It was 76,000 years ago that early humans attempted the first organization of information – with a series of orderly engravings on a wall of the Blombos Cave in South Africa. Archaeologists trace the first accounting records to 7,000 years ago, when ancient Mesopotamians kept track of the growth of their crops. In the years since then, it’s safe to say that bookkeeping has evolved from a novelty practiced by only the smarter cavemen to a worldwide industry, catering to businesses both large and small. Now, two Waterloo Region bookkeeping services have merged in Elmira to continue an age-old tradition decidedly closer to home.
At the start of the year, Elmira’s Tim and Cynthia Taylor (formerly the head honchos of Advantage Bookkeeping) officially merged with New Hamburg’s Mike Gerber (who ran MG Accounting) to form Taylor, Gerber & Associates Ltd.
For the Taylors – already bookkeeping veterans in Elmira – Advantage Bookkeeping had been something of a family affair.“Cynthia started the business six years ago, and I joined her two or three years ago,” said Tim Taylor of his wife and business partner. They had already been married several years before the business began, and Tim came onboard two years after the start of the business. “She was looking to hire, and I was looking for a new job.”
He continued, “Cynthia is the reason we decided to start the business. Cynthia was working as a bookkeeper, and she was getting to the point where she was pretty much looking after everything relating to her business anyway. So we said, ‘You know what? It makes sense for you to go out on your own.’”
Prior to bookkeeping, Tim Taylor worked as a part-time mechanic, and if you think the career path of mechanic to accountanting is unlikely, you might be surprised. “It actually does tie together,” said Tim Taylor. “Mechanics have to figure things out and see how things work, and accounting works exactly the same way. The thinking runs along the same lines.”
Operating their business, the Taylors found Woolwich to be a comfortable location, even during the financial collapse of 2008, which had little significant impact on them. “We service mostly smaller or medium-sized businesses,” said Taylor. “It didn’t affect us in the way it would have a financial advisor.”
For all these years, Tim and Cynthia Taylor operated Advantage Bookkeeping out of their Woolwich home. In September, they were approached by Mike Gerber, who was also home-based in New Hamburg. “I have a lot of clients in the township area, and I was up to Elmira every second day,” said Mike Gerber, who felt the merger would make his presence “more central.”
“My office was in my house, and I felt it was out-of-the-way, really,” said Gerber.
At their new office at 12 Arthur St. S., Taylor, Gerber & Associated Ltd. serve “a whole range” of businesses – manufacturing, retail, real estate, industrial, furniture, farm, and in particular, construction businesses.
“A lot of people, especially over the last couple of years, are getting skittish with putting their money in the markets, and are investing in their own homes,” said Taylor of the construction mini-boom.
And their reach extends beyond Woolwich and Wellesley – they have clients as far as Stratford, Fergus, Cambridge, and other southern Ontario towns.
So: let’s say that, like the Mesopotamians, you are in the crop-growing business, and are looking for someone reliable to measure your finances. Why Taylor, Gerber & Associates Ltd., and not some other bookkeeper down the street?
“People can trust us,” said Taylor. “We do work in people’s homes when they’re not there; we do work in people’s businesses when they’re not there. It’s being personable, and being approachable.”
“We want to provide good service,” added Gerber. “We make sure stuff is done on time.”
And, with their new office storefront on Arthur Street (the first for either Gerber or the Taylors), they plan to be getting stuff done on time for quite some time to come. Or at least until the next stone age rolls around.