Andrew rides his Harley to better client relationships
Andrew Logan has been riding since he was 8 years old, when his father bought him a dirt bike. He took a break after a bad accident in his early 20’s but now rides his Harley Davidson motorcycle to work every day from May through December. This lead him to implement the dress code policy that anyone in the firm can wear jeans everyday they ride a motorcycle to work. In his free time, Andrew has gone on rides with clients and has even taken his bike on long road trips through Canada and the US.
In this episode, Andrew and I talk about how riding his motorcycle provides him with the best therapy he could get. His 25-minute commute in the morning allows him to get his mind right for work. Sometimes, he’ll even take his bike out during lunch to be able to clear his head and get a better perspective. Early in his career, he vowed never to be what everyone considered to be the “stereotypical accountant”, so he’s known to ride his 2011 Harley Fat Bob to client meetings. Andrew finds that “…it enhances the client relationship once they realize you’re not a one-dimensional type of person.” Now that he’s the managing partner, he’s able to make sure that the firm supports everyone’s passions, because he believes “…if firms will let people do the things they’re passionate about, they’ll get paid back in spades.”
Andrew Logan is the managing partner at Teed Saunders Doyle & Co. in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He became president of DFK Canada in 2016.
He graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a BBA, Accounting and Finance and later attended Queen’s University for a degree in Regulatory Affairs.
Please take 2 minutes
to do John’s anonymous survey
about Corporate Culture!
Other pictures of Andrew
(click to enlarge)
- Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close
Welcome to Episode 124 of the Green Apple Podcast. This is John Garrett and every Wednesday, I interview a professional known for a hobby or a passion that makes them standout like a green apple in a boring red apple world. To put it in another way, it’s like helping people find their “and” as in my guest, Andrew Logan, is an accounting partner “and” a Harley rider.
As you can hear his passion for motorcycles has allowed him to really connect with so many people in his career. There’s a lot of science behind why this is because there’s chemicals in your brain that are released when you meet interesting people. One of them being norepinephrine which creates engagement and another one called oxytocin that creates trust and bonding and collaboration. Both of this are really, really crucial to developing a positive corporate culture in your firm.
I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you like the show and are listening to iTunes or your favorite Android app, please don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing everybody’s stories out each and every week. This week is absolutely no different with my guest Andrew Logan. He’s the managing partner at Teed Saunders Doyle & Co. in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Andrew, I’m so excited to talk with you again. Thanks so much for being with me today on Green Apple Podcast.
Andrew: No problem, John. Good to be here.
John: I remember hanging out with you in Las Vegas last year at the DFK Conference and really, really good times. Thanks so much.
Andrew: John, what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?
John: Right, right. My bad, my bad. We played backgammon and checkers and nothing else happened, right?
Andrew: Ice tea and crumpets, that’s it.
John: Right, that was it. That was it. Absolutely. But I gave everyone a little bit of an introduction but there’s no way that I could possibly do that and give it justice. So maybe in your own words a little of what you’re working on now and kind of how you got there.
Andrew: Sure. I’m a partner in an accounting firm in Eastern Canada, the province of New Brunswick, a firm called Teed Saunders Doyle and through time, I had become the senior partner in this firm. That’s happens when you get old. Yeah. One day I woke up and roll out of bed and said I’m the senior partner, how did that happened?
John: Right. Because you’re whose left, is that how that happened?
Andrew: Yeah, it’s a case of attrition. I’ve been with the firm for 20 years so I started here in ‘97 and I started as a manager and now here I am.
John: That’s awesome.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s a great firm. We have two offices about we’re a little over 50 right now so not huge but in our neck of the woods, I’d say we’re fairly large. We’re in a small part of Canada, small population so that’s good.
John: That’s very good, man. Very good. Do you focus more on the audit or the tax side or a little bit of everything?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean we’re generalists in our economy, you have to be. But if we had a primary focus, it’s on small and medium sized businesses on the owner-operator. That’s where we excel and do good work.
