“I learned a lot from Claude. The rigour and firmness he shows in all of his engagements reveal his great respect for his clients and colleagues. Moreover, Claude always kept his knowledge up to date. There were many changes during the last 12 years, but he was never overwhelmed since he always knew how to adapt to change.” Éric Brousseau
Éric Brousseau is a lead senior manager in assurance and a consultant in professional quality; he has been working for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton for 19 years. Father of two young boys of six and nine years of age, he dedicates most of his spare time to family activities. Highly implicated in his community, he has been active on several boards of directors, such as those of non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce and educational institutions, for nearly 15 years. Mr. Brousseau is a thorough man in his personal and work environments. It is thus not surprising that he be passionate for quality control to make sure, before any opinion is issued, that audit files are complete and Canadian Accounting Standards are respected.
As for Claude Cliche, he is currently a retired partner and ambassador for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. For more than 40 years, he was an assurance partner, then he became a consulting partner in 2010. With the help of his team, he served clients from all economic sectors of the Beauce region and various areas such as manufacturing, trade, agriculture, municipal administration and social affairs. Mr. Cliche made his mark in the region through the quality relationships he always maintained with his business partners, but also thanks to his implication within the community, amongst others as a member of various economic organisations’ boards of directors such as that of the Association coopérative industrielle de Saint-Joseph de-Beauce, the Association pour le développement économique de Saint-Joseph and the Groupe de soutien aux initiatives jeunesse. Besides, Mr. Cliche held the president position in community organizations such as the Fondation Marguerite Jacques and the Club Richelieu de Saint-Joseph. He remains a member of advisory and social activities organization committees.
Meeting of two assurance professionals in Beauce.
Éric Brousseau: Mr. Cliche, before I started working for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, I knew you by reputation and I was aware of the extent of your implication within the community. If you had to summarize your career in three words, what would they be? Why?
Claude Cliche: Respect of the clients and personnel, integrity and social commitment.
Respecting the clients means that we must do everything we can to satisfy them. Thus, we must be competent, maintain our knowledge up to date, serve well our clients and help them progress. We must also fully appreciate and respect the employees who assist us in reaching these goals.
Integrity is an essential quality for any career in the business area, towards clients with similar activities or not, but also towards the personnel, partners and company. It is the best way to ensure that everyone maintains a high level of trust in you.
Social commitment is, according to me, primordial to participate in the development of the community: to thank indirectly people that are a part of it and support us in our professional accountant profession, to be appreciated as a citizen, to meet interesting people, to be on the lookout for news of the area and to discover business opportunities.
EB: How would you describe the evolution of the enterprises from the Beauce region from the beginning of your career up to now?
CC: When I arrived in Saint-Joseph in 1971, the “Beauce miracle” phenomenon was only beginning. The environment was optimistic and the creation of industrial parks helped starting various small enterprises which became product components providers for bigger companies. At that time, you could obtain government aids if you could prove that the business area in which you wanted to operate was not saturated. It was the beginning of industrial commissions, which are now local development centres. There was some kind of competition and pride for future entrepreneurs starting their own businesses, what aroused admiration in the area; thus, enterprises of four or five employees in their early stages are now employers providing hundreds of jobs.
The advent of information technologies facilitated the development of enterprises because it allowed a more thorough financial follow-up and the implementation of software made business development easier.
The agricultural area was significantly present at that time and it still is today, but to a very competitive level, with facilities aiming economies of scale.
Gradually, enterprises from the primary and secondary sectors led to the expansion of the tertiary sector, which was traditional until now, in the Beauce economy by creating needs regarding engineering, computer development, research and development, etc.
EB: Is there an engagement you carried out that makes you particularly proud?
CC: It is not about an engagement in particular, but various medium-sized engagements such as business sale transactions requiring a fast audit, or engagements consisting in the defense of clients before tax authorities that we won all the way. Successful business transfer engagements thanks to which children of clients from 1971 are now clients of our firm in 2016.
A mandate of which I am particularly proud is the success, with the unconditional support of my employees, in maintaining and developing Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s presence in my part of the Beauce region.
EB: Do you have an advice to give to young people beginning their career in assurance?
CC: Yes, I do have some advice:
• Always maintain your knowledge at the forefront of basic principles of your profession;
• Develop your skills in efficient communication and teamwork;
• Learn to know your clients’ business area before you approach them;
• Do not skip stages in your career: take the time to learn from your experiences and make sure you win the trust of your colleagues and, eventually, your clients;
• Keep an open mind for economic and social activities and organizations.
EB: Thank you Claude!
Other articles will be published online during the year so stay tuned!