Be Inspired

CPA Fall Recruit Experience featuring Cara Han



Our blog post this week comes from Cara Han. Cara just completed Core 2 of the CPA Professional Education Program, and is currently an accountant at Smythe CPA in Downtown Vancouver. Cara shares her CPA Fall Recruit experience with us.


What made you decide to participate in the CPA Fall Recruit?

My education was originally in tourism management, but as I was working in Downtown, I noticed all the building of accounting firms around me and I realized that those were the places where I could really start my career. So I went back to BCIT to complete the necessary accounting prerequisites to start the CPA Professional Education Program.


How many events did you attend and where?

I attended all of the events and didn’t limit myself to just the ones within Vancouver. For example, I went to an event out in Langley so that I can experience all the different types of events there are. The event in Langley was very different from the ones in Vancouver, because the clientele and company culture was very different.


What tips can you provide to students seeking employment with small, medium, and large firms?

I recommend that students be consistent in everything that they do, and show a genuine interest in the firm that you are interested in.


Be curious and open minded, because until you sign on the dotted line you don’t know if you will actually get the offer. Even if you feel as if you had a really good rapport with the company representative it isn’t official until you receive the offer.


I’d also say, learn as much as you can. It is good to keep your options open. It’s good to have a sense of which firm works best for you, but you should not limit yourself, because you may fit in at a firm you never thought you would.


And finally, never forget to follow up. If you meet 10 people, send 10 emails. And don’t just cut and paste a template from the internet. Show that you care and write a personalized email. Take the time to spell check and ensure that your grammar is correct. It may be a brief email, but it is noticed and appreciated.


How are you enjoying your work now?

I really enjoy working at Smythe CPA. It’s a mid-sized firm and I really appreciate the support system that they have in place for CFE writers. We have dedicated senior accountants to advise us when we have questions, in addition to a coach who helps to nurture our overall career development. As our firm is growing, we have many opportunities to grow with the firm.


Fall Recruit is a very stressful time for many students, what do you suggest they should do to alleviate that stress?

Exercise! For me personally, I always take the time to work out and go to the gym. I find that going to the gym is a very good way for me to get rid of tension and stress.


Do you have any final words of advice for students participating in the 2016 CPA Fall Recruit?

First impressions are really important, everything comes with practice. Don’t be disappointed if you aren’t successful the first time around during Fall Recruit, it isn’t the end of the world. Take it as a learning experience and identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you know what you can do to improve next year.

Also, go into the Fall Recruit with a positive attitude. Don’t show any negativity, because it isn’t professional. The context of your conversations with firm representatives is very important. It is important to be yourself and reinforce positivity.


Stay tuned for our next feature, where Cara discusses her top 7 tips for getting prepared for networking events!


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Learn more about the CPA program in BC by checking out the Become a CPA website.

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