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september 2012 | ISSUE 1

volume 15 | ISSUE 1 | careers. education. ideas. all of it.

communication skills that build your leadership ability

Become tomorrow’s leader of innovation SPECIAL REPORTS 8 PAGE REPORT ON ACCOUNTING 5 PAGE REPORT ON OIL AND GAS Consulting engineers

Discover a career that always changes


There’s lots of excitement in store for you as Executive Team Leader. We’re getting our Store Leadership team in place and are seeking ambitious people who can create the best shopping experience for our guests. If you have a passion for developing dynamic, sales-driven teams and are looking to grow your career, we can’t wait to hear from you.

Join our team. Expect the best. © 2012 Target Brands, Inc. Target and the Bullseye Design are registered trade-marks of Target Brands, Inc.



So you thought you could read a biography of Abe Lincoln and call yourself a good leader? Sorry, but what makes past leaders great won’t necessarily work for you. We talk to three leadership experts for their take on the changing face of leadership and share their tips about how you can become tomorrow’s leader of innovation.




IFC Target

15 43 46 46 47 47 47 47 47 47



Sun Life Financial


The Home Depot


College Pro


Teck Resources




BDO Canada LLP

26 Grant Thornton LLP 29

Ernst & Young




Talisman Energy


Suncor Energy


Sanjel Corporation









Rogers Wireless Rogers Wireless


Humber, The Business School, Accounting Centennial College, School of Business Humber, School of Media Studies and Information Technology Centennial College Brock University Niagara College Queens University Ross University American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine Sheridan College

WHOELSE? 21 22 25 36

Certified Management Accountants Insurance Institute of Canada CGA Ontario Petroleum HR Council of Canada

18 Accounting recruiters are hunting a new game Soft skills are taking centre stage and the Big 4 are taking notice.

19 The merger bubble

The will-they or won’t-they story of Canada’s great accounting designation merger, and what it means for young accountants?


Kyle Perrott, an Engineer-in-Training at Suncor Energy Inc., shares his story of finding success in the oil and gas industry. Sponsored by Rogers Wireless.


Natasha Marcetic, sourcing specialist at Xerox Canada, asks you to describe an accomplishment you’re really proud of.


There’s a wealth of diversity in consulting engineering.

22 Hunt for the truth. Play with the stars. Make a difference.




Forensic, entertainment, and charity: explore accounting niches that can launch your career.

32 A rising future in crude

The Canadian petroleum industry needs to fill at least 39,000 jobs in the coming years. Want one?

34 Drill deeper

Not everyone is like Daniel Day-Lewis. There’s a lot of jobs beneath the surface in the oil and gas industry.

38 Green oil

Discover the oil and gas jobs that can help the environment.

Obsessively detail oriented? Like working in a range of fields? Want to make a green difference? Being an energy efficiency specialist may be right for you. Everyone wants them but no one can find them. Find out how you can become a communicative leader.


What’s the difference between university-educated accountants and college-educated ones?


Krista Caldwell, co-founder of HireWinston, talks about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and why taking a taxi doesn’t have to suck.


We believe even small projects

have huge potent al. Because working here is about more than helping customers choose the right product. It’s about tapping into our inner potential to help people create a space worth calling home. It’s called “unleashing your inner orange” and it’s about our ability to make a difference in customers’ lives where it matters most. Through extensive training, tuition reimbursement and more, The Home Depot gives us the support we need to expand our knowledge, develop new skills and build promising futures. In turn, we have the confidence to contribute to home improvement projects— both large and small. That’s the power of The Home Depot – Jordan, Ashley, Sonia, Home Depot Associates

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NOTE David Tal The summer heat is fading. The leaves are turning technicolor. And university and college campuses are surging back to life. The fall semester has started. To celebrate, Jobpostings Magazine is coming out swinging with our biggest issue of the year.

the tools to apply all these forms of leadership to not only solve your current and future challenges, but also to grow as a person.

For this month, we explore the theme of leadership. Nowadays, employers are looking for more than just book smarts in their new recruits, they are looking for personal qualities that would see you excel in teams and in new environments and situations. This adaptability comes part and parcel with learning how to develop one’s leadership skills.

