We asked three CPAs how they cultivate creativity

Creativity gives accountants an edge in problem-solving. Here’s how three professionals keep thinking outside the box.

HANEN KHEMAKHEM, CPA, CGA

Professor, Department of Accounting Studies, School Of Management,
University of Quebec in Montreal

Hanen Khemakhem“I teach corporate accounting and conduct research at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Creativity is essential for my job. I’m always seeking ideas for research, articles, accounting problems and how to teach complex subjects. I ask myself two questions: why should I do something in the same classic way? How can I do it differently? To get new perspectives, I travel, attend conferences, meet different people and collaborate with professionals from other fields. Being active — running, walking or doing yoga — also helps me organize my ideas. Sometimes it’s hard for accountants to be creative because of all the regulations we need to follow, but I think the willingness or desire to be creative is the key.” 

TYLER BRADLEY, CPA, CA

Senior manager, LiveCa LLP, Toronto

Tyler Bradley

 “Travel helps me stay creative. I don’t mean staying at resorts. I take at least two to four weeks and immerse myself in other places and cultures. Recently I’ve backpacked through Europe and spent time in Barbados. Travel is really helpful as a reset: experiencing new things, unfamiliar foods, a different language. Getting outside my comfort zone and meeting people from diverse backgrounds give me a fresh perspective. When I come back, I look at things in a slightly different light and with a clear mind. There are times when you can get caught up in work issues and be stuck in that bubble. It helps to come back from a new experience and maybe see a solution that was unclear before.”

LESLIE VICE, CPA, CMA

Accountant, Ecommerce and marketing manager, Different Bikes North, Vancouver

Leslie Vice"I’ve always had an analytical side and I love crunching numbers. But I also have a background in digital media and visual arts, so I have a natural drive to cultivate my creativity. It gives me the ability to think outside the box and communicate effectively, whether I’m developing marketing materials or helping people understand our company’s financial position. No matter what profession you’re in, creatively presenting content can really help get your message across. I’m also a parent: I have a six-month-old and a four-and-a-half-year-old. Being a mom, I have to be creative all the time! I think everyone has a creative side: it’s just figuring out how to channel it.”

About the Author

Jaclyn Law


Jaclyn Law is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto.

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