Editor's note: All in the family

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

Like father, like son, like mother, like daughter. While this old saw might make many people today shudder, we all know of families where children duplicate their parents’ choices in the work world. It’s also not hard to find a family with a grandparent, parent and offspring who have all gone into the same profession. But how many have heard about a family with 13 accountants?

Our cover story is about the Murphy/Cassidys, a PEI clan that has accumulated that number of accountants through birth and marriage. In "13 Kin and Accounting", contributing editor Lisa van de Geyn recounts the remarkable story of this extraordinary family. It all began with matriarch Kathleen Keefe Murphy, born in 1927, who "instilled an academic work ethic in her children." All eight of them graduated from university, with three — two brothers and a sister — becoming professional accountants. The sister, Mary Jane, married an accountant, Mike Cassidy, and they began the other branch of this accounting family tree. "History repeats itself with the second generation of CPAs in the Murphy and Cassidy clan," writes van de Geyn. "They mirror the first." The entertaining story of this royal family of CPAs is uplifting and instructive.

"It’s no secret that the retail apparel industry is producing more fashion victims than victors these days," writes Rosalind Stefanac in our second feature, "From Racks to Ruin?" First, US giant Target "missed its mark" and retreated to the States, and then major Canadian chains Reitmans and Jacob shut down dozens of stores. What’s going on? Is fashion retail dying in Canada? "The picture is more complicated than it first appears," writes Stefanac. Read more here.

Trite comment: accountants are much more than numbers people. Novel comment: some accountants invest great effort in making the world a better place than they found it. Few have done this better than Ken Dick, former CFO of World Vision Canada and founder of Speroway, a charity that helps the poor, especially children. With the assistance of volunteer health workers — doctors, dentists, nurses — Speroway has helped the poor around the world, in such places as Haiti, Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Ontario. Writer Roberta Staley travelled with Dick and Speroway to El Salvador to record their operations firsthand. In "Man on a Mission", she writes of Dick: "Helping the globe’s most destitute is the anchor for how he engages with the world." According to Staley, it is more than just idealism; "it is Dick’s well-honed management and business acumen that has driven his success." Heartwarming and absorbing, this superb story shows that an accountant’s achievements can go beyond borders.