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From Pivot Magazine

These CPAs are using YouTube to encourage financial literacy

From the basics of day trading to personal finance tips, Bassem Zahili and Gabrielle Chung sharing their expertise with a wide audience

A man sits in front of his computer and a young woman is shown sitting at her deskFrom left: CPAs Gabrielle Chung and Bassem Zahili are part of a new generation of CPAs making the most of their platform (Photograph of Zahili by Erin Leydon)

Gabrielle Chung

Tax manager at a Big Four accounting firm
Handle: Ms. Balance Gabrielle Lee
Subscribers: 11,000
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

After graduating from the UBC Sauder School of Business in 2014, I landed a full-time position at a Big Four accounting firm. In 2017, I obtained my CPA designation. When the pandemic hit in spring 2020, I started working from home. Since we were all in lockdown, I had lots of spare time on my hands. I was a big fan of YouTube and had always toyed with the idea of starting my own channel.

I’d noticed there was limited information on YouTube about the ins and outs of a career in tax or accounting, so I decided to create content to share my journey and help guide aspiring CPAs. In April 2020, I started posting videos roughly once a week. In the beginning, I’d get less than 200 views per video. This was a bit demoralizing, but the videos got plenty of engagement, with lots of questions in the comments. That kept me going. I began posting more videos about personal finance and, today, I cover a wide range of finance-related subjects, from budgeting, saving and investing to tax tips. I’ve even dabbled in videos about cryptocurrencies.

What started out as a hobby has turned into a part-time job. People might be surprised by how much work goes into making a high-quality YouTube video. I’ll spend hours and hours researching, scripting, filming and editing each of my videos. It may sound like a lot of work, but I find it so rewarding when people enjoy my content and find value in it. I’ve always seen financial literacy as an important skill every single person should have, but not everyone has had the same opportunities to acquire that skill. Hopefully, my videos help even the playing field. Another critical lesson I impart in my videos is the importance of work/life balance. Hence my YouTuber name, Ms. Balance!

Bassem Zahili

Senior manager, Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT
Handle: Bassem - Canadian Finance, Investing & Real Estate
Subscribers: 11,000
Location: Toronto, Ontario

After articling at Crowe Soberman, I became a CPA in 2014. Today, I’m a manager for a healthcare real estate investment trust. I do a little bit of everything in the company, from financial reporting to corporate accounting and tax. I’ve also been a part-time realtor and real estate investor since 2011. In 2019, I was itching to add another side gig: YouTuber.

The idea for my channel came to me when I noticed that all my friends who didn’t work in finance lacked a good understanding of things like mortgages, tax or investing. Subjects like personal finance or stock market investing are incredibly important, but often are not included in school curriculum. When they graduate high school, the typical Canadian is old enough to get a credit card but no one’s taught them how to manage their credit. I wanted to address those knowledge gaps by creating a channel to help Canadians understand the basics of personal finance and investing.

In early 2020, I filmed and edited 18 videos and started posting one of them each week. Those videos were basic primers explaining things like how to open a bank account and what an RRSP or TFSA is. I may not have been as creative as other YouTubers in my presentation but, as the joke goes, creative accountants go to jail. The response was phenomenal—the videos received many comments asking for more information, which inspired me to create new content.

Initially, I thought no one would watch a 20-minute video of me talking about tax or live streaming myself doing some day trading. But my channel has gotten nearly 600,000 total views in less than two years. Many people appreciate the depth of knowledge you can gain from long-form videos that you simply can’t get from a tweet or a 30-second TikTok video.

It still amazes me that so many people are interested in what I have to say. Hopefully, they can learn from my investing journey and embark on their own.


See how these CPAs are capturing big audiences with their TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram content.