John: Yeah. That’s fantastic, man. That’s really great. One thing that I have to ask you in particular since we have hung out is how did you get into accounting? Because I mean people ask that about me and they need to ask you twice I think.
Andrew: Yes. It was the fourth year in university. I was supposed to find a job because I had to graduate and so I threw all the job applications in the mail and I got three job offers back. One was at a bank, one was with an insurance company, and one was an accounting firm. Guess which one I was successful at.
John: Right, right. The accounting firm?
Andrew: There you go. That was Touche Ross back in the day. I think it was in 1986 that I started with them and so here I am.
John: That’s so fantastic. It’s amazing how at that time it’s kind of a win but then you look back and it’s like well, of course, that’s what happened. That’s how it all worked.
Andrew: Yeah. It makes people believe in karma. I do. I’d sit back and think about all the decisions and all the points you’ve made in your life and to put you in this position. A lot of it are uninformed and a lot of them are the roll of the dice but they tend to work out.
John: Yeah, exactly. So when you’re not running the firm being the senior partner which takes a lot of time, what kind of hobbies, passions do you love to do on your free time?
Andrew: Well, I’ve had many over the years but over the last probably five or ten years, my main passion is riding motorcycles and primarily Harley-Davidson’s because really, there’s no other thing but a Harley-Davidson.
John: Right, right. I would have to agree with that. I’ve never actually ridden one but just based on the noise level, it seems like that’s how it is. Yeah, yeah and so what made you want to get into riding Harley’s?
Andrew: First of all, I want to say one thing. I’m really impressed that you said riding a Harley because a lot of people say they drive a motorcycle. You don’t drive a motorcycle, you ride a motorcycle.
John: Oh, man. Oh. End of podcast if that happened. That would’ve been —
Andrew: Yeah. We’d be hanging out. I was a big motorcycle kid. I was lucky enough to have a father who bought me a little dirt bike when I was eight years old and few other bikes growing up until I had a very significant accident in my early 20s that I was a motorcycle maniac but you crash a motorcycle, you end up in the hospital for a little while. I took a break for a few years.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you have really cool stories like do you ride far, long distances, some of those guys I’ve heard stories where they just ride for days?
Andrew: Yeah. I’ve had some good trips. In the warm months here in Canada which is basically from May until December, I ride to work every day I can. If it’s not torrential rains, I ride my bike to work every day.
John: That’s great.
Andrew: Yeah, it is great. You know what? I’ve had some good road trips to California, had a great run around Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park and the Palm to Pine Highway. Yeah, it’s a beautiful riding down there. I’ve ridden around Oahu in Hawaii. No, I didn’t take my bike there because it’s really hard to drive across the ocean but —
John: Right, right. It’s expensive to ship.
Andrew: But you can rent bikes there and I had a great — last summer actually I did Oahu and about four years ago I did Maui and actually drove a bike up to the top of the volcano there. Yeah, there’s been some great trips. Yeah, there have been great trips.
John: Yeah. That’s really, really cool, man. Really cool. Do you find that this is something that you talk about in the office? I mean clearly you’re riding your bike to work, riding your bike to clients, I mean it’s something that everybody knows about you.
Andrew: Well, they certainly hear it coming to the parking lot. Most CPA firms have a dress code policy in their office. You have your casual Fridays and business casual and all that good stuff. Ours basically states that we have business casual, we have casual Fridays, but if you bring your motorcycle to work you’re allowed to wear jeans any day of the week.
John: Oh, there you go. All right. That sounds like it’s good to be the king kind of a rule right there. That’s what it sounds like.
Andrew: It is. Yeah, absolutely. It’s a novel thing. I think I know my clients certainly get a kick out of it and I’ve had clients quite disappointed when I don’t arrive on a motorcycle. I tell him it’s February. It’s freezing rain out or snowing, I don’t ride a bike. But yeah, I think they like to have to say that their CPA comes to their office in those motorbike.
John: Yeah. I mean for sure. Absolutely. Do you find that clients and even some co-workers maybe, do they ride as well?
Andrew: Not presently. I’ve got clients I ride with, yeah. Few clients. We tour together but no one in my offices right now are motorcyclists. I had one guy but he left a little while ago.
