Accountant turns disillusionment into opportunity

In the first years of his career as a professional accountant, Obed Maurice CA, CPA, became increasingly frustrated with how accounting services were performed and how clients were served. "I kept thinking, we can do better than this - there has to be a better way to access data, automate processes and connect with our clients. We needed a modern approach and to do work that was truly meaningful for ourselves and the people we serve."

Obed Maurice photo to accompany CliQue article
Obed Maurice

The Lethbridge native recognized the potential of cloud accounting, where data and programs are stored and accessed over the Internet rather than an accountant's computer. About four years ago, he began working with Alberta Innovates Technology Development Advisor (TDA) Bill Halley on turning his disillusionment with conventional accounting into opportunity. The result was the creation of Maxim Management, one of Canada's first completely virtual accounting firms.

But the story doesn't end there because the innovation was just beginning. Maurice's experience with the virtual firm led him to start developing software for cloud accounting. He merged his accounting practice into Avail CPA, and together with Caylee Maurice, founded a new company, CliQue Advisor, to further develop the software and take it to market. When Bill Halley retired, Lindsay Spadavecchia took over his TDA position, using her considerable experience in software commercialization to support Maurice as he learns how to grow a software company.

CliQue helps accounting firms radically improve their client experience through automating the most time-consuming aspects of the accounting business. Sales went live in mid-2019 although early adopters in both Canada and the US were using the software before then. The Lethbridge-based company has grown to four full-time employees; a marketing specialist will soon be added as CliQue was recently awarded a Commercialization Associate's grant through the Alberta Innovates Industry Associates program. (The company has also received vouchers to support R&D.)

"I wouldn't be here without the help I received from Alberta Innovates and the entire technology ecosystem we have in Alberta," says Maurice. "I'm an accountant, I don't have any background in building software. And yet I'm now head of a technology company and I'm bringing a new financial technology to market. And we have big plans to grow this company.

"While the money from Alberta Innovates is important, by far the biggest benefit is the support, coaching, and mentorship from two incredibly talented TDAs - Bill Halley and Lindsay Spadavecchia. These people cared enough to point me in the right direction, connect me with the right people, and give me the right guidance. You can't put a price on that."