Ottawa accounting firm Evolta poised to expand digital-first model to T.O.

David DiNardo
David DiNardo is the founder of Envolta. File photo

“Accounting” and “sexy” are two words that rarely appear in the same sentence, but David DiNardo hopes that’s about to change.

The founder of Ottawa-based accounting firm Envolta is poised to launch a six-figure Google ad campaign in the Greater Toronto Area as he strives to reach his ambitious goal of quadrupling his company’s annual revenues from $5 million to $20 million over the next five years.

Standing out in the crowded Toronto market will be no easy feat, he concedes, but he’s confident his social media-savvy crew will be up to the task. 

“We’re trying to be very relatable to that business owner,” he says. “It’s a very dinosaur type of industry,” DiNardo says. “We’re trying to make it sexy.”   

"It’s a very dinosaur type of industry. We’re trying to make it sexy."

DiNardo is no stranger to embracing technology. While many entrepreneurs suddenly found themselves getting a crash course in online business when the pandemic struck, the digital-first mentality was already deeply entrenched at Envolta. 

The firm, which landed on OBJ’s list of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies in 2018 and 2019, had begun shifting its operations to cloud-based accounting platforms a couple of years before the COVID-19 crisis, DiNardo notes. Today, the company maintains just one physical office in the capital, and all but a handful of its 40 employees work remotely.

“When the pandemic hit, we were well-positioned for it,” he says. “We didn’t have to adjust to anything.”

In addition to tackling the competitive Toronto-area market, DiNardo has plans to keep expanding farther west to major cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg over the next few years in his quest to take on the big boys. 

'Nimble' mindset

Never one to sit back and wait for opportunities, he’s also eyeing acquisitions to accelerate the bootstrapped company’s growth. 

Predicting the firm’s headcount will hit 60 by the end of 2021, he says Envolta’s “nimble” mindset should serve it well as it battles for market share with the likes of Deloitte and MNP.

Just as millions of consumers who’d never purchased a single item online before COVID-19 suddenly started flocking to e-commerce sites like Amazon last spring, DiNardo says customers who’d been reluctant to, say, scan receipts and file them remotely quickly became converts to the notion of virtual accounting.

“There have been a bunch of clients that might not have been clients two years ago, now saying, ‘Hey, I want the (online) alternative. I don’t need to go to an office,’” he explains. 

“We’ve been seeing even more growth in the last six months, and now it’s the perfect time to branch out of Ottawa and move into Toronto.”