At THE HATCHERY, we do our best to help new business ‘hatchlings’ reach the ocean. While you may have aspirations to become a ‘unicorn’ or perhaps just a medium-sized business, we’ll try and help you survive long enough to at least reach the ocean.

We are actively looking for accountants, accounting technicians, commercial lawyers, paralegals, web designers, and others, who share our respect for, and commitment to businesses just starting out.

As the ‘founder’ of THE HATCHERY, I am focused on technology startups – most often in the software space. As a human being and not just an accountant, I am aware that success is not simply measured in terms of money.

Government agencies (like STATISTICS CANADA) speak disparagingly of ‘micro-businesses’ with 4 or fewer employees, and typically exclude the self-employed from definitions of businesses (they speak of ‘employer businesses’). Yet these days there are about 3 million self-employed Canadians working without paid help.

Investors are looking for growth businesses and dismiss ‘lifestyle companies’. Yet most of us work or have businesses to support a lifestyle. And that’s as it should be!

Canada’s businesses are overwhelmingly small. 91.8% of our almost 4 million businesses have 9 or fewer employees – more than 3.3 million have 4 or fewer employees.

Statistics Canada refers rather disparagingly to these as ‘micro businesses’. Yet, taken together these very small firms (4 or fewer employees) provide about one quarter of all private sector jobs in Canada.

These 3.3 businesses million include technology start-ups, early-stage companies and the ‘lifestyle’ businesses that provide their owners with a way to exercise better control over their work and life.

THE HATCHERY was conceived of as a kind of ‘dating service’ between accounting students trying to learn their trade and the small businesses that need cost-effective tax and regulatory compliance services.

If you prefer, think “Uber” for accounting technicians.

More than half of Canada’s 16 thousand plus CPAs are sole practitioners.

They are the accounting equivalent of family doctors, serving Canada’s small business sector’s tax and regulatory compliance needs. Like our family doctors, they are being squeezed and are starting to ‘age out’.

While Canada’s tax laws are massively complex – no single person understands them all – our smallest businesses rely extensively on their ‘family doctors’ to get them through the year. They need help to compile financial statements and file their taxes.

According to Industry Canada, the most profitable of these small CPA firms have no staff, paying less than $4 thousand per year on labour. Fully 3 quarters of these paid less than $22 thousand on staff in 2019.

[1] Once established, a self-employed Business Analyst Technician should earn an income similar to the median income of financial auditors and accountants (CPAs) working in public practice – about $60 thousand per year.

[2] For accounting students, the alternative is to pay about $35 thousand in tuition and defer their income earning for 4 years. Once employed they will work in an industry whose leadership has negotiated exemptions from provincial employment standards in most provinces.

Rob Farrow, CPA, CGA,
Executive Director, The Small Business Analysts Society of Canada

There are technical reasons for this. If you’re interested, we invite you to go to the SMALL BUSINESS ANALYSTS SOCIETY OF CANADA website and download our white paper – RE-IMAGINING ACCOUNTING.

The HATCHERY is a kind of ‘incubator’ for accounting technicians in the accounting services industry. It was launched in 2022 to deliver on-the-job training for interns in our BUSINESS ANALYST TECHNICIAN (the “B.A.T.”) program. Our paid interns earn modest incomes[1] working as ‘self-employed bookkeepers and accounting technicians’ for Canada’s smallest businesses[2].

B.A.T. interns work under the supervision of professional members – CPAs and SMALL BUSINESS ANALYSTS – and together they deliver high-quality year-end accounting work at a reasonable cost.

We developed and copyrighted our CLOUDWARE© business system to ensure that ‘write-up’, ‘working papers’, and document management can be done well, remotely. Most important the work can be readily shared with a professional accountant filing tax returns and financial statements for small businesses.

In a study released in 2010 by Statistics Canada nicknamed the “Paperwork Study”, the cost per employee of regulatory compliance was 9 or 10 times that of the cost for our largest businesses. That number increased between 2005 and 2008 and we believe that disparity is still increasing today