We asked three accountants how they cope with turbulence

Experienced accountants talk about how they handle economic, regulatory and workplace uncertainty.

Sheila Filion, BComm, CPA, CA

Partner, Assurance, Virtus Group Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors LLP
Regina 

Sheila Filion"Saskatchewan’s economy is strong, and we’re paying attention. We know it can’t last forever. We’re an independent firm and we’re nimble, so when something happens — whether it’s with our competitors, clients, industry or legislation — we can seize opportunities to address it. We’re not intimidated by change. We’re always thinking forward, but we keep in the back of our minds the downside of the decisions we make and how we would rectify things if they don’t work out. We’re impacted by many sources of turbulence; the biggest one is staffing. There are lots of opportunities in Saskatchewan and we recruit the best people who are high performers in high demand. To help with retention, we pay a lot of attention to our people. We create relationships within the firm with a strong mentoring program."

Dawn McGeachy, BAccS, FCPA, FCGA, FCUIC, ACUIC

Licensed public accountant, Colby McGeachy Professional Corporation
Almonte, Ont.

Dawn McGeachy"We’re a full-service licensed public accounting firm. We’ve been going through a period of rapid growth. That’s a good thing but also a very difficult thing. We’re growing, but we don’t have a crystal ball and we can’t anticipate if we’ll continue at this pace. I’ve learned that you have to have solid policies and procedures. Not only the required quality assurance standards but also operating procedures, so you know you can rely on that system and ensure that every file goes through the same quality control. If you have those checklists, they help when things are chaotic. A lot of smaller firms are running so hard, they don’t think they have time to implement it.  But it’s really critical and it’s about quality — protecting the client and protecting the firm."

Shawn Burns, CPA, CMA, MBA

Founder, CEO and environmental and social specialist, Core Value Concepts Ltd.
Vancouver

Shawn Burns"We help companies with ecological and social licensing. In the resource sector, we set up companies so they’re environmentally and socially acceptable to the government, and put people in the area they want to operate. There are accounting issues related to nonfinancial accounting; there’s a raft of things to comply with and report on. Nonfinancial reporting standards are evolving.  To stay on top of changes, get involved: join an organization, sponsor research or volunteer on review boards. You’ll keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening but also represent your firm and your clients’ interests. You’ll be more successful if you participate in the evolution rather than wait for some bulletin to be put out."

Hit a patch of turbulence?

Find practical tips in CPA Canada’s professional development archive.

- "Build Your Resilience:  Thriving through Change and Complexity" — See cpacanada.ca/webinarresilience

- "Scenario Planning:  A Three-Part Series" — See cpacanada.ca/scenarioplanning

- "20 Questions Not-for- Profit Board Directors Should Ask about Overseeing Management of Risk" — See cpacanada.ca/20questionsrisk

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