At SBA CANADA we’re looking to address the looming shortage of accountants and accounting technicians by re-configuring the educational and training requirements to align better with the needs of small businesses.
We believe it’s important to provide more on-the-job and co-op training. Allowing for online and self-study options – particularly for those in smaller communities or adults transitioning to a second career, is the right thing to do.
In our view the CHARTERED PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANT’S program in Canada has followed the lead of both the legal profession and the medical profession in becoming less relevant in relation to the needs of society as a whole.
So in 2022 we will launch the BUSINESS ANALYST TECHNICIAN program to address the need for skilled, entry-level accounting technicians and bookkeepers.
A little over a year later in the fall of 2023, we will launch the SMALL BUSINESS ANALYST professional program, for B.A.T. certificate holders to continue their professional development and advance in their careers.
The SBA designation will allow graduates to supervise B.A.T. certificate holders and work independently in public accounting, or in collaboration with CPAs in practice.
The B.A.T. program will require 1 year experience in public accounting and the successful completion of all 5 courses.
The S.B.A. program will require an additional 7 courses and 2 years of practical experience.
ETHICS & PROFESSIONALISM
In Canada the professions are allegedly held to a higher standard of ethical behaviour. In return each is granted a monopoly to perform certain types of services. While it may not actually be possible to “teach” ethical behaviour, in this course we intend to examine possible ethical failings in business and the professions, as well as within our public sector. The hope is that graduates will be more likely to act ethically in their own careers.
In the 19th century, colleges and universities prepared ‘young men of quality’ to assume their rightful place in 19th century society. The role of higher education was to help them “arrange the furniture of the mind”. It could be argued that back then, the colleges were the equivalent of finishing schools for young men of “quality”.
In the 20th century the universities ‘pivoted’ to become more practical – some might say almost vocational. This had the effect of increasing enrolment – particularly in Canada which has one of the highest enrolment rates in university of any country in the world according to OECD statistics.
Unfortunately, this has not resulted in the increase in productivity we were led to believe it would. Business programs have the highest enrolment rates of any faculty.
Some could argue that today, business school functions to some extent as a finishing school for a particular kind of business-centric ideology. Our intent here is to develop a certain skepticism in students and provide them with the ability to think critically, identify bias and challenge their own assumptions.
For small businesses in a world driven by data, statistics – particularly those developed by government agencies, without too much ‘skin in the game’ – help to level the playing when they compete with larger and more established businesses.
Traditionally university students have studied statistics with a view to make them understand how they’re developed.
Our intention is to learn rudimentary concepts and use statistics in a more practical sense to better understand:
CANADIAN INCOME TAX
Professional accountants servicing small business are valued primarily for their tax knowledge.
Within the world of income tax there are many industry specialties that will be developed by practitioners as they progress in their careers. The income tax course is designed to give graduates a rudimentary knowledge upon which to build their professional expertise.
We will work with graduates and educators to build a continuing professional development program for “lifelong learning”.
MONEY: RISK & RETURN
Financial accountants and auditors are primarily focused on presenting and reporting on the accuracy of historical results. To some extent accounting technicians and bookkeepers have a more immediate focus on the present with the handling of receipts and payments and the management of assets and current liabilities.
Management is by its very nature more forward-looking. Managers must keep one eye on the past. But that is primarily to help predict and shape the future.
For early-stage and growth businesses, managing cash is a key priority. Management accounting helps managers project future cash flows and budget for future expenditures.
Current operations can help managers diagnose issues. The appropriate indicators need to be identified soon enough to allow management to remediate problems or seize opportunities as they arise.
Managers must also be aware of the kinds of money available, and the costs of obtaining it. The higher the risk, the higher the return required to maintain liquidity.
COSTING & MANAGEMENT
In today’s complex world small businesses must be able to adequately allocate the costs of providing goods and services to their customers. Project or job costing, and time and billing systems must be acquired or built to meet the specific needs of each particular businesses.
In the case of early-stage companies launching new products or services, this is especially challenging. The uncertainty with respect to timelines to develop deliverables presents one set of problems.
What’s more, the need to “pivot” in response to customer feedback, adds to the complication.
The development of management information systems requires collaboration between management accountants and information technology (or IT) specialists.
Accountants understand the information needs, while IT specialists are typically better at understanding how to acquire, implement and maintain the systems.
In a small business setting this typically means acquiring software applications that already exist. Inevitably this will require professional judgement as to how to configure, and when to compromise.
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