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Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A – Emmanuel Lucas

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Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession.

1975, Paris: I started at a young age by doing petty cash accounting by making rolls of change. Already at five years old, my interest in balancing things was already present. Hence my future vocation as an accountant and, for the same reason I would later embark on my accounting studies until the age of 22.

This allowed me to obtain several accounting diplomas, including a certificate as a senior technician in management and accounting. I was barely 18 at the time, but I knew deeply that the numbers would be part of my future.

Tell us about the clients that you serve, which industries they operate in and explain your approach to working with them and helping them achieve their desired results.

Since I joined the CDEC (Community Economic Development Consortium), my goal has been to make our clients’ accounts as simple as possible by using SAGE software and to pass on our knowledge to them so that they become autonomous in their accounting process. Most of the clients are NPOs in various business sectors.

What amount of your client base would you say have embraced the cloud or would consider tech-savvy?

Indeed, we are trying to make a digital shift through “the cloud” with customers to simplify the accounting approach as much as possible for them. Sage cloud has been a valuable tool and helps make our approach simple and efficient. This is the future of business, with telecommuting and remote meetings. The cloud is easy to use, for any type of customer but as it happens, many growing companies seem to be young companies.

Have you migrated clients to the cloud in the past year? How was the process?

Yes absolutely, we did migrate clients and the process was fairly straightforward although there is some constraint in the onboarding process. For example, some projects do not allow integration, so you have to redo the exercise if you integrate later in the year.

Customers really like the simplicity of getting their financial information and direct access to a less complex solution allows them to demystify accounting.

Do you notice any trends that could disrupt the future of bookkeeping or accounting? Legislation, technology, trends in your clients’ industries, etc.?

For my part, I have believed for quite some time that the “cloud” is the essential accounting tool to simplify management. The software can be used anywhere on any platform (tablet-computer-even phone). Also, it should be understood that the added value to this kind of software is the automation of tasks. For example, connecting the bank account with the accounting software. In the future it will be the link between customers and suppliers, thus eliminating steps that have no added value.

Can you describe the impact COVID 19 has had on your business? What advice did your clients need during this time? Did you change or adapt the direction of your business during this period?

In terms of pivoting, in what was only my first year at CDEC, I saw the opportunity to set up “the cloud” for our clients to allow them, especially when working from home, to quickly obtain financial information. This allowed me to keep follow-ups going despite any distance, thanks to automation.

How does it feel to be recognized for this award?

I feel blessed to be recognized for the impact I have had on our various clients and also in the development of my profession. Mostly accomplished, as a representative of an area that is at first glance complex but yet so essential in all areas of endeavor.

What advice would you give to the next generation of students considering a career in bookkeeping or accounting?

My main advice is that it’s important to have a passion for numbers and the continuous improvement of accounting software. You should have rigor, accessibility, flexibility of methods and be able to question protocols / processes. Just because I have been doing accounting from a young age does not mean that I am not yet learning every day. Always remember that a method can be improved.

 What do you do to enjoy life in your spare time outside of your profession?

I am passionate about walking and nature (Golf, hunting …) so I take the opportunity to ‘get away from it all’ because staying behind a computer at least 35 hours a week makes me sedentary and I need to move.

I’m also sociable by nature, I like activities with friends parties, going to the restaurant and take the opportunity to discuss our lives and my passions. Finally, I always have a desire to learn new activities so I stay on the lookout for any interest that might excite me.

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