That said, our September issue isn’t just big because of our features, it’s big because we’ve packed it with two special reports. The first is about accounting, one of Canada’s most in demand and highest paid professions. Accountants work in every industry, at every level. They help companies both large and small manage the bottom line, drive growth, and help bring new projects to life. So that’s why we’ve devoted eight pages to exploring the industry’s biggest trends.

But good leaders aren’t all alike. The qualities needed to organize, inspire, and mobilize teams are in constant flux, changing with time, culture, and environment. Thankfully, new and innovative forms of leadership are emerging to guide us through the thick. With the help of three pioneering thought leaders on the topic, we’ll discuss leading through innovation, through mass collaboration, and through decentralization. You’ll learn

This includes exploring the sexy side of accounting. Forensics, charity, entertainment: the fields and industries available to accountants may surprise you. But so may the expectations of many of Canada’s top CFOs about the qualifications new accountants need to be hired. We highlight four key accounting trends in recruitment and training that accounting students need to know to succeed. But without a doubt the most important trend in



Nathan Laurie

associate publisher Mark Laurie


accounting these days are the “will they” or “won’t they” merger talks between Canada’s three accounting designations: CA, CGA, and CMA. How will the rise of the CPA designation affect Canada’s accounting landscape? And how can up and coming accounting students prepare for the changes ahead? Our second report covers the oil and gas industry. With about 30 percent of the oil and gas industry’s workforce soon to retire, we’ll review the wealth of jobs ready to be filled by recent grads. And don’t assume that oil and gas is all about suiting up and drilling holes — supply chain managers, human resources planners, community outreach representatives, these jobs and many more are open for you to jump into. But what’s most exciting about this industry are the breakthroughs it’s making to reduce its historically giant environmental footprint. We’ll introduce you to the most promising new technologies you’ll use on the job. All this is just a flavour of what you’ll discover when flipping through our pages. So sit back, open your brain, and read on, friends.


David Tal @DavidTalWrites

Graphic Designer

Anthony Capano

web editor

Mark Teo


Amir Ahmed, Andrew Williams, Kevin Nelson, Mary Michaela Weber, Ariadna Levin

assistant sales manager Sarah-Lyn Amaral

national account manager Mary Vanderpas



Chantelle Rodrigo, Christina Wang, Daniele Alcinii

Published by Passion Inc. 25 Imperial Street, Suite 100 Toronto, ON M5P 1B9 1-877-900-5627 ext. 221

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Jobpostings Magazine is published eight times in the school year. Issue dates are September, October, November, January, February, March, April, and May. Copies of jobpostings are distributed to over 105 universities and colleges across Canada. Contents of this publication are protected by copyright and may not be reprinted in whole or part without permission of the publishers. “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” – Warren Buffet

Avoid a Quarter-life Crisis Everyone needs an edge over their competition. As a College Pro franchise manager, you'll learn and use real leadership and business skills today that will help you to stand out when you graduate – and get you on the road to success sooner.

Run your own business Get control of your future Work with like-minded people Make an impact on your life College Pro develops entrepreneurs. If you have big goals and think you have what it takes, find out more today! Take our entrepreneurial quiz at eo our vid t u o k c Che ore learn m here to





Sponsored by

Kyle Perrott Company: Suncor Energy Inc.

Position: Engineer-in-Training (Reliability Analyst) Length of employment: ONE year Degree: B.Sc. Mining Engineering, University of Alberta

What drew you to your field? I’ve always been interested in the technical aspects of engineering and how it’s used in the real world. The hands-on nature of Alberta’s oil and gas mining industry is what drew me in, especially as a young engineer. Having the opportunity to work right where the equipment is used and directly with the people in my team is a great way to learn. Alberta’s oil and gas industry has so much opportunity for young people to grow. That’s why I thought it would be a great place for me to start my career.

How did you find your current position? I got to know Suncor through their campus recruitment program. I worked two co-op terms with Suncor in the Fort McMurray region and once I finished university, I applied for the Engineer-inTraining (EIT) position I’m in today. I knew I would have a chance to contribute and grow at Suncor. I knew the EIT program would help me succeed.

