My Journey to Becoming a Chartered Accountant

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Posted by Sharon Perry on October 25, 2014 in Sharon's Corner, Blog

Over the years, I have learned that I LOVE to write. Throughout grade school, I always struggled with language arts. In fact, I was lucky if I got a C+ and as I got into high school, I was lucky if I got a C and even sometimes a C-. Math was never a problem – A+ all the way. Also loved Science once I got into high school. So learning that I love to write has really been about overcoming all those feelings of failures and being BAD at something. Which of course, I HATE being bad at anything. But just as writing FELL into my lap, I feel that becoming a Chartered Accountant also FELL into my lap.

So this blog is really inspired by a thank you card and a client who wanted to know more than what my Bio already shared. She wanted to know how I chose my career as a Chartered Accountant…but really, I think it chose me!
It

From the time I could remember, I always wanted to be a lawyer, just like my Uncle Gord who we always called Uncle Hot Dog. He was quite a bit younger than my dad (15 years I think) and was the super, cool and fun Uncle. So who wouldn’t want to follow in his footsteps? I probably would have made a good lawyer. I like to discuss (or argue?) and WIN of course.

Then I met my Grade 9 or 10 science teacher, Mrs. Boucher (sorry if I am spelling your name wrong, it’s been almost 20 years…yikes!!!).  We learned about genetics and I fell in LOVE w
Sharon wanted to be a doctor! ith DNA, chromosomes and so on. From that point on, I decided I was going to become a Doctor specializing in Obstetrics. I was going to deliver babies cuz I also loved babies then too. I probably would have made a good doctor as I am compassionate and caring.

Some could say that I fell off the rails a bit in High School. In fact, I dropped out and carried on through correspondence courses. To the surprise of my parents, I did quite well and even finished Math 11 in 6 weeks. You could say that school really bored me.

Of course I graduated and enrolled in Sciences at Douglas College. Sciences was not the same as it was in Mrs. Boucher’s class.  So again I dropped out but with a new plan. The following semester I was registered for the Business Administration program at Douglas. Now that was fun and exciting; I even took summer semester.

Finished my diploma and just wanted to be done with school. I wasn’t really interested in getting a degree. Some valuable advice (not that I wanted to hear from my dad at the time) was that a diploma wasn’t going to get me anywhere fast with a career or a job. So I enrolled in a private post-secondary school and did a Computer Networking Administrator program. Parts of it were exciting but not my passion for sure…although it has come in handy many of times. I graduated with a Certificate and again just wanted to be done with school.

Now was the time for me to get a job. Sure, I worked for my dad’s companies for almost 10 years at that point and had a ton of experience working in all areas of the company but now I had to get other experience and work for someone else.
Working for my dad.

This is where my career as a Chartered Accountant really started. My first job out of college was working for a Chartered Accountant who had a Public Practice firm. I was hired as a Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. What’s great about working in a small business is that you get exposed to lots of different tasks. Aside from answering phones, greeting clients, photocopying, faxing, etc….I also learned bookkeeping, accounting and taxes….OH MY!!!!

Within a few months of working at this firm, they asked if I would be interested in becoming a Chartered Accountant….this meant more schooling. Ironically, just months prior, my dad was still saying that a diploma and a certificate wasn’t enough. But I was done with school and just wanted to do something other than sitting in a class or reading. What was different this time around was I found my niche. I was really good at this stuff and I LOVED it. Seriously, playing with client’s income, deductions and credits which was making their refunds larger or balances smaller (legally of course) was SO MUCH FUN!!!

When you find something you love, the rest just seems to fall into place.

This small firm gave me my start and saw something special in me. I am forever grateful to them.

It is here that I found my passion for working with small business owners and families. It is here that I found my love for teaching and educating. It is here that I found my calling.

Path less travelled

What my journey has really shown me is that you don’t always have to follow the same path as everyone else. Yes I dropped out of high school which is frowned upon by society but it wasn’t the path for me. No I didn’t receive my Business Degree (although ALL the years of schooling more than make up for that), but taking a variety of different programs was the right path for me. Changing firms throughout my career gave me the exposure I needed to choose what type of firm I wanted to have.

I LOVE that I followed my own path and not the path I was expected to take.

I am a Chartered Accountant and Business Owner…I am here to serve my purpose which is serving my community and that is exactly what I do each and every day. And I wouldn’t change any of it!