Be the Change you Want to See in the World
In my experience, most accountants get into the gig because they like math and usually somewhat introverted. Accountants just hide behind their calculators and crunch numbers all day right? Their path: Graduate high school -> take a Bachelors degree in Accounting -> get hired at an accounting firm -> get their accounting designation. Work. Become a partner. Retire.
The fact that my life didn’t take that path and the reasons I became an accountant may help you learn a bit about me and why I feel my practice is different. Here’s my story.
I can’t really recall a time when my philanthropic spirit was not burning. At my high school graduation, I was honored with the Rotary Award for Academic Achievement and Social Responsibility – a scholarship requiring both Honor Roll marks and history of contributions to both the school and community at large. I headed off to University to be a doctor – I wanted to make a difference and give back to a profession that had made a significant impact to my childhood.
After 1.5 years I realized the medical profession was not going to be a fit for me – too much bureaucracy, limitations on care, wait times, etc. I also discovered a program at the University of Alberta that had not caught my eye previously – Environmental and Conservation Sciences. So I went home at Christmas and with bated breath broke the news to my parents. And I have certainly been blessed with the most amazing set of parents – I believe my mom’s words were “we were wondering how long it was going to be before we had this conversation”… with the unwavering support of my parents I transferred to the new program and excelled, finding on my name on the Dean’s List and joy in my heart.
While I loved my studies – specifically Environmental Economics – the study of how environmental policy drives behaviours and how to drive effective policy to protect the environment – I was very active in the university community. From being an RA to chairing our residence Safety and Wellness Committee to being a Trainer and Team Leader with the university Safewalk program, I was out there. When I left dorm-style residence after 4 years, I received one of the most coveted residence awards – the Marc Howery Memorial Award.
I was lucky enough in summers after the 3rd and 4th years of my degree to obtain student research positions. This opened my eyes to my future – I realized that this chosen path was laden with bureaucracy and inability to elicit change. Research provides evidence but not action. You just need to follow Greta Thurnberg to get an idea of what I’m talking about but rewind the clock almost 20 years…
So back to the drawing board I went… I knew I wanted to make a difference. I knew that I wanted to love what I did everyday. I knew I was wired to analytical, critical thinking and logical work. I had my goal. I just needed to figure how I was going to fulfill that goal.
With my Science degree wrapping up and questions on my mind, I applied to do a Business after degree – a 2 year program where I would earn a second Bachelor’s Degree. With some doubling up of credits, a course on correspondence and permission to take course overloads, I completed the degree in Business Law and Economics, with Distinction in one calendar year, wrote the Law School Admissions Test and had my sights set on Dalhousie Law School, the home of one of Canada’s preeminent environmental law programs. During this time I also was elected President of the Residence Halls Association, representing the 6,000 university students living in residence on the Students’ Union and to the University administration and created, coordinated and hosted the first Residence Leadership Conference in western Canada.
Now life took a personal turn here and I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. Instead of moving to Nova Scotia to go to law school, I moved to Vancouver for personal reasons. I was hired in an administrative role at an environmental consulting firm and within a few months was offered a position as Project Accountant and began taking accounting courses at night school. I legitimately thought I had the best job on the planet – it combined both of my degrees, my analytical brain was in heaven and worked as part of the project team. I realized that this is what I was meant to do. I would be remiss to not mention that my mom is also a designated accountant and so I should have probably realized this sooner but I have no regrets over my decisions. It makes me who I am and gives me a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on. I committed to accounting and decided that I wanted to pursue the CA designation which meant leaving my Project Accountant job to join a CA firm.
The next several years were a grind of courses, the CA program and being an articling student. I did everything from auditing large not for profits to being a contract controller to working with family farms. While I volunteered less during this time, it remained an important part of my life.
I attained my CA and worked for big accounting firms and small accounting firms. I also ventured into working as an accountant in a big multinational, publicly traded corporation and taught in the CA program. No matter where I worked, I loved my job and learned a ton but always felt like I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I couldn’t find that work-life balance and aligned values that I was seeking. I was contributing but felt I was not making a real difference.
I came to the realization that I needed to create what I desired. In opening my own accounting practice, I feel like I found my square hole. I like to challenge norms, I like to think outside the box for solutions, I like to continuously improve and embrace technology. I believe in community, I believe in supporting my neighbor, I believe that what you give comes back tenfold. I believe that a client relationship is an investment – your success will lead to my success. I want to see us all shoot for the stars and achieve our goals.
Aspire. I’d like to help you get there.