— image credit: Photo courtesy Chan Nowosad Boates
Taking care of your own people and giving back to your community are two strong drivers of the way Campbell River accounting firm Chan Nowosad Boates (CNB) conducts its business.
It’s the way the original partners conducted themselves when they started operating in Campbell River in 1983 and it’s the way the CNB team continues to operate.
“We need to train our people and grow our people,” John Chan said. “We had to develop our own talent. And so that’s one part of it; we need to grow our own people.
“The other part is giving back to society.”
Chan falls back on his own personal journey for the inspiration for their philosophy. As a young man he moved to Canada and got firsthand experience with how tough it can be to get started in a new country on your own. His journey eventually brought him to Campbell River in 1976 as a young chartered accountant (CA) and then he and his original partner Dave Nowosad (now retired) were articling students for another firm in Campbell River and decided they wanted to venture out on their own.
“We were both young CAs then,” Chan said.
Early on they acted on their belief in mentoring your own talent.
“I just want the opportunity for all the young people,” Chan said.
Chan and Nowosad realized early on that they’re not like a large accounting firm in the Lower Mainland which can draw on a constant supply of local accounting students being produced by universities like UBC and SFU. North Island College has developed a strong program that has taken on that role on the North Island over the last five years or so, he said. But, in the past, in order to build a strong team, they focused on developing staff internally.
Examples of that exist in the firm’s current partners. Shelly Boates and Karen Stewart started out with the company as administrative staff and were encouraged to get their Chartered Accountant designation.
CNB’s partners consist of Chan, Boates, Stewart and Erica Chan-Lafrance and Derek Lamb.
Chan encouraged Boates and Stewart and other former staff to pursue their professional development.
“To John’s credit, (he) mentored them, pushed them to get their CA designations,” partner Derek Lamb said.
“John, for me was the driving force. He was always supportive and always encouraging and never so much a dictator or anything like that. You just always felt supported,” Stewart said. “For me, they gave me lots of opportunities. Yeah, I started out as a receptionist.”
But she was always encouraged to take on more and more responsibility.
“I just kind of grew,” she said.
And, of course, that second wave of partners continued the original partners’ philosophy.
Chan-Lafrance credited Boates, in particular, for furthering the idea that it’s important for a company to give back to its community.
“Whenever we’re looking to add somebody to our team one of the things we look at is, one, are you willing to learn, are you willing to grow – which is John’s thing – and two, do you share the same passion that we have that, if you want to succeed in the community, you need to make the community better?” Chan-Lafrance said. “You can do anything but if you don’t make the community that you live in, that you work in, better how do you grow your business in the community?”
And CNB is known for giving back to the community. Since opening their doors in 1983, the company has consistently given back to the community in several ways including monetary donations, holding free tax return preparation clinics and providing their expertise and time to many non-profit organizations.
CNB team members are actively involved in 25 different board director positions in the community and have donated over $230,000 to different charities and non-profits in the community.
CNB’s contributions over the years are too numerous to list here. Visit their website (channnowosadboates.ca) to see how much.
Lamb is an example of the different ways the company can contribute beyond even donations.
He was responsible for organizing and leading an appeal to the Tax Court of Canada that resulted in a settlement for more than 40 First Nation fishermen and women that found their fishing activities to be tax exempt.
“That’s something we’re proud of,” Lamb said.
In addition to the original partners’ philosophy, Lamb adds the company makes a commitment to its clients and brings it back to a personal level.
“You have to provide service to people as you expect it to be provided to you,” Lamb said.
As the company continues into the future, the original partners’ philosophy is strongly entrenched in the current generation.
“The future is depending on the young guys,” Chan said.
They do it all
As an accounting firm, they do it all:
- Personal & Corporate Tax Services
- Notice to Reader Financial Statements
- Estate Planning & Year of Death Tax Returns
- U.S. Tax Services & Consulting
- Audit & Other Assurance
- Family Trust Planning & Trust Tax Returns
- GST & PST Advisory Services
- Business Advisory, Consultation and Valuation Services
- Bookkeeping & Payroll Services