I’m Wayne, a partner in a medium-sized accounting firm in Waterloo Region.
How did you decide which initial career to pursue?
In high school I had an interest in business and I could do reasonably well in math classes, so accounting seemed like a good career choice for me.
Where did you receive your education and how did you find this helped you to begin your career?
I went to Wilfrid Laurier University for my undergraduate degree – the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration program. It provided a good general business management education and was well regarded as a program suited for aspiring chartered accountants. It provided all the university credits I needed for the Chartered Accountant qualification process.
Who provided the most support to you as you were getting started and how did you connect with this person or people?
When I graduated and joined Clarkson Gordon (which later became Ernst & Young) to start my articling period the partners and managers in the firm were very helpful. The firm had a well structured training program and the partners and managers took a personal interest in the career development of new staff members.
Please briefly outline your career path beginning from when you first started out after graduating, to where you currently are in your career.
I worked for Clarkson Gordon (Ernst & Young) for 10 years after graduation. During that time I earned my Chartered Accountant designation, enjoyed a 2-year secondment to a UK firm, and worked my way up to audit manager with a specialty in insurance services. I then joined a major Canadian life insurance company in their corporate finance department. I had several different roles in my 8 years with that company – including controller of a trust company subsidiary, a member of various major projects including demutualization and initial public offering, as well as director of finance for a business division. I then returned to public practice where I joined a former Ernst & Young colleague as partner in a local firm of Chartered Professional Accountants.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
A great deal of time as an accountant, especially in a senior role, is spent communicating with other people either in person or in writing. It is worth making an effort to continually work on your ability to converse easily with people and write in a clear and concise manner.