Published On: Mon, Aug 14th, 2017

How LaMar Van Dusen Wants To Make Business Easier for Small Businesses

Canada’s small businesses face any number of challenges just to survive, much less thrive. The statistics can be daunting. Thirty percent of businesses don’t make it past two years, and only half make it to five years. Getting financing alone can be a problem, leading some 80 percent of startups to have used personal financing to get up and running.  

photo/ Gerd Altmann

It takes the right kind of guidance, support and resources to make it, the kind many small companies hope to get from their advisors on the financial front — the accountants and bookkeepers who do the books, taxes, payroll, etc. They don’t necessarily do it all, however, even though serving as a one-stop shop can create better efficiencies and access for everyone.

It was that kind of thinking that was the basis for LaMar Van Dusen’s Phoenix Management. His approach to making it work has not only set his Mississauga, Ontario firm apart from the pack, but is playing a small role in the overall disruption of the accounting business.

Phoenix Management provides a complete range of services to support Ontario businesses. It starts with accounting, including tax work and bookkeeping, but the company also helps clients with business and marketing planning and also helping them position themselves and apply for the kind of financing it will take to make their plans a reality.

Importantly, LaMar Van Dusen and Phoenix Management has up-ended the local accounting community, while solidifying client loyalty, by initiating a unique flat-fee system for his firm’s accounting and bookkeeping services. The monthly fee is established according to client company size, starting at $150 for sole proprietors and up to $500 for those businesses with five-plus employees and revenues surpassing $600,000.  

Accountants typically bill hourly.

“Our goal has been to make things more simple for small business owners,” Van Dusen explains. “It’s worked.”

If clients are confident that their books are balanced and tax payments made, they have fewer distractions from the business at hand — which is running it on a day to day basis, Van Dusen has found. But, it also leaves an opening for him to capitalize on another trend that’s disrupting the traditional accounting industry: Small and medium-sized business owners’ enormous appetite for high-level advisory services, beyond bookkeeping, taxes and compliance.

That is what’s been behind Van Dusen’s value-added offerings of business planning and consulting on financing. “When everything’s brought together, it’s allowed us to better understand our clients’ issues and needs and customize solutions to help them succeed,” he said.  “Personalization and ease of use are key, and our flat-fee model in many ways has made it possible.”

Ultimately, the total Phoenix Management package is designed to remove a lot of the guesswork for people who may have a great business ideas, but also might need a little help with the tools it takes to get them executed.

“We want to take away stress for business owners, not create more of it. And if we can remove the complications while we’re at it, all the better,” LaMar Van Dusen adds.

Author: Nichole League


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