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You deserve an advisor who’s not afraid to get his boots dirty, Meet Blair Traxler

2020-12-14


We all want to do business with people we know and like. That’s why we want you to get to know Blair Traxler, a Partner and Business Advisor with MNP’s Forestry & Forest Products team in Prince George and Vanderhoof. In this Q&A, find out how Blair’s curiosity of the forestry sector led him to this line of work and how he approaches work and life.

Blair Traxler

1. Did you always want to become an accountant?

Nope. My parents were lawyers, so as a kid I thought I’d become a lawyer. Turned out that wasn’t for me.  My brother in Calgary was an accountant, and that seemed like a good job with decent pay, so I followed in his footsteps instead.

2. What lead you to specialize in forestry?

Working in the Prince George office, it was natural to specialize in forestry. When I joined MNP, I was curious to thoroughly understand it, so I researched the logging process and created a Forestry 101 course, which we still use internally. After that, I worked on a benchmarking and sustainability project for about six years, and I got to ask questions of pretty much all the loggers in Northern B.C. Forestry has never been boring!

3. What is the benchmarking about?

My forte is logging contractors, and specifically benchmarking and sustainability of logging contractors within the industry in the interior and central interior of B.C., from Salmon Arm to Prince George to Fort St. John. We look at those contractors and see where they sit relative to their peers in terms of volume cut and region. Then outside of that, I do everyday accounting, such as financial statements, tax returns, and everything in between.

4. What are the top three questions you try to answer through benchmarking?

I am most asked “How do I match up to my peers? Where do we sit in industry? Should I lease or buy equipment?” In benchmarking, we look at how the Return on Sales matches up to others, and the big three: expenses vs. others, percentage of wages, and repairs and fuel compared to others.

5. What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I like get out and see my clients.  You don’t know what’s going on with your clients unless you get onsite and see them.  It’s a huge advantage not to sit in your office. Clients have problems that we can solve, but they don’t necessarily think to ask us, so we have to be there to see what’s happening and ask questions.

On a typical in-office day, I have a plan to do things, and then I do something totally different for the next eight hours. A client phones and asks something, someone else calls with an urgent question, our staff have questions for me. I like that.

6. How would you characterize your professional self? 

I am not your typical “professional” accountant (laughs). I just try to be a regular person…be approachable and explain things in everyday language. I want clients to understand what I’m saying and feel comfortable asking me questions. They don’t need to know accounting terminology to ask intelligent questions.

7. What three things do you wish your forestry clients knew?

  1. Pick up your phone and call your advisor! If you need to take money out of your company, there is usually a better way than paying yourself a bonus – talk to your advisor first. (Don’t be afraid to call them - you won’t be charged every time.)
  2. The power of benchmarking yourself against the industry. You might think your operation is doing really well, but if you don’t know where your peers are, you don’t know what your total potential is. Even if you’re making a lot of money, it could be that everybody else is making way more money than you. You won’t know that unless you benchmark.
  3. Lastly, paying tax is not a bad thing- it means you’re profitable. If you’re not paying tax, you’re not making money!

8. Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes. MNP is always looking for more contacts, clients and opportunities in the industry. I am happy to chat with anyone about anything forestry related, or accounting, or tax.

To get to know Blair even better and learn how he can help, contact him at 250.596.8313 or [email protected].