Episode 7: From CPA auditor to personal finance educator

Educator, author and radio columnist Pierre-Yves McSween, MBA, FCPA auditor, explains how he leveraged his accounting knowledge and developed assets for the public to succeed with personal finances. (French only)

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In season 2, episode 7 of the Foresight podcast, Jean-Sébastien speaks with Pierre-Yves McSween, a guest who wears many hats. Pierre-Yves is not only an MBA and FCPA auditor, but also a radio columnist, the host of the show L’indice McSween on Télé-Québec, and the author of several books, including Do You Really Need It? He also has a background in teaching. Now, he is applying his breadth of skills to reinvent the traditional accounting profession by popularizing personal finance through his books and media presence.

During the episode, Pierre-Yves talks about his unusual career path and daily routine, as well as his way of seeing and popularizing personal finance. He also explains the added value that his CPA training brings to his work in the media. Lastly, he makes some predictions about the future of accounting.

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In this episode

  • Pierre-Yves describes a typical week and how he navigates between radio columns, children and writing. His days are very busy: he gets up very early and goes to bed very late. (01:16)
  • His training as a CPA is an advantage now that he works in the media. Most journalists and columnists need help understanding the information they have to convey. This is not the case for Pierre-Yves, whose accounting background makes him able to find and understand relevant information quickly. (04:42)
  • Popularizing finance in the media can be compared to teaching, the difference being the microphone and the size of the audience. Teaching prepared Pierre-Yves well for his current career; it was during his time as a teacher that he learned how to answer unexpected questions, speak in public and explain theoretical material using humour to facilitate understanding. (05:41)
  • It was through his personal life, having to navigate the mechanics of the financial system himself, that Pierre-Yves got a taste of personal financial management and realized that the people around him did not fully understand what it was all about. His personal experiences, combined with his work in banks during the financial crisis, allowed him to acquire a good technical understanding of the system and put it to good use. (06:42)
  • Pierre-Yves describes how he doesn’t sell dreams, he sells tools, meaning he explains the rules of the game, which empowers people to make better financial decisions. These rules are explained in his books, which cover topics such as consumption, value creation and marriage. (08:43)
  • The rules of the game are constantly changing, which means we need to rethink how we play every time the government introduces a new tax measure. (10:18)
  • If you’re making $1 million a year, it’s not the same game as if you’re just starting out as a CPA making $39,000 a year. However, both cases are subject to the same system and the same rules, which makes Pierre-Yves’ book universal because it can be adapted to anyone’s situation. (14:12)
  • In the future, the profession will rely on cloud-based accounting software, programmed in advance. Accountants will focus more on analysis and consulting, since auditing will be increasingly computerized. The role of humans will be to create the architecture and interpret the data. Accountants will be called upon more readily to play a strategic role, and support for SMEs will become more important. (15:06)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect those of CPA Canada.

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