John: Right, right. Do you find that the people that know this about you or I mean especially the people that also ride, is your relationship with them maybe just a little bit different?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean it’s a connection, right? I mean for people who ride motorcycles I get it, it’s the awesomest, if that’s even a good word to use, therapy that you can get in the world. The 25-minute commute in the morning on my bike, it sets me up for the day and the 25-minute commute going home sets me up for the arrival at the home, home life, and people I ride with, clients and co-workers in the past, I mean we get it. It’s a great experience and it’s a great thing to share together.
John: Yeah, most definitely. It’s also something that a lot of people, when they have hobbies and passions, they just think that they’re kind of throwaways. I mean clearly no CPE class or university class is telling you learn how to ride a motorcycle and it’ll make you a better CPA or better accountant. Do you feel like motorcycle riding, it translates over into the office?
Andrew: Yeah, I think so. There’s a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to sort of understand it and its impact on your life but there’s a whole subculture in the world with motorcycles and even further down some subcultures, if you will, on Harley riders.
It’s just it’s knowing that there’s that peace of mind in that place you can go when you need to, to clear the head and focus and it gets a perspective on issues. It really helps. When I’m having a bad day or a bad moment or I need to clear the head, I’ll hop on the bike and go for a run now to the coast for a few minutes and run back. It might be 20 minutes but it’s the clarity that it brings and yeah, it really has helped for sure.
John: No, that’s fantastic. It sounds like some runners or people like that. Is there something there at your firm that you do to encourage others to open up and share what their passion is?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. I mean we really promote a culture of openness and we want people to be themselves. We don’t want to be the stereotypical sleeves rolled up, head down, glasses on accountant that sits at their computer all day and bangs away. We want people to feel that they can come to work and be who they are and share their passions.
Right now in my office we’ve got a boxer, we’ve got a lady who loves animals who moonlights in a pet store and we just say look, if you’ve got a passion follow it and we even try to make time for them. We have semi-pro volleyball player who works with us. We tell her you know, she’s got competitions in faraway places, take the time. Just go get what you need to do to get done. I think it makes them better people. It makes them better people and it makes the better employees for us.
John: Yeah, yeah. No, I mean that’s really cool because I’m doing my research survey at greenapplepodcast.com and it’s anonymous so I don’t know who answers but one of the questions I ask of like five but one them is what are reasons that people don’t share and reading that column is really sad. I mean people are like oh, there’s no charge code for getting to know each other or we don’t get paid to socialize.
Andrew: You know what? It’s funny. I mean some people are shy and accountants tend to be introverted and I found out a few months ago that one of my managers, she and her husband drive mudders on the weekend. They go to these competitions and they have this this truck that — I mean she arrives at work in her business clothes and attire and she’s very professional but on the weekend, she’s covered with mud from head to toe. They do these swamp races. It’s like cool, you know. It makes me look at them in a different way. It makes me, I don’t know, I think it just helps people engage with them better and their people not just another employer or another worker be in a big scheme of things.
John: Yeah, yeah. I mean most definitely. Early on in your career were you, before the motorcycle riding, did you have something else that you would share or talk about?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean I was a big fisherman back in my younger days until family and kids come along. I still fish a little bit but not as much as I’d like to or want to but fly fishing, I’m a fly fisherman so we do a lot of salmon fishing up here in my neck of the woods.
I remember when I first started it at Touche Ross back in the ‘80s, there was a group of guys some of them were students and some of them had already got their CPA and they went away in an annual fishing trip together and I felt that was cool and I finally got up the nerve to ask them and you know “Geez, I’d like to join you guys” and so they invited me along. But it was great to go away in those types of things and be with people outside the office environment and see how they are in real life.
I would say I was lucky. I think a lot of firms, young people are really shoved into a slot and they’re pushed to act a certain way and to conform. As I look back and think about that, that’s not the right thing to do that you really just let people be people and let them do what drives their passion because that’s how they get defined and that’s how they become real people.
