We asked three CPAs about the best career advice they’ve ever received

Three professionals share the pearls of wisdom that guide their career decisions and daily work.

Edison Wen, CPA, CGA, CIA

Tax & audit partner, CLW Partners LLP, Calgary

Edison Wen

“The best advice I’ve received is to choose a job that I’m passionate about. I started my career at a real-estate company. It was a great workplace, but it didn’t fit me well. Then I met the owner of an accounting firm, who asked me, ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ I realized my true passion is to help business owners from different industries and professions, so I changed jobs. I’m passionate about public accounting, especially when I tailor tax planning and solutions for my clients and I see they’re happy and relieved. It gives me a sense of achievement.

You can tell you’re passionate about your job when you go above and beyond what’s requested, because you want to.” 

Sarah Noftell, CPA, CA

Senior manager, Indirect tax, PWC, Toronto

Sarah Noftell

“I had a university professor who said, ‘People who don’t set goals never achieve anything.’ It seemed harsh, but she was right. Setting goals for yourself, whether for what you want to accomplish this week or in 10 years, gives you a focal point and a framework for decision-making. Does this project get me closer to my goals? More recently, I received the advice to be flexible and open-minded. If an opportunity isn’t exactly what you imagined, it might still be the right decision. That’s how I recently landed in Toronto. The opportunity wasn’t what I was expecting, but it’s perfect. It brings me closer to where I ultimately want to be. So set goals and be flexible about what path you take to get there.”

Kevin Unger, CPA, CMA, MBA

VP Finance, Fresh Tracks Canada, Vancouver 

Kevin Unger

"Over the years, I’ve been blessed with great mentors whose advice has stuck with me. Early on, someone gave me this advice for any endeavour, whether it be my career, family life or hobbies: ‘Pay attention to the details. Momentum is everything; keep it up at all costs. Deliver more than what’s expected of you.’ These are really keys  to success: I even made decals of them for my office wall. Another thing I’ve learned from mentors is that, when crisis strikes, leaders need to be visible and show confidence. You’re the shock absorber between the events swirling around and people’s desire for stability.

REVIVE YOUR PASSION AT WORK

If you’re no longer feeling engaged in your work, reboot your inspiration with these ideas:

- Reset your mindset. Focus on the positive, find inspiration in past successes and choose solutions over ongoing stress.

- Cut out complainers. Research has shown that emotions, especially negative ones, are contagious. Surround yourself with positive people to encourage better creativity and collaboration.

- Grow your skills. No one likes to feel stagnant. Identify skills you’d like to learn or develop, and see whether your workplace will support your goals.

- Tweak your job description. Find ways to do more of what you enjoy (and less of what you don’t). If you can’t, you may want to look elsewhere.

About the Author

Jaclyn Law


Jaclyn Law is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto.

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