Driving communities with affordable and sustainable transportation: Profile on Ian Boorman 

As the first carshare co-operative in North America, Modo has been a leader in developing the sharing economy in Metro Vancouver. Not only did Modo pave the way for Vancouver to become the current carshare capital of North America, but the technology Modo developed for its booking procedures revolutionized how people could conveniently access vehicles when needed.

Among the leadership team that drives Modo is Ian Boorman, CPA, CGA, director of finance. “Our purpose is to transform communities by connecting people to places in a way that’s affordable, convenient, inclusive, and sustainable,” he says.

Originally from Gloucester, UK, Ian began his career in London before his love for travelling and the outdoors transported him to New Zealand. It was there where he took on the role of finance director for Teletrac Navman, which helps businesses connect and manage their fleet of company vehicles through GPS technology.

In 2017, Ian moved to Vancouver after having visited the city many times and fallen in love with it. Ian joined Modo in 2018, where he says “I am loving being able to bring my skills and experience to such a vibrant and committed business.”

We talked to Ian to learn about his career journey and what he does to achieve work/ life balance.

Why did you decide to become a CPA and how did you begin your career?

“Although my academic background is in law, I found that my aptitude for numbers and interest in business led me to switch career paths after the completion of my post-graduate studies. I began training at a medium-sized accountancy practice in Oxfordshire.

I later moved to a management consulting/private equity firm in London, where I spent seven years as financial controller and then director of finance/operations. This role really shaped my career, giving me not just a great grounding in finance, but also the opportunity to get involved in all areas of running a dynamic and business.”

Did you have a mentor who shaped your career? Can you tell me about them and how they helped guide you?

“In my first commercial role, we had a board member who had been a Big 4 partner, a finance director, a corporate financier, and a farmer. He had an amazing range of skills and business experience and I learned a great deal from him, both about technical accounting and, more importantly, about the needed to advise a board as finance director.

His approach was to challenge me to stretch myself into new areas at every opportunity, and to take the time to figure out the answers myself, however painful that might be. He had a razor-sharp mind and would put me on the spot in board meetings, challenging me to know my numbers inside and out and really understand what made the business tick – it was uncomfortable at times, but it worked!

Above all, his legacy was to strive for excellence in all things and to have a huge amount of fun while doing so, and both of those concepts have stuck with me throughout my career.”

What has been your proudest career moment?

“I’ve been lucky to work for a series of successful and growing businesses. However, my first role in New Zealand was for a large print media group, which was in serious financial difficulties. There was a very real threat that would be breached and that the business would fold.

I was part of the team that, over a period of nearly a year, worked through multiple due diligence processes to negotiate the successful sale of the business, saving 1,600 jobs. It was an immensely proud moment for me when the deal closed, and I greatly value having been part of the dedicated and talented finance team that achieved this.”

What’s your greatest passion in life?

“Music. I have been a guitarist for 30 years, and a pianist for longer. For me, it’s one of the best ways to relax whether I’m on my own or playing with other people. It’s also a skill that you can never master, and so I love the challenge of continually improving my playing and learning to play pieces that had seemed out of reach for me.”

Tell us about an app that you regularly use that has been life changing.

“I am something of a fitness app junkie and, being an accountant, I do like to track my numbers whether I’m rowing, running, or in the gym. TrainingPeaks is one of my favourites, because it lets you manage your training across multiple sports and monitor your cumulative fatigue level. It is a great way to stay motivated and it also helps you prevent overtraining and burnout.”

As Modo continues to find new ways to serve communities across BC, Ian points to a quote from former Italian race-car champion, Mario Andretti, that he draws inspiration from: “If everything seems under control, then you’re not going fast enough.”

Ian explains, “This quote speaks to me as we continually need to be pushing boundaries. It’s a reminder to never sit back and enjoy the status quo when you could be improving processes and quality to make a real difference to your business.”

Interested in learning more about Ian and Modo’s success in disrupting the personal transportation industry? Check out our counterpart part on CPABC’s Industry Update.