“When a company invests in employee training and development, employees feel valued and appreciated. I am thrilled to offer extra learning opportunities to my employees through the Knowledge Bureau,” says Wayne Blackmere, DFA - Tax Services Specialist and Liberty Tax Franchise Owner.
Wayne shared how his Knowledge Bureau educational story started: “I am a franchisee with Liberty Tax Service, and I operate two full-time, year-round tax offices, one in Orangeville and one in Bolton, Ontario. As a group, Liberty Tax Service became involved with the Knowledge Bureau a few years ago because we were looking for a way to educate ourselves and our staff. Education and professional development are incredibly important to our organization, but we’re generally not in the training business … we are in the tax preparation business. Thus our partnership with Knowledge Bureau, because that’s exactly what they do.”
He has encouraged his staff to enhance their own education: “Every tax preparer in my small company now has completed more than one Knowledge Bureau certificate course, and our receptionists, too, have completed the entry-level certificate course. I am proud to say that I have achieved the DFA-Tax Services Specialist Designation, and most of my staff are well on their way to either a diploma or a designation.”
He believes in the importance of investing in education for his employees: “I now offer my year-round staff and returning seasonal staff at least one Knowledge Bureau course at my expense each year. It’s not a requirement that they take these extra courses, but I’m incredibly fortunate to have great staff members. Everyone who works for me is eager to learn and develop skills. I’m thrilled to offer an extra learning opportunity to them through Knowledge Bureau. I know employees are my company’s most important asset!”
He expanded on how education has helped his business operate smoothly: “The extra ability that exists in our offices due to these higher-level courses means our staff is generally more confident with clients, and I’m happier because they can increasingly handle a much greater number of returns without me personally being involved in the tax return preparation.”
He also provided further insight to the following questions:
Why did you decide to take KB courses?
“I chose Knowledge Bureau because the course selection goes beyond just the basic. You can learn (or get a refresher) on topics that range from beginner to advanced levels.”
What did you find difficult?
“I personally found the ‘Death of a Taxpayer’ course to be the most difficult one to date. I quickly learned that I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know. But I also found it to be the most rewarding course for me personally — not only because of the course content and the fact that I felt I was learning something, but also because it quickly turned into extra income. We now have a couple of lawyers who specifically refer to us because they have seen a level of quality in deceased/estate tax filing from our offices that other local accountants don’t seem to be offering. Thanks to the Knowledge Bureau course, we are now regularly filing ‘Rights or Things’ tax returns, T1 Finals and T3 returns, which command higher fees ... and I’ve found that when someone’s lawyer refers our office, we often gain the future business of the executors and the families of the executors.”
How did you feel when taking the courses?
“For the most part, I felt challenged by the material and I generally feel that you have to really pay attention when answering questions so you don’t get fooled. That’s not such a terrible thing! It makes you read and re-read and be sure of the question before choosing an answer, simulating the experience you would have with your clients.”
Were you happy with the outcomes?
“A resounding ‘Yes!’ And we will continue to make Knowledge Bureau courses available for all staff members.”
What are your future goals?
“I want to continue to expand my business, both in terms of number of tax returns filed and profitability. I feel that with the amazing staff I already have, we can add more clients AND continue to provide excellent, high-quality service in my two offices. And by adding a couple of rookies to the mix, I can continue the growth of my offices.”
Wayne’s glimpse of wisdom for our readers: “In order to keep growing in a sustainable way, I need to keep a great group of people working for me and continue to help grow their knowledge and abilities. Employees won’t always stay forever (unfortunately), and so I feel we want to keep educating our staff at every level so if someone leaves, someone else is ready and willing to step in. So to keep growing, I really feel we need to keep investing heavily in the knowledge and ability within our little company.”
Interview by Nancy Folliott, Assistant Manager of Publishing for Knowledge Bureau
Additional educational resources: If Wayne’s comments about the “Death of a Taxpayer” course piqued your interest and you’re looking to become a sought-after specialist in this area, check it out by taking a free trial!
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