Freelance writer Cherine Hlady interviews QuickBooks Online guru, Brad Celmainis on how he’s become a trusted advisor, empowering his clients with tailored technology and tools.

Brad Celmainis, a Calgary-based chartered accountant who works with executives at small-to-medium-sized privately-held companies, says he sees two types of clients in his consulting practice: Those who want financial help, and those who want just enough guidance and tools to be empowered to do it themselves.

It’s this second type of client Brad finds most exciting. “I’m known for giving tough love, and the clients I work with generally need to be somewhat receptive to what I have to say, which might mean making changes based on my recommendations.”

A lot of accountants can baffle their clients with bullshit – throwing out lingo and terminology they don’t understand. In turn, the client becomes dependent on the accountant, believing the accounting world too complex for them to understand.
Brad Celmainis, C A, President Brad Celmainis Accounting Solutions

So many business owners are great marketers, Brad believes, but not as strong at accounting and running their business as effectively as they could. He sees his job as explaining to his clients – in plain English, and in the simplest terms possible – what the numbers mean and how to achieve better results.

“A lot of accountants can baffle their clients with bullshit – throwing out lingo and terminology they don’t understand. In turn, the client becomes dependent on the accountant, believing the accounting world too complex for them to understand.”

Technology, Brad says, can help. He sees a big part of his job as introducing clients to these applications, helping them along the road to helping themselves, and tailoring the technology to client needs. chata.ai, for

example can help business owners ask questions about their business using their own words, eliminating the need to know how to use exactly the right search terms or to sort through and understand detailed financial reports.

Beyond complicated language and reports, Brad believes cash flow and understanding cash flow is another big pain point for his clients.

“Often business owners don’t know their numbers well enough so don’t know what they really need – cash-wise – from month to month, or even day-to-day. They need to stay in touch with real-time data to help them manage their cash effectively.” 

He recalls one client who wasn’t on top of average days to pay and so didn’t realize that a part of his cash flow woes was due to a major client not paying invoices in a timely manner. ‘I always knew they screwed me!’ said Brad’s client when he helped him identify the source of the problem, ‘But I couldn’t prove it!”

A tool like chata.ai, Brad says, would have been very useful in this case. His client could have had access to this information within seconds.

Often business owners don’t know their numbers well enough so don’t know what they really need – cash-wise – from month to month, or even day-to-day
Brad Celmainis, CA, President Brad Celmainis Accounting Solutions

“I’m in this because I love seeing my clients succeed and to have been a party to their success. The numbers reveal the truth, and I want to help them access and find the value in that information.”

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Cherine Hlady

Author Cherine Hlady

Cherine Hlady is a freelance writer, editor and communications strategist. She develops and edits content – across a variety of print and digital mediums – for clients primarily in the high tech, government and not-for-profit sectors. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and two young children.

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