Stay focused on the long game with a sound plan, the fortitude to see it through and the willingness to adapt.
This is the kind of advice the team at Baker Tilly Ottawa LLP offers business clients and it’s been particularly resonant over the past six months. The accountancy and business advisory firm also takes it to heart.
As incoming managing partner Michael Hayward points out, Baker Tilly Ottawa LLP is itself a small business – a team of 14 entrepreneurs who have had to plant their heels and get creative to push through the pandemic’s challenges.
That includes staying the course with the Ottawa office’s succession plans. Outgoing managing partner Ken Tammadge is keeping on schedule with his retirement, even if those family trips to Machu Picchu and Down Under have had to be postponed.
The two professionals have been working shoulder to shoulder to prepare for this very day.
“I see a very smooth transition and no hiccups in the process,” Tammadge said. “We’ve been working on succession at the individual partner level for many years now as various partners have retired.”
Through the pandemic and beyond
Collins Barrow offices across the country and its well-known accountancy and business advisory firm in Ottawa rebranded in 2019 and took on the name of its larger global network, Baker Tilly.
The rebrand reflects the company’s dedication to a unified global voice and represents the ability of the company to serve entrepreneurial customers the world over.
The Baker Tilly Ottawa LLP team will continue to foster great relationships and have great conversations with local clients while helping them anticipate and plan for the future success of their companies, through the pandemic and beyond.
Now, for tomorrow.
Retirement in no way means that he is going to disappear. Baker Tilly is a business built on long-term client relationships that often evolve into friendships. Some of Tammadge’s clients have been with him for 20- plus years. For their benefit, and the benefit of the rest of the team, he will continue to play a supportive role.
“At 65 you don’t suddenly turn dumb or want to spend all your time on the golf course, but you want to continue to help out to the extent that people need your help,” he said.
Mastering the learning curve for clients
The rest of the team, meanwhile, remains focused on providing clients with the advice and services they need the most in these historic times. For example, understanding how to apply for and benefit from any of the new government support and relief programs without incurring a penalty for inadvertently breaking a rule.
“Never have we had to spend so much time in such a short span to understand legislation that is largely new for everyone,” Hayward said. “It’s been a constant effort to master the learning curve – but that is why we are here. This is what we do.”
Pandemic response programs that were first announced with largely universal access in the spring have since grown in complexity and now have more stringent qualification criteria. As the situation has evolved, the government has made adjustments to ensure these programs are more accountable and needs-based.
“The average person trying to run their business doesn’t have the time, inclination or base of knowledge to keep up and understand how to take advantage,” Hayward said. “This has increased their reliance on professional advisors like Baker Tilly. It’s become more important than ever for us to proactively reach out and communicate regularly with our clients.”
The past six months have been a shared learning experience, and Hayward remains impressed by how adaptable many clients have proven to be.
“It’s remarkable to see how resilient our clients are, regardless of their size or industry,” he said. “These are entrepreneurs who adapt – it’s in their blood. And it’s our job to equip them with the tools and the support they need. It’s stressful and burdensome to clients when they are spending time trying to figure out what pandemic-relief programs are available to them and how to apply for these much-needed benefits. We are able to guide them through the ever-changing business world, and help navigate that complexity for them, so they are free to do what they do best.”