How did Sloan Partners form?
Allen Sloan began a sole practice in (about) 1984 and formed a partnership with Stan Swartz in 1986. I commenced my practice in 1987 after leaving a Toronto-based firm as a Manager. Stan and I were introduced by a mutual acquaintance, and in 1989 we discussed a merger. We joined forces in late 1989 and formalized our new firm on May 1, 1990.
What is your main accounting focus at Sloan?
I serve entrepreneurs and assist with their business development plans, income tax planning/compliance and help them understand how to make the business work for them to satisfy their goals and objectives. I also spend a fair amount of time as one of the partners responsible for Audit and Review engagements and ensure that the firm’s quality control standards are met.
What is the most rewarding part of your job/having your own practice?
I think that the best part is having the opportunity to meet enterprising people hoping to build their businesses. I like sharing my experience and knowledge to help clients understand complex issues and work with them to achieve their own success.
How would you describe yourself and your personal accounting style?
I would describe myself as “pragmatic”. If there is a complicated way to resolve a problem, I tend to work hard to obtain the same or similar result in a simpler manner. I tell my colleagues that a person does not have to be very intelligent to be an accountant, but you have to be very intelligent to be a great accountant.
What are the biggest tax mistakes you see businesses make and how can they be avoided?
The Canada Revenue Agency and the Department of Finance have conspired to craft tax legislation so complicated and convoluted that normally bright people are completely flummoxed by the provisions. Probably the most costly “mistakes” occur when businesses are transferred to family members (succession) without consideration of the tax laws. The next most problematic matter is not having a flexible share structure that will permit income splitting legally. These issues can be resolved by obtaining professional advice early on in any planning scenario. To update a phrase, “A gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure”.
And now a few personal questions:
What made you decide to become an accounting/tax professional?
I obtained a business administration degree from the Schulich School of Business with a focus in Corporate Finance and began my career as a Financial Analyst at General Foods of Canada (later absorbed by Kraft). I went from there to a subsidiary of Canadian Industries Limited (C-I-L) where I had a dual role as a Financial Analyst and Financial Accountant. I came to realize that my experience was limited to the organizations I was working in and began to think that Public Accounting would provide a broader range of business situations and knowledge.
I was already studying in a professional accounting program, so the transition was relatively easy. The hard part was starting “at the bottom” as a new hire when I had a few years of solid business experience. My primary motivation was knowledge, but by the time I graduated from the program as a Chartered Accountant I had the opportunity to work with a broad range of clients and enjoyed being an advisor who could assist them in reaching their goals.
If you weren’t an accountant what other profession would you like to try?
Great question! Many years ago I realized that I had a natural “knack” for knowing how to use a camera to capture really good images. My interest lay dormant as I was building a professional accounting career and raising (with my wife Sharon) three children who are now adults with children of their own. About 10 years ago I got more “serious” about photography, built a website and established a studio specializing in Fine Art prints and landscape images. I have sold a small number of limited editions and many examples of my work are hanging up all over the office. If I was not so involved with assisting my clients, I’d probably establish a small gallery to showcase my work as well as other aspiring photographers.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests outside of the office that you’d like to share?
My wife chuckles at my rather long list of interests that I don’t have enough time to pursue. Included are: cycling; woodworking; political science; biblical studies; teaching photography; running; travel to India, Peru and New Zealand (separate trips!); learning calculus; and cooking. And that is just the top of the list. Hopefully, I will live long enough to get to most of the items on the list!
Jerry Paskowitz is a Partner with Sloan Partners with over 30 years’ experience in all tax and financial matters. Get in touch with Jerry by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (416-649-7702) for an appointment to discuss tax savings opportunities and financial strategy for your business.