Many people think the career of a professional accountant is boring. I can tell you that it can be very exciting, diversified and different than what the stereotype would suggest. We each have stories and experiences that disprove the stereotype, including me.
I began my CPA career as an auditor, much like many others. Some may think that auditing is boring, but I loved meeting people and seeing how different businesses brought their ideas to market. For me, it was exciting to see how food was produced in large processing operations, how paper was manufactured, how the automobile industry works, and how research and development ideas make it from the drawing board to the market place. Being an auditor gives you a front row seat to corporations’ inner-workings.
As I advanced in my career and continued to develop my competencies, I joined the Canadian Federal Tax Administration and developed competencies in forensic auditing and criminal investigation. With Department of Justice and Federal Law Enforcement, I worked on very exciting law enforcement from the investigation side: gathering and then presenting evidence in court as an expert witness to prove beyond a reasonable doubt commercial crimes. The crimes we prosecuted varied from white collar crimes to organized crime, such as embezzlement, money laundering, tax evasion, human trafficking, drug smuggling, drug trade, weapons smuggling, weapons trade, and terrorist financing. As forensic auditors, we followed the money and then law enforcement officers made arrests. It was a dynamic duo in the fight against organized criminals, one I enjoyed being a part of—and am proud of.
Later in my career, I moved into the executive ranks of the Federal Tax Administration and became involved in inter-governmental relations, strategic planning and developing a competency-based human resource management system.
Boring? I think not.
As profession accountants we have the opportunity to make a difference in so many ways, including giving back to our communities. Our communities need professional accountants to take leadership roles by volunteering on boards and committees. I learned so much from volunteering, whether it was for local athletic teams, municipal affairs, my church and the profession itself—including my current role as chair of the CPA Canada Board of Directors (and not one of these roles was boring). The profession needs volunteers to help advance as the best profession in the world. Trust me, you get back more than you give.
If we all shared the stories of our experiences, the boring stereotype would never be associated with what we do or the potential of what we can do. A career as a professional accountant is a blank sheet of paper and we each can write our adventures.
It is an adventure like no other.
In this video, Terry LeBlanc shares his insights on why accountancy is an exciting career choice.