish and wanted to be a part of it. So much so that she included the above bio with her application. When she started talking about process improvement I’m pretty sure I saw a tear form in Haley’s eye.

We’re really excited to have Amanda join our team. Amanda was formerly with a big company, lives in Quispamsis with her husband, Steve, and three girls, Brooke, Claire and Ally, and started with us on Wednesday.

We strive to provide great results for our clients but our biggest challenge has been making how we do it repeatable and reliable. Amanda is going to help us solidify and improve the “Adams Green way”.

Please join us in welcoming Amanda to the team!

Things That We Have Learned

Back to School

Since it’s the end of the first week of school I thought I’d write about some things that we’ve learned (or at least been reminded of) in the last few weeks.

The past few weeks have been quite a learning experience. From the moment that we learned Grant might be leaving, until we found ourselves on the verge of adding some new team members, it has been a whirlwind of emotion, anxiety, opportunity, excitement and more anxiety. Out of all of that here are a few key takeaways.

You always have room to improve. It drives me crazy to hear employers rationalize how an employee leaving was not their fault. Even when an employee leaves on great terms there is reason to question whether things could have been different. We know we’re not perfect and we’ll keep trying to get better.

Out of adversity comes opportunity. This is terribly cliché but true. The key is not to slap a bandage on the adversity. It could have been tempting to plug a hole with the first qualified person to come along. Instead we’re taking our time and re-evaluating how best to grow and making sure we find the right fit.

It’s not a bad idea to do a team members job for a while. I wouldn’t recommend waiting for someone to leave to do this. Instead, next time one of your team members goes on vacation try filling their role instead of just letting things pile up until they get back. You’ll learn a lot as an organization looking at things through a different set of eyes.

People respond to values. I’m not saying that our values are any better than those of anyone else. They’re just ours. And when you put that out there, as opposed to following a template, you give a certain type of person a reason to engage with you. We’ve been overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of applications that we’ve received. Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest!

That’s certainly not it but it’s an example of the many things we’ve learned. I hope it gives you some things to think about.

Pondering Hip Lyrics

Hip

I’m a big Tragically Hip fan and have always enjoyed thinking about the rambling comments that Gord Downie makes during live performances and what he means by them. One that has always made me think is in the version of Nautical Disaster that appears on the album “Live Between Us”. Near the very end Gord sings “It’s a bad time to be poor…cause we don’t give a shit no more.”

The song came on as I was driving into the office this morning and it got me thinking, as usual. I don’t believe that the average person doesn’t care. But I think it’s more a commentary on the idea that our attention is fleeting.

There are so many issues facing our community. It’s easy to get distracted by the “next one” that pops up. Every once in a while each of us needs to stop on one of them and dig in. What issue makes you passionate?

Culture or Sales?

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Recently I attended a talk by the CEO of a local start-up about the trials and tribulations of founding your own company. It was a really great event, but I went away with one thing nagging at me. That thing was this CEO’s view on what he (and other start-up founders) should prioritize.

He made a statement that having a good culture is a nice aspiration, but that it’s not the CEO’s number one priority. He said the CEO should be focused on sales and investor relations, and that other people in the organization should worry about culture. What nagged at me about that, beyond the fact that I just felt it was wrong, is that everything else he said in his talk contradicted that statement.

During his presentation he spoke (humbly) about the personal sacrifices that he’d made along the way, the long hours he had put in, the efforts to which he’d gone to make sure everyone got paid and the impact it had all had on his health and state of mind. He also talked about how he could not understand how he had ended up with a team that had such overwhelming loyalty and trust in the company and with each other. Think maybe there’s a connection?

I couldn’t help but think that he was being coached by someone who has told him that “that culture stuff” is not important to investors. That’s too bad.

Bittersweet News

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Midway through our first year of operation we made the decision that we wanted to be more than just a couple of freelancers. We would have to hire our first employee in order for that to happen.

We told interested candidates that being our first employee would not be easy. At the time, we had no formal policies and procedures, there was no office (unless you count Second Cup) and our client work was constantly in flux. There was definitely some doubt as to whether we could make it work.

