Sloan Partner’s Manager Sudarsan Nagarajan talks about his favorite thing about being an accountant, his love of technology, and the biggest mistakes he sees small businesses make.
When did you join Sloan Partners?
I joined Sloan Partners a little over eight years ago. I came to the firm as a senior accountant, then was a supervisor, and now I am the firm manager – a job I really enjoy.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I mainly work with small businesses. I help them with financial planning both in their business and personally so that they can experience growth. It’s very rewarding when a client brings me into their corporate family fold. By that, I mean that they seek out my advice from everything to finding a bookkeeper to investment options to financial and retirement planning for them and their family.
Tell us about your background before joining Sloan.
Well, I was a chartered accountant in my home country of India. After immigrating to Canada in the early 2000s, I had to complete additional qualifications to receive my Certified General Accountant certification. I then worked for two different professional accounting firms before joining Sloan Partners.
How would you describe yourself and your personal accounting style?
I’m not sure it’s a style, but I want to be the face of the organization for our client’s. I have a very hands-on approach when need be. Many of our smaller clients need a little more hand-holding and I enjoy that. I try to get to know each client in depth so I can understand their goals and their challenges. Once I understand the needs of a client, I can give them the best advice possible.
What is the biggest tax mistakes you see businesses make and how can they be avoided?
One very common mistake we see is when a small business owner brings in their spouse or family member and gives them the job of accounting for the business, even though they have no accounting background or even an understanding of the role or function of accounting. I see business owners every day who are surprised that the accounting for the business is not being handled properly.
Another big mistake we see often is business owners who assume because their business is small that the CRA will not audit them. They expect to be left alone because they are just a small fish, but in fact, the CRA looks at everybody. When they do get audited, they are completely taken by surprise. By the time that happens, it’s nearly impossible to undo actions they have already taken (or not taken) as far as accounting.
One last thing is when owners use their company bank account as if it were their own personal account. Running personal expenses through the business can cause major difficulties. It’s critical to always keep personal and business transactions and accounts separate.
And now a few personal questions.
What made you decide to become an accounting/tax professional?
When I was younger, I volunteered for a local Parliamentarian who was campaigning to be a provincial member of Parliament. He happened to be a CPA and we spent a lot of time talking, and I became entranced with the profession.
What is your favorite thing about the accounting profession?
As an accountant and manager, I get to meet different kinds of people in varied businesses every day which keeps things interesting. I often meet clients who are at the beginning phase of their business and I am able to work with them and give accounting and tax advice to help them succeed. There is a lot of satisfaction in seeing clients achieve their goals, knowing that I was able to contribute to their business and financial growth.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests outside of the office that you’d like to share?
I’m quite into anything to do with technology. Technology changes at a rapid pace, and I like to keep abreast of any technological advancements – it’s a passion I share with my son. I also am interested in stock markets. I keenly watch North American stock market and invest in them. I am interested in learning about many companies and enjoy the research that is involved.