FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Kim Moody
November 10, 2020
Sometimes people cross our paths in more than one way – and Kim Moody is one of those people. I’ve been aware of his tax advisory and tax law firm combo for some time. He’s a reader of my daily Musing columns and has written to me from time to time. Recently after watching one of his Fireside Chat webinars (the one where he interviewed Jack Mintz), I was inspired to reach out to Kim for a ‘fireside chat for two,’ he readily agreed, and here we are …
One might expect a conservative suit and conventional shoes. Interviewing a tax accountant could be a mind-numbing exercise in dullness.
Some people are plain, ordinary, dull, and predictable.
Kim is the other kind – a cross between dynamo, flamboyant (blue glasses and a stunning plaid jacket), and a tad raw and edgy for an accountant, but in his own defense, he is obviously driven and high energy, but he drives a sedan …
And he’s easily likable. And focused. Frank, direct, salty, clear-eyed, mind on the prize.
We met recently at a safe distance across his boardroom table and began with the proverbial first question, “Where were you born?”
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, was the simple answer. After that, some zigs and zags in the path – I’ll summarize/condense – he is the eldest of two brothers (mom was an R.N., divorced when Kim was two, she remarried – add two step-siblings, they had two more for a family of six children). The family relocated several times – Rocky Mountain House, Fort McMurray (K-10), Wetaskiwin (11-12). School days for Kim were keenly academic – A+ student, chess club, crib club, piano and trumpet – and he had ambitions to be a music teacher. He loved school and described himself as hockey-centric, but lack of vertical size limited his aspirations. The family’s move from Fort Mac to Wetaskiwin was economy/NEP driven, then different factors came into play.
Career and education ambitions were unclear – and he met a girl who was studying nursing at the University of Alberta – so staying close to home was an easy choice. Enrolled first at Camrose Lutheran studying business, Kim’s next step was the University of Calgary – then a sidestep to work at Doane Raymond while doing course work in pursuit of a CMA Designation. Recruited to Coopers and Lybrand, fired – and then a pivotal moment of inspiration while riding the bus home, when a woman asked, “Why do you look so sad?” With new-found inspiration, a move to the University of Lethbridge, working in accounting, and completing a Bachelor of Business Mgmt. degree in 1993, followed by jobs in Calgary with Shannon Schroeder and others …
Sidebar – on a trip to a family and friends gathering near Prince Albert, he met a girl. The setting involved a dance, a greased pig contest, and possibly some drinking. Anyway, mutual interest and encouragement from friends and family – Vivian grabbed Kim’s attention. They’ve been together ever since.
Meanwhile, Kim’s career ambitions were not to simply work in accounting but to be a partner. He first partnered with Aroon Sequeira – they initially worked from their respective homes, their practice grew, but he grew restless – wanted to learn more about tax, needed mentors, needed clients, and went on his own in 1996 – Kim G. Moody Prof. Corp. Several iterations of associations and partnering followed – Moody, Shikaze, Boulet LLP- which was acquired by RSM Richter in 2006. Kim left the following year, established Moody Tax, and later added lawyer associates – the business today operates as Moodys Tax Law and Moodys Private Client LLP.
Why are you successful? “Because I’m relentless. It’s about who, not how. To get to the right answer, the right result – and knowing I cannot be successful on my own. “
What has held you back? “Resources. And I haven’t met all my who’s yet.”
How do you see your business – tax and accounting business – going forward over the next quarter?
… It’s good, notwithstanding COVID. It will be better.
And over the next five years?
… I see a lot more D.I.Y. experts. Artificial Intelligence will diminish the advisor’s role – and tax administration will become both different and more difficult. We’ll be a service that is needed more, not less.
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators, and suppliers?
… I like to support local small businesses – enjoy dealing with people who listen and show me I am valued. People who are eager, goal-driven, and who understand me.
What distinguishes you that causes people to choose Kim Moody, and why do they do business with you, why have they hired you, over your competitors?
… Trust. Transparency. Not afraid to ‘do the right thing’, and not afraid to call B.S.!
How would you describe your leadership/management style?
… seven years ago, I did a four-day course on leadership that shifted my perspective. I developed a Leadership Agenda, a simple document that is my guide, a reminder of who I am, and how I want to lead – and I encourage others to do a similar self-analysis. Call me an intellectual rebel focused on continuous improvement interested in recruiting like-minded people, and I have.
… I hate that term. My wife would say that I work too hard. I think I have it!
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… I sleep fine. I worry about things that are not in my control! COVID, where is our country going? As a parent, I worry about my kids and how they are doing in the world. We have four sons – 15, 18, 21, and 24.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… my mom was a formidable influence – and her thrift assured me I didn’t want to shop at the thrift store. I’ve been a fan of and influenced by Steve Jobs – and I like the importance and beauty of simplicity, and that has influenced my focus on explaining complex issues in plain terms.
… time at the cabin, hiking, fishing, music/piano
What do you read?
… lots of self-help books, business reading, of course, things on personality interest me – and I’m a John Grisham fan. No devices – all books.
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