John: Right, right. Because I mean that hobby, that passion is with them whether they’re at your firm or another one or whatever their role is at the firm, that motorcycle riding or that fly fishing or whatever it is for you, that’s inside you no matter where you go.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s a great way to build connections with people, right? I mean you all have stories, you all have experiences and to be able to share those with people, it’s just a great way to build connections and in the business world, that transpires into work which is a good thing.
John: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Definitely, that’s the bottom line. Look at that. Take that, Mr. we don’t get paid to socialize but even proof to the theory is you’re telling me that one year later at the DFK conference this year you guys were still talking about it and particular people’s hobbies and passions, that’s all you remember. You don’t remember their name or where they’re from.
Andrew: That’s exactly it. We just had our annual DFK conference in Punta Mita, Mexico. Yeah, it was pretty nice. But I learned how to surf down there and our surfing group, there was just a small group of us, about eight, eight of us but one of the ladies from Colorado Springs, I couldn’t remember her name, but I remembered from the Vegas conferences she was a hockey player. I said, “Hey, I don’t know who you are but I remember you played hockey.” The other guy Bill from San Francisco, he plays electric guitar in a rock band. That’s what I remember. You’re right. I mean it defines people, right?
John: And it’s such a simple thing, man, and it’s crazy because when I’m up there on stage and I’m telling people about it I could tell a lot of people are like, well, whatever. Then a year later that’s all you remember about the person and it’s pretty fantastic.
Andrew: Powerful stuff for sure. It’s like the walking around with a little icon above their head you know that says, “Hey, I’m a rock star.” “Hey, I’m a surfer.” “Hey, I’m a biker” whatever. It’s perfect.
John: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And even if it’s not exactly what you do because none of those ride Harley’s, you still remember.
Andrew: Yeah, people ask me all the time do you get riding much this summer? I mean they remember, right? That’s how I’m identified plus I wear my assless chaps wherever I go.
John: Right, right.
Andrew: It’s perfect.
John: I guess one thing that I always like to think about is just how much it is on the organization or the firm to create that culture to encourage people that it’s okay to share or how much is it on the individual to maybe just kind of create their little network in the corner and work their way up like that?
Andrew: I think it’s you know, look, every firm has a different culture and I think it’s important that the firm supports people in their endeavors and for them to let them be people and I think if a firm will do that and a firm will give people some time and effort and energy to go and express themselves and let them do the things they’re passionate about that they’re going to be paid back in spades.
We’ve tried to do that in our firm, we’ve tried to give people time off, we’ve given people financial help if they need financial help and we encourage it. Just last week, I was away, but a bunch of folks here decided that they were going to do a Halloween party, have a Halloween lunch. So they arrive to work for the full day in costume even the receptionist.
Anybody that came in the firm saw the receptionist dressed up but one lady was dressed up as Christmas tree but it was a great way to see how they identify with themselves and their individual identity. It was great. It was absolutely great and people loved it. Yeah, I think it’s important for a firm to be supportive and to just allow, I mean everything has to have parameters and fences but —
John: But it can be big and really wide, a big yard.
Andrew: Absolutely. I mean at the end of the day we just say to people, “Hey, you’re a professional, act like one. You know what’s a professional, what’s not, and we trust your judgment. But if you want to go into boxing ring and beat somebody up just make sure your black eye’s covered up a little bit when you come to work on Monday.”
John: Right. Exactly or just have a picture of the other guy so at least we know you won. So there’s that. I think that’s so fantastic and I mean it has to be a mindset that you maybe didn’t always experience early on in your career coming up. Do you feel it’s the sign of the times or is it –?
Andrew: Yeah. There was a defining moment, John. It’s funny how things work out. I was a manager at Deloitte back in the — I don’t mean to pick on these guys but they were the firm I worked for ten years. I remember back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I used to wear my hair rather long, maybe that was a precursor to my biker days. But I remember we got a new managing partner in our office and he was going around meeting with all the managers. He and I went out for lunch one day. He was from away and he was asking about my plans and what I wanted to do. And he said, “Can I offer you some advice?” I said, “Absolutely.” He goes, “Get your haircut.”
