by Stacy Dunn
Jamie Arsenault, Partner with Fitzpatrick & Company, says as important as it is to recruit, it is more important to retain the staff they have for the long-term.
This company is a full-service accounting firm. The assurance division manages audits, reviews, and other financial statement preparation. The advisory division handles business planning, tax planning, and refinancing.
The staff of 38 includes five Partners and Principals, six Managers, seven Accounting Technicians, an Operations Manager, a Controller, and six support staff. The rest are Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) students.
They are looking to hire a manager for their technician department and are always on the lookout for accountants with experience as well as those new to the field. Job opportunities are advertised in The Guardian, Indeed, social media, and through word-of-mouth.
“We do a good portion of our business from March to June,” says Jamie Arsenault, Partner. “It’s a lot of overtime that translates to time off in the summer months.
“We use the fall as a time to refresh, when we have a corporate retreat to look back at what we have done. Our staff are very involved in corporate change.
“We are always looking at new trends in the accounting industry.” Fitzpatrick & Company is looking to introduce remote work options, a four-day work week, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). They have been investigating the policies of other accounting firms across Canada concerning remote work and work hours, and talking with their own staff about what works for them and their business.
“It is difficult to find qualified employees. We try to train within, so we hire from universities and colleges. We have hired many newcomers to Canada in the last few years. They may not have the exact designation we need, but they are able to work towards their CPA.”
Jamie says one newcomer staff person with previous accounting experience was eligible to challenge the exam and not write it, but she wanted to go through the program and write the CFE like everyone else.
Accounting students work at the firm while participating in the 30-month CPA preparatory program to earn their professional accountant designation. Fitzpatrick & Company gives them employment experience and time off to study and write the Certified Final Exam (CFE), which leads to the CPA designation.
“This profession is constantly evolving, between standards, taxation, and even AI,” he says. “AI can do some of our menial tasks, and we look at it as an opportunity for us to provide better services to our clients.
“We are not that far away from basic tax returns being done at the click of a button. With general bookkeeping, AI can post to accounting software, which leaves us with more time to analyze clients’ financial statements and discuss items with them in detail.”
Jamie says the work environment is flexible and fast-paced. They are always planning and organizing workflows that are efficient to reduce pressure and stress. “We are trying to maintain staff levels by providing a good work/life balance. We want to work smarter, not harder, and that’s where AI will help.”
He notes Accountants are popular choices to sit on boards. “I sit on several boards, and our other Partners do as well. We participate in fundraising events like the Special Olympics and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Galas. We give of our time whenever we can.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about Fitzpatrick & Company, visit www.fitzandco.ca