Grant Roberts rose to the challenge. He has been a great member of the team since he joined in October 2013. Most notably, we couldn’t have asked for anyone better when it comes to engaging with our customers. Grant has continued to develop and recently completed the last education requirement for his CMA designation. This summer he’s taken the lead in mentoring our intern, Jonathan Pellerin.

We’re very proud of Grant and all that he has achieved. We’re also happy that we could play a part in his development. So it is with mixed feelings that we tell you that the culmination of that development is that he’s moving on to a great new opportunity. We’ll leave it to him to tell you what that opportunity is, but suffice it to say that we are thrilled for him and thrilled that we were able to act as a launching pad for his career.

Grant, thanks for all that you’ve done for us and our clients! Best wishes as you move on to the next stage of your journey.

Stay tuned as we’ll have a new opportunity popping up soon!

Moving Day

moving

Adams Green is moving! We’ve grown out of our current space and are tired of walking the 15 feet to Second Cup to get coffee…so we’re moving beside them in CenterBeam Place! Our desks and Lego table will now be two steps away from where we fuel up in the morning. What could make more sense?! On August 1st, you can find us at:

14 King Street
Suite 102

We’re not moving far, but our new place is allowing us to collaborate with a team that share our values and ambition to help small businesses! We’re incredibly excited that T Chapman Consulting & Associates will be moving in with us. They are a HR management consulting firm specializing in developing human resource strategies and HR programs, including helping businesses deliver on performance goals, facilitate change and build leadership capability. By co-locating and offering complementary services, clients will be able to have easy access to a variety of services to manage and grow their businesses.

Chapman

We’re planning for an Open House in September. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing and serving you at our new spot. Please stop by for a visit!

A Really Good Day

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Earning a professional accounting designation is a challenging endeavor under the best of circumstances. You can count on roughly two years where you must balance the demands of work and trying to maintain a social life while taking classes, doing homework and group casework most evenings and weekends.

I can only imagine that doing that while working for a brand new company going through its own growing pains makes the experience significantly more adventurous.

We’re really thrilled that Grant Roberts has successfully completed his designation requirements to become a Certified Management Accountant. All that is left is the waiting for his convocation so that he can use the initials CPA, CMA after his name.

Congratulations Grant! We know it’s been unconventional, and never easy, but you’ve done something for which you can be truly proud. We’re looking forward to what comes next.

Haley & Owen

Run, Haley, Run

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Running is a big part of Haley’s life. It gives her energy and helps make her great at what she does. Check out this blog post from “The Running Whys” series by our friend Kevin Barrett. And seriously…if you want a running buddy please call her.

Stay Here, Make a Difference

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Over the past few weeks we’ve been trying to find an accountant to join our little team. Although we’ve had a pretty good response to our posting, we just haven’t found the right fit.

How does a company that claims not to be “your average accounting firm” respond to that challenge? Naturally we’ve decided to find someone who is passionate about the same sort of things we are….but not an accountant.

There are lots of amazing young people graduating from our New Brunswick universities and we keep hearing how those people are increasingly being forced to leave the province to find work. We often find ourselves wishing we could “find someone like that” who is interested in accounting. Now is the time for us to try something new. If you are one of those amazing soon-to-be graduates – please don’t leave yet!

Here’s what we’d like to try:

1) Tell us about yourself. Please don’t send us a resume. Find some way (a letter, a video, a work of art…) to let us know what is great about you, what you’re passionate about, what makes you a leader, what impact you want to have in the world.
2) We’ll hold some interviews where you get to interview us. This will be your chance to find out everything that you want to know about us, what impact we want to have and what are our challenges and opportunities in making sure we make our customers happy.
3) You follow up with a proposal that explains how you can help us implement 3-5 improvements to our business.

Here’s what we can offer to the individual who presents the most compelling proposal:

1) A really great work environment.
2) A 6 month contract at a competitive wage and benefits.
3) Our time and support to make sure that the initiatives are successful and that you can benefit from the experience.
4) Three paid days off to volunteer for the non-profit or cause of your choice.
5) The opportunity to build a role with our company beyond the 6 months.

We’re really excited by the prospect of finding better ways to work with our customers and within our team. If this sounds like something that you’d like to be a part of, and you’re a soon to be university grad, please start the process by sending an email to owen@adamsgreen.ca and haley@adamsgreen.ca.