I said to him, I thought, you know what? No, I don’t think I will. I like my hair the way it is. It’s kind of who I am. But I think about that conversation a lot and I think about it a lot and it sort of whatever, it was about cutting hair or not, it’s about letting somebody be who they are and not have to conform with some stereotypical army-like cutout if you will. I think that was a defining moment for me for sure. I’ve carry that through with my firm here and as I’ve progressed up the food chain here, I think about that. If somebody who wants to wear their hair long or they want to grow a mustache or a beard, it’s all good.
John: That’s so true, man, and so powerful that you experienced that and you know what it feels like so now that you’re in a leadership position, you can really go overboard to encourage people to not feel like they have to do that.
Andrew: Exactly. By the way, I did give my hair cut eventually.
John: Right. One thing that I also think about is just why is it that the definition of “stereotypical accountant” exists?
Andrew: It’s a hard question. I mean I watched the movie The Accountant again when I was flying back from Mexico. I just love that movie so much because he plays that — he’s a stereotypical accountant with a blue suit on and a tie and all that and the geeky glasses but then he goes out, blows things up and shoots people. It’s perfect. I don’t know. I think when I first went into the program years and years and years ago, I mean accountants, they’re always made on TV and the movies to be boring and working with numbers all day and tax codes and all that crap and yeah, they make good money but what a god awful boring job.
I remember when I was going through the educational component of the CPA, this is a long time ago, but we used to go away to a university to study in the summer to get our degrees. I remember being away and thinking you know, if there’s one thing I’m going to do in this world is I am not going to be the stereotypical accountant. I am not going to be the geeky guy in a blue suit and I’m not going to do that.
There was another buddy of mine. We vowed maybe after few beers one night that we would never do that. I can say to this day that I think I’ve done a pretty good job on that and I think if you asked a few of my folks around especially some of the guys at DFK, they would have some stories to say. But yeah, I don’t know. I think it’s too bad because I look at some of the advertising that the CPAs do on TV and what not and I think they’re working on that image. They’re trying to show the profession in a positive light and that it’s not numbers and it’s not tax code, it’s more than that and the people that are in it are more than being counters.
John: Yeah, absolutely because I mean your firm, you hired the whole person not just the accountant part. I think it’s great too. I mean early on in your career you vow never to be the stereotype which I mean I can testify that I think you’ve nailed and clearly, it hasn’t hurt your career. I mean you’re the senior partner at the firm now. It’s something that I think a lot of people are just scared to be themselves, scared to get out of that safe box, if you will, and you’re proof that it’s okay.
Andrew: Absolutely. I think at the end the day when I look back and think about this, your clients and the people you touch with your business career, it’s about the service and the quality of service and the fact that you care about their affairs and the work that they’re doing that really solidifies the relationship. But they don’t care if I ride a Harley or not, they don’t care if I’m a fly fisherman or have long hair or like to go to bars at night. I mean that doesn’t matter. In fact, that almost enhances the relationship to some degree that they know you’re not just a one dimensional type of person.
John: Yeah. That’s exactly it, man. Really fantastic and it’s so encouraging to hear coming from someone like you with the years of experience and doing well. It’s clear that it’s not a hindrance and quite the opposite.
Andrew: Yeah. You don’t hide in the closet. I mean if you have an activity or a hobby, you bring it out. You show people. I believe in that. I remember the first day I arrived at work in the bike and everybody in the office is out to look it all over.
I remember the first day I arrived at one of my clients, I go to big presentations where we’re presenting out the financial statements to a room full of hundred people. And I arrived with a motorcycle in a black leather jacket but they think it’s great, right? Because they’re expecting a guy in a blue suit and a red tie and a white shirt and, “Oh, a real person showed up.” When I opened my mouth and talk about statements I’m smart, I know what I’m talking about but I don’t have to look like the accountant.
