May 17th, 2024

Downtown Dragons award accountant with rental funds


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - LETHBRIDGE HERALD on October 27, 2021.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - David Lanz, owner of Accrual Accounting, alongside Emily Chong, Marketing Coordinator for Downtown Lethbridge BRZ, is the winner of the first Downtown Dragon's Den competition.

Lethbridge’s “Downtown Dragons” have made their selection.
Downtown Lethbridge BRZ, along with Economic Development Lethbridge, Community Futures, and the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta (RINSA), announced the winner of the Building Business Downtown Project last week.
David Lanz, owner of Accrual Accounting, won the contest after pitching his idea to the Downtown Dragons.
Cookie Crimes and Phoenix Fitness also pitched their business ideas to the six landlords who own multiple properties in the downtown area in hopes of securing a deal on a space.
“The other two did an awesome job at pitching, but David was ultimately the winner,” said Emily Chong, Marketing Coordinator for Downtown Lethbridge BRZ.
“It has definitely been a whirlwind. The winner was to receive $12,000 towards their rent for 2022 or whenever they open their business and some other prizes to go along with it,” added Chong.
Lanz won $12,000 towards rent for his downtown space for a year, a strategic marketing session with London Road Marketing, and admission to the SmartSTART program through RINSA, among other prizes.
Chong explained that the other two entrepreneurs will still win free admission to SmartSTART.
Lanz said he is trying to change the perception of accountants in such a way that people want to go see their accountant.
“Accountants are not at all interesting, but I am trying to change that, I am trying to change the way accounting is done so that is not just historically focused, but also future focused,” said David Lanz, owner of Accrual Accounting.
As an accountant he tries to have no surprises during tax season. People come to him in October to find out what they are looking at for taxes, what they may owe, what their refund might be, and then in March and April when he files it, it’s a very different story in a more positive light.
Lanz said that during his pitch he was very nervous, because the local Dragons were more experienced and had multiple businesses.
“When he started his pitch, he was very well put together, he sounded really good. And then when the dragons started asking their questions that is when he really shone. Because I feel like they were asking questions about his business and that is something he is very passionate about knowing those answers, and he got more comfortable,” said Chong.
Lanz said that when it comes to presenting, he is always very nervous because he doesn’t know what it is going to look like.
“It is supposed to be a conversation piece, and I am not used to not having that conversation piece, so when it came to the question and answer period, it was definitely more my element where I was able to answer the questions and have that conversation piece, reading the body language and the audience and figuring out what exactly they are asking and how to answer it specifically,” added Lanz.
Tim Hachkowski, one of the Dragons, asked him how long it takes him to do a tax return. To which Lanz answered that it takes him about 10 to 15 minutes for a basic tax return, so he can do about 120 in a week.
He explained that his business has progressed quickly, and his team has expanded as well.
“I started doing just straight bookkeeping in 2018, completely out of my basement. And I ended up going from there in 2019 to using Turbotax and doing 26 tax returns, again just in my basement. To moving to a small office about 140 square feet or so and I did 170 tax returns that year. To this year doing now 350, but during tax season was 290 tax returns. So, my business has progressively exploded. I had one associate helping me with the 170 and I had three other associates helping me with the 290 this year,” said Lanz.
Lanz explained that his team is very seasonal. They come in and help out during the busy season and right now he is in the process of hiring for the next busy season.
When it comes to what the future holds for him and his business now that he won the competition, Lanz said that he has a very general idea of what is about to happen, but plans change at a whim.
“The future is very uncertain and by being able to be in a position where I can make changes on the fly and reposition myself to better suit the market, I will be able to assist more people than at my current location,” said Lanz.
His current location is not wheelchair accessible, there is no outside light, and there is no outside signage. Therefore, nobody knows where he is unless he tells them.
“Wheelchair accessibility and front signage are two of the most important things for me. An outside window is very helpful because as an accountant we become like vampires during tax season and tend not to see much light, so having an outside window will be very helpful,” added Lanz.
Lanz is currently moving. He found a place until the post building is ready. One with less stairs, an outside window and with front signage available.
“David made what we call a tentative deal, with Tim Hachkowski from The Post building and if they don’t figure out terms that they both agree to, they don’t have to go through with it. But as long as he sets up his business in downtown Lethbridge, he can have the $12,000 towards his rent for the next year,” added Chong.
Lanz was offered at The Post one private office with two desks, hot desks available for use and a board room available for use.
“But the biggest selling feature for me was literally the unlimited coffee,” said Lanz.

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