Records Management Analyst 

Training for Freelancers, Small Teams + CPA Firms

Since 2012 we’ve been developing the capabilities to collaborate with CPAs in the Philippines and small business clients in British Columbia. We needed to experiment with tools, to develop processes that make collaboration easier in order to provide practical, hands-on training that was relevant , both to staff and to our clients.

While our partners started out dealing with issues around staffing and collaboration for our own small CPA firm, our experimentation took us further than we expected. As CPAs we already knew that businesses had different accounting & finance needs – and different capabilities – as they grew. When we studied the statistical makeup of small business we discovered that most were much smaller than we’d been led to believe.

51% of Private Sector Employees Work for Companies with Fewer than 50 Employees

In order to understand the needs of small business, it’s critical to understand just how small, most small businesses really are. That’s why we developed our own in-house training to understand the makeup – in terms of size – of Canada’s small businesses. We found for example that more than 50% of those working in the private sector, worked in businesses with fewer than 50 employees. In fact about 33% work for companies with fewer than 20 employees.

That percentage ignores the more than 2.6 million Canadians that are self-employed.

How Big Are Canada’s 1.2 Million Small Businesses?

In fact – of Canada’s roughly 1.2 million employer businesses of all sizes – more than 95% average only about 5 employees – and that’s is only if we ignore the self-employed. The self-employed themselves account for about 2.6 million of all 3.8 million firms. What we learned had relevance for ourselves and our clients in:

3 key areas:

  • Accounting & Finance

  • IT & Records Management

  • Marketing & Communications


As a small CPA firm in public practice, we were expected to provide training in assurance (i.e. Reviews & Audits) to our students. However our clients simply don’t require assurance work – they’re just too small. The result is that most small public accounting firms don’t actually have students – and the principals end up doing too much bookkeeping themselves. So we developed our own RMA training program (RECORDS MANAGEMENT ANALYST) to align better with our own internal needs, and those of our small business clients.

Training That Meets the Needs of Small Business & their Advisors


The principle is best exemplified by the story of Kelly Johnson in about 1960, handing a team
of Lockheed Skunk Works design engineers a handful of tools, with the challenge that the jet
aircraft they were designing must be repairable by an average mechanic in the field under
combat conditions with only these tools.

Hence, the “stupid” refers to the relationship between the way things break and the sophistication
available to repair them.

The acronym has been used by many in the U.S. military, especially the U.S. Navy and
United States Air Force, and in the field of software development.

We set about developing relevant training in tax compliance, information systems and marketing communications and design. This isn’t academic training. We’ve learned at least as much from our clients, each other and our struggles with technology, than we have from years of mandatory professional development courses…