After 100 Years Welch’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Thrives
NO DOUBT, GEORGE A. WELCH would be delighted to see the wave of entrepreneurship sweeping over Ottawa and the National Capital Region these days. After all, it was his own strong entrepreneurial spirit that led him, at the tender age of 10, to take on the demanding task of looking after several paper routes.
True, he had a more pressing need to succeed than many of today’s entrepreneurs— he desperately needed the income to help support his family—but there seems little doubt that a seed was planted when George accepted the responsibility of those first paper routes. Less than two decades later, in 1918, that seed would take root when the 29-year-old, now in possession of a hard-earned CPA, founded Welch & Company in an office in the Elgin Chambers, overlooking Confederation Square.
Over the years, the attitude that George Welch brought to his fledgling company has not only survived, it has flourished. As a result, today’s Welch LLP is a leading chartered professional accounting firm, widely respected and universally recognized for the services it provides and for the manner in which it delivers them. In 2018, like in 1918, Welch’s relationship-driven approach to client service enables the company to identify industry-related issues—before they become problems—and develop effective and innovative solutions.
As for the entrepreneurial spirt so bravely displayed by George Welch more than a century ago, it, too, is alive and well. Just ask Bryan Haralovich, the head of the company’s Technology Services group. Hired in October 2011, after 20 years of working with national firms, Bryan came to Welch with a single goal—to make the firm’s considerable expertise more readily available to the rapidly expanding, entrepreneurial driven, high-tech market.
“High-growth entrepreneurs were largely underserved in terms of the services we had to offer,” Bryan says. “That’s largely because high-tech is a volatile sector. Decisions often have to be made in a shorter time frame than more established industries like real estate or construction. As a result, it can be difficult for high-growth entrepreneurs to be aware of and to recognize the value of the services we offer.”
Bryan’s task? Educate the marketplace while embracing and adding depth to Welch’s capabilities. As it turns out, he is ideally suited to the task.
“I came to Welch without a client base,” he says, “so I couldn’t offer Welch a list of potential clients as a hiring incentive.” What Bryan could offer was extensive experience in providing financial services to a broad range of entrepreneurs, from private to public companies, and including charities, government departments and agencies. He had also done his homework and was delighted to find Welch’s sterling reputation was accompanied by a willingness to tailor its services for a new marketplace.
In short, it was an ideal partnership.
“Welch has an independent way of looking at things,” says Bryan. “Couple that with an overwhelming desire to make a positive difference and it’s clear why we’ve been successful in attracting high-growth entrepreneurs from the high-tech sector.” Simply put, he says, Welch shares his passion for serving and helping entrepreneurs, those folks who want to make a difference, who want to do things their way. And who, more and more with Welch’s guidance, do exactly that.
“Really, we’re helping these entrepreneurs see their business through a financial lens. And being part of the Welch team allows me to address matters that are important to entrepreneurs and their companies in a meaningful, business-like manner.”
Accompanying that meaningful, business-like manner is a welcome personal touch. As Bryan points out, Welch is a bit of a family business. Over the years, a number of family members have held various positions in the company. “That family background has strengthened the connection to our clients. We’ve come to know our clients, to understand their needs and their motivations. The services we provide them address the hard issues. The relationships we’ve created help us understand the softer issues.”
As Welch looks back on a century of success, it looks forward to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit that led to its formation— and sharing its considerable abilities with a new generation of entrepreneurs.