Accountancy Tamer competes on price
Giles Belfrage loves numbers and order, which makes him ideal for helping business owners sort their accounts.
A year ago he started Accountancy Tamer, a business that teaches people how to do their accounts, offers Quick Books software training, or will do their accounting for them, if that is their preference.
"One of my clients runs a restaurant," he said. "She just wants me to do the books while she cooks. One guy called me the other day. He is the manager of a business and wants me to teach him about accounting so he can understand what his staff are doing."
He said a big advantage of using Accountancy Tamer, as opposed to a big accounting firm in town, is price.
"I cost a lot less than they do," he said.
He thinks he is the only accounting tutor on the island, and the only one who does hands-on Quick Books training.
“I have four active clients and about 15 inactive ones,” he said.
He likes dealing with smaller clients because there is "instant gratification" when their accounts are sorted.
"Whereas if you give me something that is in a heck of a mess and it is a three month assignment it is not nearly so attractive," he said.
But he will happily do it.
Since starting the business in June 2019, building his client load has been slow going.
By day he works as a paraeducator in a primary school. He works with a six year old boy with autism. He loves that his client adds numbers in his head, the same way he does.
"I get a lot of appreciation from the students I work with as a paraeducator," he said. "I think I am motivated by appreciation."
But as far as his adult accounting students go they are not always thankful. Some clients want his help, but are uninterested in learning a new method of doing things. Others they think their accounts will take just a moment to sort out, when in fact, they are several years behind.
Mr Belfrage sees a lot of business owners who do not understand basic accounting principles.
One client, for example, wrote his equity on the left side of the balance sheet instead of the right.
"That was definitely wrong," he said. "It makes a difference. It suggested to me that all his double entry bookkeeping was wrong."
Mr Belfrage came to Bermuda from Guildford, Surrey, England in 1980 to work for his uncle, John Burland, who ran Burland Conyers and Marirea.
"I was 20 when I came here," Mr Belfrage said. "I worked for my uncle for five years. I had the option of cutting up wood and doing carpentry jobs or helping with the paperwork in the office."
He chose the office.
"The paperwork was job cards and lists of materials and labour charges," he said. "That was my first exposure to accounting."
He woke up one morning and decided accounting was what he wanted to do in life.
"I started pestering various accounting firms, as you do at that age," Mr Belfrage said.
He studied accounting in Bermuda and qualified as an accountant through the Society of Management Accountants of Canada in 1996.
One of his first jobs was at the Bank of Butterfield in investment accounting.
"We were under a lot of pressure to get the stuff out on time and to get it out accurately," he said. "I managed to do that for about 13 years and then moved over to the complaints department and tried to get all the complaints down to a reasonable level."
After a wave of layoffs in 2008, he went to the Bermuda College to help them get caught up with their accounts. He ended up teaching evening accounting courses there for two years.
As a teacher he made sure his students were keeping up with the material. If they were having difficulty he would tutor them personally.
"It worked out that I taught 50 people there and tutored about 20 people," he said.
For more information see https://accountancytaming.com, see them on Facebook under Accountancy Taming, call 703-5958 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.