I started my own boutique firm, Integral Accounting in 2016, after working as a finance manager for the Regional District of North Okanagan, and a controller in the private sector. Prior to my accounting career I had worked as a florist and as a parts person in a Yamaha dealership. I went into accounting because…
I initially completed an Accounting & Finance diploma at Selkirk College in Castlegar, then I completed a post-diploma management degree at the University of Lethbridge. I also hold a Certificate in Local Government Management from the University of Victoria, and a Certificate in Risk Management from the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. I did all of this, and also achieved my CPA and CA designations while being a single parent. My daughter was 8 when I finished.
Why did you become a CPA?
I always knew that the CPA designation was well regarded. I started working in public practice immediately after finishing my degree, and it quickly became clear that the designation was the way to success in that field. After leaving public practice I could see that having the designation would also open doors for me in the private sector.
How did your CPA designation help you excel in your career? What opportunities did it provide?
Having my CPA designation opened doors everywhere I went. Potential employers had a very favourable impression of the designation and what I could bring to the table. Most employers were not even willing to consider someone without the designation.
What’s the most memorable moment in your path to becoming a CPA?
I’m very proud of the fact that I did my entire education while being a single parent. My parents would help out when they could, but we weren’t living anywhere nearby. So I really only got a break from parenting a couple of times a year.
What inspired you to start your own practice and what have you learned from this experience?
At that time, I felt that my career had stagnated, and I’d also encountered a significant career disappointment that made me rethink what my future should look like.
There has been a surprising amount of learning and challenges in starting Integral Accounting, but I’m very glad that I did. Everything I touch has to be set up from scratch, and that’s a real opportunity to think about how you want things to be, because you’ve got to live with it. I didn’t have to inherit anything that was done by someone else, so it’s been very fresh.
I also get to choose every single one of my clients, which is a bonus! I’m especially encouraged by the fact that I’ve been successful despite not having a lot of mentorship. I’ve been told that I’ve got a lot of guts, and I guess that’s true. It’s not the first time I’ve made a scary decision!
Can you share an interest outside of work that you are passionate about?
I’m an avid reader, and typically read about 100 books each year. I enjoy a wide variety of genres, including history, world religions, civilizations, economics, finance, astronomy, physics, science fiction, fantasy, and suspense. I read everything on an e-reader because then I can bring all 995 of my books with me.