What is the most challenging aspect of your position? JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2012

I ensure the long-term reliability of our mining equipment without impacting its short-term availability. It’s a constant balancing act to meet the production requirements of today against the reliability requirements of the equipment tomorrow. I like a challenge and I like that I get the right amount of support and guidance from my supervisors.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? Day-to-day work in Suncor’s mine, right on the front line, is very rewarding. I have the opportunity to see my work in action and interact with my colleagues face-toface. I find the hands-on field experience very valuable; it helps me to be more practical when I’m doing technical work.

What skills have you learned through your work experience? In Suncor’s mine, I work with people from a variety of different backgrounds such as engineers, trades people, and front line supervisors. That experience has challenged me to improve my communication and team work skills.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this career? Being personable and having good working relationships with my teams have been a big success factor for me. Also, being open to learning new things and new ways of doing things is very important to advancing my career.

Is there one accomplishment you are most proud of to date? So far, I’m most proud of finishing my degree and starting my career at Suncor.

What are your future career aspirations? Eventually, I would like to become a front line supervisor in the mine at Suncor. I think if I keep working hard and learning different aspects of engineering through the EIT rotation program at Suncor, I can get there.

What advice do you have for students looking for their first job? Be open to every opportunity and challenge yourself by trying new things early in your career. Check Suncor’s new grad postings online!









































































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From teaching overseas to conquering public speaking, has you covered The job-search strategies, soft-skill tips, and hot industry coverage provided by Jobpostings doesn’t stop in print. Head over to for these web-exclusive stories (and many, many more).

01 IS THAT job advertisement a scam?


If a job seems too good to be true, it probably is. No, a Nigerian prince isn’t going to share his Swiss bank account with you. Nor will you earn upwards of $2,000 a day selling medical bracelets door-to-door. And for the love of Jah, don’t respond to that ad seeking a “submissive, open-minded personal assistant.” Instead, identify those sketchy jobs by using our handy guide.

02 Conquer your fear of public speaking Folk-statisticians have long speculated that public speaking is Canada’s number one fear, trumping even the fear of death. And even if that statistic is hogwash (we’ve yet to see it validated from a reputable source), commanding an audience is intimidating. That is, until you learn how to do it properly. So, we asked Pamela Hart, founder of Vancouver’s Release Your Voice program, for her essential preparation, performance, and delivery techniques.


03 Travel and work: teach ESL overseas In days of yore (think: 10 years ago) finding yourself in Europe was a fresh-grad rite of passage. Nowadays, we have to deal with the realities of student debt and gaining meaningful post-grad work experience, which can make travelling awfully hard. That’s why teaching English overseas is becoming increasingly popular. So we asked Dave Sperling, founder of Dave’s ESL Café message board, for the best work-abroad destinations the world has to offer. Happy trails!


04 The Hunt: Student bloggers speak out The job hunt is many things: It can be frustrating. Rewarding. Eyeopening. So we asked recent graduates for the stories they’ve learned on the path to their careers — whether they’re hoping to establish themselves in public relations, career counselling, marketing, and more. Check it all out at

And be sure to visit to find the latest internships and entry-level jobs to launch your career today!

Images: © ISTOCK.COM








Become tomorrow’s leader of innovation Caesar, Napoleon, and Obama walk into a bar ... By: Amir Ahmed Let’s think about Steve Jobs and Genghis Khan. Both were great leaders. Whether it was turning around a failing software company or unifying the Mongol hordes, Jobs and Genghis did good. They made their mark in history with their ability to lead. Now imagine what would happen if you dropped Genghis into Job’s office or left Steve charge of the Mongols. Things wouldn’t go so well, right? A Khan warlord isn’t going to come up with the next iSomething. A skinny guy in a turtleneck isn’t going to convince a band of nomadic tribes to take over Asia. Good leaders aren’t all alike. The qualities we need to organize, inspire, and mobilize groups are in constant flux, changing with time, culture, and environment. So what about our time? Our culture? Our environ-


ment? What is a good leader today? And do we even have them?

but groups with no leadership: protestors in Tahrir square, Anonymous, the Occupy Movement.

So what changed in leadership? The whole world changed. And we need to change with it.

Do we even need leaders anymore? We do. Whenever people organize to get a job done, they need a guide. However, our ideas of good leadership are going through another shift, the same kind of shift that turned Steve Jobs into our version of Genghis Khan. And if we want to be effective leaders by the time we end up in the boss’s chair, we need to know what’s shifting and how to take advantage of it.

