In August 2016, a small group of accountants from SBLR LLP – a Toronto-based CPA that had in 2013 become part of one of the largest independent accounting and consulting firms in Canada – decided to part ways with the larger group and re-establish the original company.
As part of the agreement, they took with them long-standing clients worth CAN$3.5m of annual fees, 18 employees, most of whom were fee-earners, and some laptops and computers borrowed from their previous employer.
They were ambitious and starting fresh. But the high pressure of tax season would start in five short months, and with no IT infrastructure and limited IT skills and resource, they had to extract all their clients’ data from the group’s systems and secure it in their own environment – and all the while, maintain excellent service and repay their clients’ trust in them during the move.
This new environment was to be built entirely from scratch. Though despite the time pressure and the size of the challenge, SBLR saw it as a rare opportunity. They could create a modern, “cloud first” infrastructure, unencumbered by legacy systems or hardware and that had agility, flexibility and cost-efficiency built into it from the very start.