John: Yeah, I love that. “A real person showed up.” That’s exactly it, man. It’s so sad that that’s what’s surprises them. It’s like, “Oh, my gosh.” I’ve also found that like I mean the profession and even lawyers and consultants and engineers I mean it’s so gray that even just a little hint of color is so vibrant and so no matter what it is that you do even if it’s not riding Harley’s, just let it out, because it’s going to be so bright that it’s impossible to ignore.
Andrew: Absolutely. When you sit down and talk to a client or talk to somebody in the business world, I mean that first five or ten minutes, I mean if you don’t know them and can’t talk about their passion or their hobby what do you do? You talk about the weather? You talk about the kids and the family? I mean great, right? I’ve got two clients actually who drag racing cars and they’re very passionate about it.
They love it. I mean I know a little bit about cars. I’m a bit of a wrench monkey with my motorcycle so I understand some of the stuff. So we sit down, we talk a little bit like so what have you done to your car lately? They get all excited and they get passionate and they tell me, I’ve just put new headers or new pipes or new wheels, whatever. But it’s a great a way to build a connection and it’s a great way to help your client know that you care about them and that you’re thinking about them and that you’re interested in what they do outside work.
John: Yeah, yeah. Well, this has been awesome, Andrew. I mean really, really fantastic but before I get on the airplane and fly up there to Eastern Canada, I do have my 17 rapid fire questions that I need to run you through before we go ride the Harley’s together. So let me fire this thing up and we’ll do it quickly. You’re going to be so good. Here we go, here we go. All right. I’ll start you out easy. Start you out with an easy one. What’s your favorite color?
John: Green. How about a least favorite color?
John: Black? Okay
Andrew: Too dark.
John: Yeah, too dark. Would you say you’re more Star Wars or Star Trek?
Andrew: Star Wars.
John: Star Wars. All right. How about for computers, are you more PC or Mac?
Andrew: I’m a Mac boy.
John: Mac. Oh, yeah. How about pens or pencils?
John: Pens, there you go. Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?
Andrew: I don’t like ice cream.
John: Okay. All right. How about favorite toppings on a pizza?
Andrew: Cheese. Extra cheese.
John: Are you more Sudoku or crossword puzzle?
Andrew: Crosswords for sure.
John: All right. This one might be easy but I want to ask you anyway. Do you prefer more planes, trains, or automobiles?
John: Motorcycles, all right, perfect. Are you more jeans or khakis?
John: Yeah, yeah. I was going to say with chaps and khakis and that’s weird. What do you have for breakfast? Typical breakfast?
John: Coffee, yeah, that makes sense. When it comes to financials, are you more balance sheet or income statement?
Andrew: Balance sheet.
John: Okay. Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
Andrew: Gosh, that’s a tough one. Liam Neeson would be my favorite actor, I think.
John: Oh, yeah. That’s a great answer. Great answer. Are you more of an early bird or night owl?
Andrew: Night owl.
John: Night owl, yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you have a movie that makes you cry?
Andrew: Yes. It’s a Wonderful Life.
John: That’s a good answer. That’s a really good answer. Do you have a favorite number?
John: And why is that?
Andrew: It’s nice and round.
John: Do you have a favorite band or musician?
Andrew: My favorite band would be AC/DC.
John: Oh, okay, okay. The last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
Andrew: Materially wise? My 2011 Fat Bob Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
John: Very cool, man. Very cool. Well, this has been so great, Andrew. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me on the Green Apple Podcast.
Andrew: No worries, John, thank you for having me.
John: Wow! That was really, really great. So many insights for everyone to take home and especially to see that you don’t have to be the stereotype to be successful. I really loved how Andrew said, if firms will let people do the things that they’re passionate about, they’ll get paid back in spades. It’s so nice to see that Andrew and the other partners there at Teed Saunders Doyle recognize this and genuinely want their teams and their people to be human. And like Andrew said, it enhances the client relationship once that they realize you’re not a one-dimensional type of person.
If you like to see some pictures of Andrew on his Harley or connect with him on social media, please go to greenapplepodcast.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big green button and do an anonymous research survey about firm culture, really help me out for the research I’m doing and the book I’m writing.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you’re using and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread which is to go out and be a green apple.