MRSB Group's Founding Partner, Shaun MacIsaac reflects on this week's celebration of small businesses
At MRSB Group we have been taking part in Small Business Week for a number of years, and this event never fails to pique our interest. It is the spirit of entrepreneurship and opportunity that resonates during the week’s events, and I am reminded of just how much our province has given to us as a group of entrepreneurs.
Like many Canadian businesses, our beginnings were modest. In 1977 my practice was Shaun MacIsaac, Chartered Accountant. I had a small office in Charlottetown and no partners or staff, but a small number of clients who valued my services and kept me going into my second year.
By 1981 we were MacIsaac & Younker Chartered Accountants and I was happy to have Colin Younker as my first business partner. Colin eventually went on to serve a term as Auditor General for Prince Edward Island, and I’m happy to say he is now back with us as a Senior Tax Advisor.
Between 1992 and 2006 we achieved many milestones, including the addition of four new partners, the launch of divisions in Tax, Consulting, Mergers & Acquisitions and Valuation & Litigation Support, and more than one change in location. We have been at our Queen Street address since 2004 and I love the bustle and energy that comes with being downtown, at the very center of our beautiful city.
What has always mattered most to us are our clients. I think the way we treat those we work with is a direct reflection on how we operate as a company – with respect, professionalism and an eye to the future of the business. These are the values that have driven us to succeed all these years, and which will ensure we don’t slow down anytime soon.
As we prepare our corporate booth at this year’s Biz2Biz Expo at the Charlottetown Civic Center, I will be thinking of all individuals and local businesses – large and small - who gave us their support and allowed us to transition into the team of trusted advisors we are today. For those of you just starting out in business, keep your head up, work hard and never forget the people who help and support you in reaching your goals.
“My fastest marathon to date is 2:54, but as I get older I think, ‘I haven’t run my fastest yet’. There aren’t many sports you can still improve your results at my age.” So says 40 year-old Chris Matters, who will be running the MRSB Marathon for the eighth consecutive year and has no plans of ending this streak anytime soon. President of Llink Corporation and a Principal with both MRSB Consulting Services and MRSB Mergers & Acquisitions, Chris says a demanding work schedule is partly what got him running in the first place.
“When you travel a lot you don’t always have time to look after your health. At the beginning, running was a way to keep fit while on the road. I soon realized that you are happier in all aspects of life and it promotes good sleep and makes you more alive both at home and work.”
When he began running in 2005 Chris was 232 pounds, about 60 pounds over his ideal weight, and was planning for his upcoming wedding, so he had plenty of reasons to get motivated. The Deltaware 5k run was his first official race in 2006 and that same year he signed up for the full marathon in PEI. It was a big challenge, but Chris says he remembers meeting fellow first-timer Edwin Gillis who shared his pace, and his pain, throughout the race. “It’s a good pain. It’s worth it!” says Chris. He and Gillis are friends to this day.
As the saying goes, ‘the shoe fit’, and soon Chris was increasing his time, speed and endurance. Within two years he had lost 62 pounds. His next goal was to compete in the Boston Marathon, for which the PEI Marathon is a qualifier. It took two more years, but Chris got his time down to 3:05, allowing him to register in 2009. He has since run in the 2011 and 2013 Boston Marathons, among others, totalling 16 marathons to date.
Of course, this year brought unexpected tragedy to Boston’s annual event. Luckily, both Chris and his wife Marie-Helen, who was there to give him support during the race, were safely removed from the scene by the time the attacks took place. Even so, Chris says that day had an impact on him. After he returned home and had processed the events in Boston, Chris decided he didn’t want to be an idle observer. Wanting to reach out to the City of Boston and the families affected, on behalf of Llink he donated $500 US to the One Fund Boston fundraising effort that gave the proceeds to families directly affected by the tragedy. “I’ve already signed up for next year, to support the people of Boston and the spirit of the Marathon.”
Now, this traveling man-turned-road racer can’t imagine life without his running shoes. He still finds time to limber up and run up to six times per week, either along Victoria Park’s scenic boardwalk or whichever European city his business travel takes him.
Closer to home, the Prince Edward Island Marathon has always been close to Chris’ heart since that first event. “I’ve never heard anyone be anything but positive. It’s my hometown, so I enjoy taking part with local runners and people I know. It’s also great for your family and friends to be there at the finish line cheering you on.”
We wish Chris and all runners the best of luck as they participate in the 10th anniversary of the Prince Edward Island Marathon this weekend.
Sage 50 Accounting recently announced some changes in light of their October 2013 release that will likely have implications for all users of the software. Note that in order to take advantage of the new release, you will need to have installed the Product Update 2013.3 released in June.
First, users will be offered more frequent product releases. There will be three: October, December and June. These releases may include new products, product enhancements or issue resolution. The December and June releases will have payroll updates as before. And make sure that your Business Care subscription is current, otherwise these releases won’t be made available to you.
If you are upgrading from Sage 50 2013 Release 3, you subscribe to Sage Business Care and are online, product updates will automatically download while you work. You no longer need to enter a key code or serial number to update, and the file sizes are also smaller to make for a faster process.
The company has also updated their Sage 50 Accounting database to MYSQL 5.6.10, with the promise of providing increased stability and peace of mind as you grow your business.
The October release introduces a new technology, Sage Advisor, which is meant to help users better utilize the software. You will receive brief messages and guidance relevant to your actions within Sage 50, and you can control their frequency via the customer interface.
Finally, new monthly subscription pricing options are available, rather than the standard annual purchase of the software.
Visit www.sage50accounting.ca for more information.
The Prince Edward Island Marathon is only a few short weeks away and as a race category sponsor we are gearing up for another weekend of fitness-focused fun. Seeing as its also the Marathon's 10th anniversary we thought we'd celebrate by sharing some stories around our involvement over the years and fill you in on this year's MRSB team. We hope you're as excited as we are to don your runners and support this great event!
The story of our first Corporate Relay team
MRSB Group has been participating in the PEI Marathon since 2007 and has been a race category sponsor since 2009. It is a point of pride that we always manage to pull together a great group to run, walk, volunteer or just give some support along the routes.
In 2007 we launched our very first corporate relay team. Actually, it ended up being two teams since the first was hand-picked by a Partner (who shall remain unnamed!) and the other was made up of staff who actually volunteered to participate once a signup sheet was hastily made available. The stacked team took on the name The MRSB Running Totals (otherwise known as 'the competitive team') and our second team, The MRSB Write-Offs, did everything in their power to train up and beat them come race day.
Well, Sunday came and by the time the final runners set out on their routes they were neck and neck. Both teams gave it all they had, but the Running Totals had the final glory, coming in at 3:33:28. What was the Write-Offs' time? A nail-bitingly close 3:33:36 - what a race!
Since that memorable first year, we've had at least one corporate relay team each year, along with runners and walkers in the full marathon, half marathon and pretty much every other event. Every year is just as exciting as the first, as each new team prepares to support one of PEI's most popular annual events.
This year's MRSB Corporate Relay Team
This year we will have eight staff lacing up and working together to complete the course, which gives participants a close-up view of some of the Island's most picturesque locales.
Here's our team...