Today, our conventional ideas of leadership are upside-down. Mark Zuckerberg makes millions for giving people a free service. Jimmy Wales made Wikipedia a household name, despite the fact that it’s a non-profit and completely volunteer-based. In politics, stuff is even more upside down: the biggest names of our generation aren’t individuals,

We interviewed three experts on leadership. We asked them how leadership has changed, what leaders today need to do, and what young people can do to accelerate their leadership skills. You wouldn’t take an iPod to Mongolia. Don’t bring outdated leadership to today’s workforce.




PETER SHEAHAN : LEADERS UNDERSTAND Sheahan’s pioneer book Fl!p, made him famous for six counter-intuitive thoughts he believes will drive businesses today. We wanted to know how our readers could start thinking in ways that are counterintuitive, but work. Sheahan’s response? “Ask more questions, give less answers.” Questions like: “What if I am wrong? What other ways can I look at this? What if we were to start from scratch without any existing mechanisms?”

“The number one thing a graduate has to get through their head,” says Sheahan, “is that they don’t get paid for input, they get paid for output.” “They get paid to do something.” Peter Sheahan is a millionaire Australian entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and author. His books include Fl!p, which outlines six unconventional ideas that shape business today. Sheahan, and his consultancy firm ChangeLabs, has worked with big-business names like Apple, Google, and IBM, to overcome blocks and start innovating. We spoke with Sheahan just after he finished a speaking engagement at the HRPA Annual Trade Show Conference in Toronto. He emphasized that leaders need to understand their impact on their team, and ask the right questions to get the most bang for their buck.

WHAT’S CHANGED? What hasn’t changed? Sheahan explains, the market is more competitive than ever (think all those Chinese and Indian companies making things

better, cheaper, and faster). Things are more complicated than ever (think government regulations, stakeholder relations, and branding). And to top it off, we live in a market where ideas, not products or services, are the make-or-break quality in business. This creates a problem when traditional leaders try to manage their staff. Every project manager can figure out how to produce more products, but this is a knowledge economy. “I can command you to come up with 50 widgets,” says Sheahan. “I can’t tell you to come up with creative ideas.”

WHAT LEADERS NEED TO DO One of the most important skills leaders need, according to Sheahan, is “The ability to understand your impact, separate to your intention. What I mean by that is some leaders who say they don’t want to annoy their staff or frustrate their team, do so anyway. All. The. Time. What you’ll find is that you didn’t mean to be an asshole (sic), but you were. You didn’t mean to be annoying, but you were. You didn’t mean to slow things down, but you did.”

To separate what you meant to do from what you actually did, Sheahan says there are a number of mechanisms for feedback, from formal reviews to just asking around. The important thing is to do it soon to get used to the idea. “Getting into the habit of feedback, early, is crucial,” says Sheahan. “I’ve been involved in major graduate programs around the world ... and these students try to find excuses and deny the feedback.” It doesn’t matter what you were trying to do but what you did. If you can understand your faults and have the maturity to address them, you’ll be on track for developing your leadership skills early. Another thing Sheahan says to keep in mind is that a leader isn’t a dictator. “If you talk to Emannuel,” says Sheahan, “he’ll tell you — correctly — that leadership has gone from a directive activity to an activity of influence and engagement.” The “Emannuel” that Sheahan speaks of is Emannuel Gobillot, another leadership expert. We talked to him, too.

EMMANUELL GOBILLOT: LEADERS SERVE THE GROUP Step one: Find the social organization beneath the formal organization. “This is done through trust. People have to trust you as a leader and you have to trust them so you’ll be able to contribute to the organisation’s social networks.” Step two: Align the real organization to your formal objective. “This is done through meaning and purpose. As a leader, you have to be able to give meaning to the network’s actions (what is it that the networks can do better and more effectively than anything or anyone else).” Step three: Keep it all together. “Keep the alignment going through constant dialogue.” “There are two questions people always ask me,” Emmanuel Gobillot writes in an email to Jobpostings. “The first is ‘How do you pronounce your name?’ (‘Gobio,’ if you’re interested). And the second question, once they find out what it is I do,


is ‘What do great leaders do?’” Speaker, author, and consultant, Emmanuell Gobillot first made waves with his book, The Connected Leader. He piqued our interest with his other book;

Leadershift. This book describes how mass collaboration doesn’t just change leadership, it changes the nature of business itself. Gobillot was travelling in Europe when we contacted him, but he still gave us some time to answer a few of our questions.




