Pipestone Accounting Services Ltd. is open for business in Grenfell, offering tax planning, including financial statements and tax returns for individuals and corporations as well as asset planning among other services.
“I specialize in tax planning for the sale of farms, ranches and small businesses and believe that tax can be minimized on the sale of assets if proper planning is done,” said owner Patty Cole.
Pipestone Accounting Services Ltd., located on Desmond Street in the building previously home to Classic Dimensions, officially opened on March 28 and held their open house on April 7. Guests were treated to free coffee, homemade cake and all the information they wanted to know about the new company.
“The response has been really good, for our first week,” Cole said. “A lot of different work has come in the door.”
Cole moved to Grenfell from Leader in July of 2009 with her husband Mel, who grew up in Grenfell, and her children, Tyler and Nicole Pederson.
“Mel and I were planning to move to Grenfell when we retired, but the move came sooner than originally planned,” Cole said.
After resigning as manager and accountant for a gas and oil company in September of 2009, Cole worked in town with the school as an EA, and then worked with QMAC Ventures. Once her contract ran out in January of 2011, she decided it was time to get her accounting company off the ground, and when the Classic Dimensions building went up for sale she jumped at the opportunity to take it to the next level. Renovations began in mid-March, and just a couple of short weeks later it all was up and running.
“I think we’ll do well,” Cole said. “We fill the niche market between a bookkeeper and a CA firm, so we can do a lot of things.”
Cole has been a bookkeeper for almost thirty years, and an accountant for twenty, and also owned a financial planning firm in Saskatoon prior to starting a public practice with her sister in Leader, where she was completing 500 tax returns a year and working with 50 corporate clients.
“A lot of that planning background is coming out in the accounting. If you sell a farm and don’t plan for it, you’re going to pay a lot more tax,” Cole said.
She has also been a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Accountants for about ten years.
“That gives you the connections for difficult cases, or if you need an idea you just phone up one of the associate members and get an idea of what they’re thinking, if they’ve run into that situation,” Cole explained.
Cole feels she goes above and beyond, and takes that extra step that clients need to save as much money as possible, related the story of one client in Maple Creek who had sold his ranch.
“His first accountant that he was dealing with told him that he was going to pay $70,000 in tax. After we did the planning and did some things to eliminate some tax, he ended up paying $12,000. So it pays to do the planning, and my goal is to help people save tax.”
She also had a client who was disabled, and wasn’t aware of the tax credits he was entitled to.
“He could hardly walk to his car, but the accountant he was using never filed a disability credit for him. After I was done going back seven years, he received a cheque for about $15,000,” Cole explained. “It’s just a matter of letting somebody that has the knowledge to be able to work with the numbers come up with a plan. If you can do that, you’ll save money.”
Another extra step she takes is to save individuals as much as possible on their taxes without forcing them to convert into a corporation if they don’t wish to do so.
“A lot of accountants like to do it because then there’s more work to do with it, but there are other ways you can do it that eliminate that step and still get you the tax savings.
“I guess I just spend a little extra time to make sure that things are done right. I think helping people and getting money back and the look on people’s faces when you tell them they’re eligible for this or they can deduct that and just educating people – I think that’s been the best part.”
So far, Pipestone has employed one staff member, Wendy Schlamp, who has been hired as a part-time administrator, and Cole hopes to be able to hire more employees in the near future. Danny Hoffman and Patty Welch of Investors Group have also rented an office space in the building and will be working out of it one of two days a week.
“There’s lots of room for expansion and growth,” she said. “We’re definitely looking for clients. We’d really like to get involved in the community and be able to hire three or four people.”
She understands, however, that building a solid cliental takes time and patience.
“People have to get to know you in order to build that relationship and for clients to trust you. A lot of that is just word of mouth, so it’s just waiting and seeing.”
Cole’s main goal is simply to save her clients as much money as possible.
“I enjoy helping people. It always makes me happy when I can put a smile on someone’s face – get them a tax return they weren’t expecting or solve their problems. I guess that’s really what I do is solve clients’ problems.”