I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and photograph all kinds of amazing human beings.

While they are in studio, it is a privilege to learn about their businesses, or the work they do, their family, their interests, and hear a little bit about their story.

 behind the scenes with Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith embarked on her journey in the accounting field after graduating from Fleming College in 2008 with a Diploma in Accounting. In 2009, she ventured into entrepreneurship by establishing her own bookkeeping business. Determined to advance her career, Danielle set her sights on becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and commenced her academic pursuit by obtaining her Bachelor of Commerce from Nipissing University. In 2016, she launched her accounting firm (Danielle Smith Professional Accounting Services, while pursuing CPA designation, which she successfully attained in 2021.


What inspired you to start a business in the financial industry, specifically focusing on accounting, income tax preparation, and bookkeeping services?

I have always had a love for numbers, even in High School. I knew I wanted to do something in that field, whether it be at a bank or in the accounting world. In college I decided that I wanted to be an Accountant and there started my long journey.

Professional headshot of Danielle Smith


How do you stay updated on the latest tax laws and regulations to ensure your clients receive accurate and beneficial advice?

I am constantly reviewing any news from the Canadian Revenue Agency and stay up to date with courses through CPA and various articles.

Can you share some success stories or examples of how your financial expertise has helped clients save money or improve their financial stability?

When meeting with clients, I like to have them describe to me their bookkeeping practices. I then review their books with them and go over various ideas of how we can make the books more efficient. This is often be suggesting a move to an accounting software that meets their needs. Often clients are intimidated by accounting software but once they get their feet wet within the software, they realize that it is usually very user friendly.

In the world of financial services, trust is crucial. How do you build and maintain trust with your clients?

Communication is key, I always keep the line of communication open and honest. I often have new clients come to me stating that they just want to be kept in the loop and not left in the dark about their financials. I make sure that we have an initial meeting, whether it be in person or over the phone, to make sure that we are the best fit for each other and then if we move forward, I constantly keep them up to date on what needs to be done or has been done.

As technology evolves, how has it influenced your approach to accounting and bookkeeping, and what tools or software do you find most valuable for your business?

Over the last few years the world of technology has changed so much. Everyone is trying to be “remote” based, which is great if you are set up for it. I mold myself to my clients. I have clients that are strictly paper based and clients who I only communicate with via email or phone. In my world, I try to stay up to date with the popular softwares out there (Quickbooks Online, Sage, etc.) but I also revert back to the “old school” methods of using Excel and paper and pen. It is important to move with the wave and stay with the technological world but it is also important to make sure your clients are comfortable with what they are using.

What challenges do you face in managing the financial affairs of various clients, and how do you address them?

I make lists. Each client has their own deadlines and requirements and I am constantly making excels and lists (you can ask my staff how many excels I have with deadlines). I like to have everything organized to ensure that deadlines are met and work is being completed in a timely manner.

How do you tailor your financial services to meet the specific needs of different clients, such as small businesses versus individuals or large corporations?

During the initial meetings with new clients I like to get to know what type of services they need, whether it is completing a Corporate Year End, personal income tax returns, bookkeeping or even some sort of miscellaneous return that needs to be done for the Canadian Revenue Agency. Once I get a feel for what the client requires we set up a game plan and go from there. The plan always gets adjusted as we move forward to ensure that both myself and the client are satisfied with how things are being done.

Tax season can be stressful for many. How do you ensure a smooth and efficient experience for your clients during this busy period?

Tax season is a constant moving object, things change year to year and I like to make sure I am staying up to date with all the new tax laws and deductions that clients are entitled to. When meeting a new tax client, again, I go over their situation with them and have them fill out a questionnaire so that I can get a feel of what they have going on. Once the return is done, I do try to go over the return with them so that they understand it and feel comfortable with what is being filed.

What are 6 strategies to maximize your tax refund?

  1. Childcare Expenses:
    • Eligible for children under 16, this deduction includes costs for daycare, summer camps, boarding schools, and caregivers like nannies, typically claimed by the spouse earning the least.
  2. Spousal & Child Support Payments:
    • These payments can significantly reduce your tax liability, depending on the nature, spousal or child.
  3. Student Loan Interest:
    • Deductible interest on student loans obtained under specific acts like the Canada Student Loans Act, valuable for those or their children in post-secondary education. It's applicable if you have a tax liability or can be forwarded for up to five years.
  4. RRSP Contributions:
    • Beyond being a retirement savings plan, your RRSP can be a powerful tactic in lowering your taxable income. Remember to contribute early in the year or set up monthly contributions to spread out the financial impact.
  5. Association and Union Dues:
    • Are you part of a professional association or a union? These dues are not just for show; they're tax-deductible. This means you can claim the full amount of these dues on your tax return, lowering your taxable income and potentially increasing your refund.
  6. Rental Payments and Property Taxes:
    • Whether you're a renter or a homeowner, you have tax-saving opportunities. Renters in some jurisdictions can claim a portion of their rent for a tax rebate. Property owners, on the other hand, can deduct their property taxes.

    Navigating through the vast landscape of tax deductions and credits can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.


    What are your plans for the future of your financial business, and how do you intend to adapt to changing market conditions and client needs?

    I am hoping to continue to grow, hire more staff and hopefully be able to be a mentor for a future CPA one day. Our community is in need of accountants and bookkeepers, I am hoping to be able to help fill that void and work with the other accounting firms in our community so that we can meet the needs of local businesses and clients.

    fun professional headshot of danielle smith
    How have your priorities changed from when you first started?

    My priorities have always been to be able to supply our community with affordable accounting services, and I stand by that. I don’t want businesses and individuals to not want to get accounting help because of the cost. I want local businesses to succeed and am wanting to help them out the best that I can.

    Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?

    I consider my self to be still “starting out”. I am learning everyday and adapting to any new challenges that come my way with owning my own firm.

    How do you define success?

    Being comfortable with where you are and what you are doing. If you are still enjoying your job and personal life, then you are succeeding.

    What is keeping you up at night?

    My lists, and my daughter. Like I said before, I like to make lists. I often lay awake thinking about items I need to add to my list so am sending my self emails to remind me of items I need to do.

    Describe some of your key routines or habits that you have to keep you going?

    This has fallen to the waste side, but I love walking, it clears my head. I need to get back to that, it is a great way to take a break during the work day.

    Do you, and/or, how do you find time to develop your creative process?

    This is usually done during my walks, that is where I get the best thinking done.
    What are some hard choices that you had to make to get where you are? Leaving my position at my previous Firm. They were amazing to me and helped me succeed in getting my designation but I have always wanted to own my own business, so I guess when I first started to join that firm and close up my bookkeeping business, that was also a very hard decision for me.

    Can you describe a memorable success story or moment that reaffirmed your commitment to your business's mission?

    When I made the decision to start my own Firm, there were a lot of my clients who followed me. Having those clients believe in me made me realize that this is something I can and will succeed in.

    What is your relationship with failure?

    I don’t really believe in “failure”, I think of it as a learning experience. There have been times where I feel like I have let someone down or did something wrong and I just tried to learn from those experiences and move forward.

    What book and/or podcast are you enjoying right now?

    I am not currently reading anything but love a good murder mystery!

    What is one thing you wish people knew about you? 

    I may be quiet but I am strong.


    black and white of danielle smith

    Where can you find Danielle:

    1. Website
    2. Instagram
    3. Facebook
    4. LinkedIn


      Peter Istvan

      Peter Istvan Photography

      Peter is a professional headshot photographer. Available in studio, or on location. Serving Parry SoundMuskokaSudburyNorth Bay, Barrie, Toronto, and surrounding areas. 

      Would be happy to hear from you!