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What Our Clients Say About Us

Looking for someone to help guide your business? We are committed to helping businesses (and their owners!) succeed by providing the best accounting services for your business needs. But don't just take our word for it: read what our past and present clients have to say about our services.



"As a business owner in Port Townsend we have worked with Charley and his talented staff for many years on both a business and personal level.

Four years ago I lost my founding partner to cancer and this triggered the buyout of Edensaw and the real estate from his estate. Charley and his team worked with me on a solution that involved financing from the SBA via First Sound Bank. The Business Guides made this whole process much easier and always had an answer for my questions.

With Charley and his team working for me I was able to sleep at night knowing I am in good hands."

Jim “Kiwi” Ferris, President, Edensaw Woods
SBA 2016 Washington State Small Business Person of the Year



"As an extremely busy business owner, I would like to recommend the services of The Business Guides. I have been using The Business Guides for my accounting/tax purposes for the past year, and have been exceptionally pleases and satisfied with their services and expert advice. They do an excellent job, are always punctual, and always return my phone calls in a very short time and are ready to help. They have lightened my work load, and I value their service."

Donna Murphy Doney, Managing Broker/Owner, Townsend Bay Property Management, Inc.



"I had already worked with Charley Kanieski for several years on my personal finances when, starting in 1999 and in partnership with five others, I engaged with him to advise Townsend Bay Marine (TBM), our new luxury yacht and repair business in Port Townsend. Every year we relied on Charley’s expertise to optimize the personal savings and tax exposures of a business that experienced large variations in activity and profitability. As CFO, I relied on Charley’s experience with small businesses like ours to operate safely in an environment of constantly changing tax regulations.

Sixteen years later, when we were ready to sell TBM, Charley and his team at the Business Guides provided us with thoughtful and analytical guidance for our exit planning. After we lined up a local buyer, he helped establish the terms of a sale, including allocation of the purchase price, that would be fair to both parties without being a detriment to ourselves.

This was necessary because the transaction---the sale of a for-profit business and privately owned buildings on leased public Port property---was complex and challenging for the buyer and its bank. Good communication was essential to keeping the deal on track. As we worked through many iterations of the extensive documentation required, Charley kept a weather eye on evolving specific provisions to make sure they remained compatible with the original terms. I felt he was personally invested in our success.

And Charley’s review with each partner of the personal financial and tax implications of the transaction paid off after closing. By understanding how to manage my tax obligations by using retirement plans, compensation through payroll, and estimated tax payments, my retirement year-end was straightforward and predictable. I was able to minimize my taxes and maximize the sale’s contribution to my retirement. I rang in the new year under the stars in a California desert while the new owners prospered in our old shop.

Thanks, Charley."

David King, Former Owner and CFO, Townsend Bay Marine



"Whenever people ask me if I feel nervous about the financial risks we have taken, I say two things:

1. Every day we work hard enough so that we have confidence in claiming "No one can say we didn't try our absolute best to make this work." In giving this our ALL, we are hoping to live up to our own vision for a thriving, rurally-based, agriculturally-rooted, sustainably inspired enterprise while also making good on the pledges of support we have received from our community.

And I say:

2. We are working with Charley and his team and they are watching our backs to help us make smart business decisions!

I want you to know how important it is to us to have the coaching and technical insight you offer. It gives us a great feeling of security to have your minds involved."

Crystie Kisler, Co-Owner, Finnriver Farm & Cidery



"Charley helped us to organize our thoughts on what we wanted to achieve with our business, along with our personal goals. Working with him, we developed an exit strategy. It was extremely helpful in making us see some of the needs that a new owner would be looking for in a business and helped to make the business saleable. I believe we worked with him for four or five years in this capacity. At one point we met on a regular basis and later on as needed.

He served as our accountant for about 15 years and still provides that service for us. He provided advice on many areas and was always a good ear to run ideas past. If he didn't have the information we needed, he was great in recommending an experienced person.

I highly recommend him."

Charles Landau, Former Owner, Timbercraft Homes



"I have run a small architecture office here in Port Townsend for 15 years. The business started out as Richard Berg Architects and is now called Terrapin Architecture. While my wife Kristin isn't actively engaged in the business on a day-to-day basis, she is my strategic planning partner and attends our monthly guide meetings with Charley. In addition to the architecture business, Kristin and I are developing a small pocket neighborhood of cottages just a block from where we live in Uptown Port Townsend, called Secret Garden Cottages. We consult with Charley regarding the architecture business as well as the cottage development.

Charley has been our tax accountant for about a dozen years. We started doing Business Guides work with him in 2006, just as our business was beginning to grow from a 3-person operation to an office of 6 people. At that time we realized we had exhausted our intuitive ability to run our business and were in need of a teacher to help us move to the next level of profitability and good business practice. Charley has taught us to effectively track our financial situation on a monthly basis, understand how to use financial reports, monitor our cash flow, and be aware of projecting work load and cash flow into the future. In addition to his help with understanding our business financially, Charley asks us questions and engages in thoughtful discussion that helps us to create an enjoyable work place for me and my employees, and a business we can be proud of. This work is ongoing and immensely helpful.

Given the difficulties that have affected my industry so dramatically for the past two years, I would venture to say that without Charley's guidance, my business might not exist at this point. Instead, we have managed to weather the storm. We currently have a crew of 4 people and architectural work coming in the door. Likewise, the cottage development has not proceeded exactly as we had planned when we started it in 2007, but with Charley's guidance, our project is hanging on and moving forward as well.

I highly recommend Charley as a Business Guide and financial adviser. His expertise is invaluable and the process of working with him is very enjoyable."

Richard and Kristin Berg, Owners of Terrapin Architecture, PC



"Just a little about me: I'm the former Mayor of Port Townsend (12 yrs), retired from an insurance and benefits company which I sold to two key employees, with Charley's help. I have lived in Port Townsend for 34 years and co-founded the Northwest Maritime Center, which was just recently completed. I am also on the Board of Directors of First Federal Bank.

I have known Charley and worked with him for the past 20 years, and because of his advance planning with me, I was able to retire. He is currently working with me on "The Carwash" business, which will open this fall in Port Townsend. I am well connected to the business community, and am asked for advice and provide mentorship quite a bit. The first thing I tell people is to meet with Charley Kanieski and have him review the opportunity with you.

He also works with First Federal Bank, along with other financial institutions, for his clients. He provides a lot of credibility and is well respected by the financial institutions. If a loan comes in with Charley involved, it gives the bank an immediate comfort level with the numbers---they know that they can rely on them.

I can unequivocally recommend Charley."

Brent Shirley, Former Owner, Brent Shirley Insurance