WHAT’S CHANGED? Globalization, communication, and fragmented markets. You can get a university-quality education for free online. You can buy samurai swords off eBay. And generationally and culturally, our workplace is more diverse than ever. “This is important for anyone in a leadership position as we tend to lead out of experience.” Gobillot says without a shared experience, leadership becomes that much harder. So what changed in leadership? The whole world changed. And we need to change with it.

WHAT LEADERS NEED TO DO So how do we become good leaders? “In many ways that’s the wrong question,” says Gobillot. “Great leaders are people who have learned to be a skillful version of themselves, not a poor copy of others. My advice for anyone starting out is always the same: stop asking what great leaders do and

wonder instead what great followers want? The latter will help you a great deal more by gathering the energy of the people around you in order to succeed.”

(Good leadership requires us to) co-create a picture of what the future could be with your followers. … It’s then about holding an umbrella over their heads to ensure the vision can be achieved.”

Good leaders are not revolutionaries rallying crowds to victory. They’re not generals trouping their team through hostile territory. Instead, they’re more like urban planners. According to Gobillot, a good leader creates a stable community for a team to work in and then lets that group channel their energy to complete a task. In an ideal environment, this ideal team will be able to orient, manage, and motivate themselves. This, Gobillot argues, is how Wikipedia became everyone’s first stop for knowledge. The Wikipedia community is a great example of how a properlyconstructed environment lets a mission succeed.

Then what about mass collaboration? Can you turn an accounting firm into Wikipedia? “Every organization is a dormant Wikipedia,” says Gobillot. “The job of a leader is to awaken it.”

But that doesn’t mean an executive should be fetching coffee. “Leadership is not about control, but that doesn’t mean a leader isn’t in charge.

“Organisations are fundamentally two organisations. One is formal with its lines and boxes and processes. The other is what I call the real organisation, the networks of relationships that give the formal its energy. If you think about the real organization, then you have Wikipedia. It’s about releasing the energy of people to ensure they want to contribute to the outcome of the organisation. The mistake would be to try to create the real by changing the structure of the formal. You may have a more straightforward process (which would be great), but it is still a process.”

DAVID WEISS: LEADERS FOSTER INNOVATION Step one:Get a framework. Gain insight into the problem, understand context and urgency, define the problem, and know the boundaries. Know who’s responsible and what you need to get done. Step two: Analyse root causes and assumptions. Find out why you need the innovation and where. Why isn’t experience and knowledge helping? Step three: Once you clarify the issue and understand where to innovate, discover solutions.

Step four: Plan. Now that you have your innovative idea, find out how to get it done and how to minimize the risks involved in getting it done.

President and CEO of his own firm, Dr. David Weiss is also currently an affiliate professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and a senior research fellow at Queen’s. Weiss is the author of many books, most recently Innovative Intelligence, published in 2011. During a phone interview, Dr. Weiss’ told us that the primary task of leaders today is to bring the innovation out of their followers.

WHAT’S CHANGED? Dr. Weiss conducted a study on innovation with his firm. He found that 80 percent of senior leaders and executives said innovation was important. But only 30 percent were actually satisfied with the innovation in their organizations. He called it “the innovation gap.” And the reason we have it is because leaders now have to address different problems. “Leaders are asked to take on leadership roles because they have knowledge and experience to


do the work” says Weiss. “Over the last 10 to 15 years, there’s been an increasing number of issues that are far more complex. Complex problems, more ambiguous problems, and ultimately, the past knowledge and experience usually aren’t sufficient to find the proper answer.”

WHAT LEADERS NEED TO DO Today, leaders need to innovate to solve problems, and to do that, they need innovative intelligence. According to Weiss, “Innovative intelligence is the capability we have to gain insight into problems and to discover new and unseen implementable solutions,” says Weiss. This innovative intelligence, combined with analytical and emotional intelligence, is what makes an effective leader today. But that doesn’t mean leaders need to be the creative genius type. Instead, Weiss says, “Leaders need to become leaders of innovation. There’s an attempt to make leaders innovative leaders.

