Editor's note: Wise guides

Okey Chigbo, Editor of CPA Magazine, introduces the features in the October 2015 issue.

In Homer’s Odyssey the original Mentor taught and coached Odysseus’ son Telemachus while Odysseus was off killing Trojans and having other excellent adventures. For much of history, humanity has followed that mode and most mentors have been male. But things have since changed. With the influx of women into the workforce in our age, women mentors abound. Today, we recognize the importance of role models who act as guides in the workplace and in society. That’s why when we heard that CPA Canada’s Women’s Leadership Council and Ambassadors’ Group was putting together a list of female role models in the accounting profession, we knew we had to draw upon it for a feature on some of these outstanding women.

"No Woman Left Behind," by Susan Smith, is a photo essay of leading women in the accounting profession drawn primarily from the Women’s Leadership Council list. These powerful women have lots of insights to impart both about women in the workplace and about mentoring other women. For example, Vinetta Peek, executive VP, marketing and business development, CPA BC, believes that "not only do women benefit when they are supported, but organizations also benefit by saving the cost of retraining when unhappy employees leave." Tania Clarke, CFO of Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc., in Montreal, "believes that mentoring is important in all areas, but that she can make the biggest impact coaching in the interpersonal/emotional intelligence area, since navigating the corporate culture, politics and personalities in an organization can be challenging." Please read their words of wisdom.

Caveat emptor has been the watchword for consumers and investors since social media came into being. By now, virtually everyone is aware that criminals of all sorts have glommed onto the new media and fooled the unwary. But how many know that people who investigate fraud also use social media to nab these criminals? In the article "Facebooking Fraudsters", Yan Barcelo writes that social media and the Internet are major tools for uncovering fraudulent activities. "Fraudulent insurance claims form the bulk of these investigations," but they also include other forms of fraud. Investigators rely on the social media truth that "everybody’s connected in one way or other; everybody has a digital footprint, some public, some private." The story shows how investigators rely on a fraudster’s vanity: most people, especially those under 40, like to show off their ill-gotten gains. This is a fascinating read.

Our final story, "Buyer Prepare," by Susan Smith, looks into investing in the US real estate market. The key takeaway from this story is that if everyone and their dog believe an investment is hot, it is not.