Curious About the CPA Journey? Ask a CPA – Discover, Learn, Thrive!

Enrolled at the CPA Atlantic School of Business, the current cohort of students and candidates embodies the future of the CPA profession. Their relentless drive for success, thirst for knowledge, and inquisitive minds are set to play pivotal roles in shaping the landscape of the accounting profession in the years to come. Yet, the initial phase of their careers often leaves them curious about what to expect as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). In response, they were asked “If you could ask an experienced CPA anything, what would you like to know?” The resulting inquiries proved to be nothing short of thought-provoking and engaging, underscoring the evolving nature of the business world.

Explore the questions asked by CPA students and candidates, and gain insights from experienced CPAs.

What advice would you give to a future CPA?

Submitted by Luciano

“Choosing the CPA journey is a choice to do what you love for the rest of your life. As a CPA, the opportunities for career enjoyment and success are only limited by your imagination. To be successful in any lifelong dream, you will need a solid foundation in financial understanding to help facilitate your decisions throughout your life. Be open-minded as you are navigating the courses and working in the industry, so you can discover what matters most. Build relationships with other CPA students and members to help navigate your path to get the best out of the experience. Talk to your employer, peers, and colleagues about their journeys. Everyone will have a different journey, which is the best part of being a CPA. You decide your own path.”

– Heidi Hornmoen, CPA, CGA, Director, Business Systems Analysis, Shannex Incorporated

“Your reputation and character are of utmost importance, even when handling seemingly mundane tasks that may go unnoticed by others.”

– Nathan Priddle, CPA, CA, Senior Manager, Finance and Taxation, Bragg Group

“Your career should never feel like “work,” it should be your passion and fulfil you. If going to your job does not bring you joy (at least most days), then it may be time to change your path.”

– Sarah Doyle, CPA, CA, Senior Operations Officer.  Abegweit First Nation

“The office is not a democracy. While sometimes you can state your case, most times you need to accept the seniority of your superiors and use it as an opportunity to learn from their experiences.”

– Julie Yacyshyn, CPA, CA, Client Director, HIGHVERN

“Learn something new every day! Obtaining your CPA should not be your final achievement, but only the first step in many rungs of the ladder you will climb to grow and become better. Also, maintain your integrity at all costs – it takes years to build but can be lost, along with your career, in one moment of bad judgement.”

– Blair Corkum, CPA, CA, Financial Planner and Financial Divorce Specialist

What’s the best part about having your CPA designation?

Submitted by Elizabeth

“It provides you with earned credibility and the skills to pursue your dreams!”

– Amanda Whitewood, FCPA, FCMA

“It opens a lot of doors. I wish I had completed mine when I was 20 years younger.”

– Judith Kovacs, CPA

“Having a CPA designation allows you to work in a variety of not-for-profit and for-profit enterprises. Mobility is great.”

– Jane Biekens, CPA, CA

“The best part is the analytical skillset you develop as part of your training. The credits/debits are a small part of my job at this point. Also, people tend to have a lot of respect for the accounting designation.”

– Julie Yacyshyn, CPA, CA

“The instant credibility. I work in an industry where most of my colleagues are over the age of 55 and I’m 31. What I may lack in experience, I make up for in education. My colleagues and clients know I’m an expert in my field and treat me accordingly.”

– Colin Beck, CPA

“For me, it’s been a master key of sorts to open many doors – to conversations, opportunities, and more, from cool volunteer opportunities to work that makes an impact.”

– Mike Kennedy, CPA, CA

How do you think your role, and future CPA roles, will change with increased technology and AI in the workplace?

Submitted by Emily

“There are a lot of unknowns with how Al will affect CPAs’ jobs. I work in public accounting, and I suspect that Al will help us with several parts of our jobs (bookkeeping, audit, data collection, data mining etc.). There could be a level of threat to certain areas of our business (bookkeeping and financial statement preparation, for example). But using Al to help us reduce our workload in certain areas will allow us to focus our time and energy on other areas, such as developing client relationships, tax planning, and other consulting work. AI might also improve work-life balance in some instances.”

– Jessica Smith, CPA, Manager, Arsenault Best Cameron Ellis

“In one word, our role will change enormously. I have always viewed CPAs as forward-thinking and a bridge between new technology and their clients or businesses. We have, and should continue to, lean into these advancements, because if we don’t, others will and we’ll be left providing less value. This is even more pressing as we are at the dawn of Al making a massive impact in all facets of our lives. Not only should we be present to help to guide and steer that transformation, but we should also realize how it will impact our profession. So many basic accounting roles are going to be eliminated, but even some mid-level positions that gather and analyze data will be automated. However, new roles will be created to specialize in these technologies, and all senior positions will need to understand how to utilize the tools and will need to be constantly learning.”

– Chad Heron, CPA, CA, CEO, COWS

“I think my job will get more interesting; less time doing repetitive tasks and more time spent on strategy, management, etc.”

– Anonymous

“I don’t think that we will be replaced, but rather if we embrace technology, we can become more efficient and enhance our offerings to our clients.”

– Julie Yacyshyn, CPA, CA

Let’s say you have a slow day at work: what would be the best use of your time for long-term growth? (e.g. learning new skills, helping coworkers, talking at the water cooler, reading books, etc.)

Submitted by Anonymous

“Assuming your manager is aware and you have a good employer, I recommend proactively reaching out to various people within the organization, expressing your availability and eagerness to learn and contribute in any capacity possible. This approach can enable you to explore different aspects of the organization that you might not typically encounter, enhance your abilities as a collaborative team member, and gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s operations.”

– Nathan Priddle, CPA, CA,

“I consider mentoring or learning new skills as a part of my daily activities regardless of work pace. Both activities will support your success as well as the success of your peers and your organization. Actively helping others around you succeed will solidify you as a leader within your organization and someone to count on for help and support. Expanding your knowledge of the industry your organization operates in by researching new aspects that will move your organization forward is also time well spent.”

– Heidi Hornmoen, CPA, CGA,

Originally published in CPA Nova Scotia’s NOVA CPA.

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