And although it’s great to have innovative leaders, sometimes when a leader is very innovative, they don’t know how to work effectively with their teams to draw insights from where the complexities are.” So instead of dragging your team through the twisted machinations of your mind, Weiss recommends that innovative leaders form a culture of innovation. “A culture of innovation is characterized by an organization where innovation is a priority. A culture like this has leaders who embody innovative thinking, who communicate openly, and aren’t afraid to do things differently.” Weiss wants to underscore that innovation goes beyond technological change: “What’s important for young people to be aware of — and many are — is that innovation, ultimately, is not about products.” Innovation can happen everywhere: from the way a product is delivered to the underlying assumptions about the business itself.



SMARTS So you screwed up in the interview, huh? They asked the ol’ “What’s your greatest weakness” question and you answered with “cupcakes,” hoping to get a laugh. Awkward. Lucky for you, we have friends on the inside — recruiting friends (the people who’ll be interviewing you). It cost us a few favours, but they finally agreed to explain why they ask what they ask, and what the best answers are. It’s a cheatsheet for interviews. Good luck!

Natasha Marcetic sourcing specialist, Talent Management, at Xerox Canada Describe an accomplishment you’re really proud of. How candidates choose to answer this question can tell interviewers a lot about what type of person they are working with. This question allows interviewers to learn about a candidate’s strengths, ambitions, ability to manage time, and work ethic. The level of complexity of the accomplishment allows interviewers to recognize how this candidate evaluates themselves and it also shows what motivates him or her. In today’s competitive marketplace, being average isn’t going to get you noticed. Candidates need to consider why they would be the best for the job. When preparing to answer this question, think about what the major strengths a top performer in this job is required to have and find an example that showcases these strengths in you.


Make sure you explain the situation, your role in the situation, what you actually did to achieve the goal, the challenges you faced, and the final outcome. It’s always helpful to conclude with what the experience taught you and relate it to transferable skills you learned and can use in the job you’re applying for. This type of approach is what employers are looking for. We want to know what you value to determine if there is a match with our company values. When asked this question, the most common answer many students use is the successful completion of his or her university degree or college diploma. This is very common because a lot of students might not have enough work experience to know how to answer this question. Truth is, even if the student does not have a lot of work experience, they probably do have a lot of life experience which does apply. If you really want to stand out to an employer, try to differentiate yourself from the masses of newly-graduated competitors who are applying for the same types of job. Evaluating various life experiences such as clubs, associations, volunteering, internships, or hobbies that you’ve participated in. Think about something that you feel has really pushed you above and beyond expectations of merely doing a good job. Did you ever accomplish something that most people thought you weren’t capable of doing? Better yet, did you ever prove yourself wrong by accomplishing something you doubted yourself on?



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© 2012 KPMG LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


2012 Images: © ISTOCK.COM

Accounting recruiters are hunting a new game Soft skills are taking centre stage and the Big four are taking notice The accounting world has changed a great deal since the 2008 economic meltdown. Stricter and more demanding regulatory and business environments have developed that accountants need to navigate through. Chief financial officers are experiencing a growing pressure to cut costs, manage risk, and deliver value to stakeholders and clients. And all these pressures are being passed down the chain, all the way down to the new grads making up the Big Four’s next generation of accountants. To handle this growth in demand from regulatory bodies and clients, big accounting firms have begun to realize that their future recruits (and current staff) need more than strong technical knowledge: they need strong soft skills. These findings were outlined by Grant Thornton LLP who conducted one-on-one interviews with 32 CFOs for a new study titled, The Evolving Accounting Talent Profile: CFO Strategies for Attracting, Training and Retaining Experienced Accounting and Finance


Professionals. So what’s the gist? According to Gina Kim, director at Grant Thornton LLP, the key takeaways include (italicized portion first published in CA Magazine): 1) Screen candidates on technical and soft skills (critical thinking and problem-solving, negotiation and communication skills, and leadership and managerial skills). Assess both technical and soft-skill needs when evaluating potential accounting hires. 2) Address soft-skill needs by training existing personnel. Hire for specialized technical expertise, but use training to build soft skills among existing accounting staff. 3) Employ on-the-job training for technical accounting capabilities. Find opportunities for accounting staff to apply recently-acquired technical skills to real-world situations. 4) Focus on career growth potential to reduce flight risk. Address anxieties about advancement and promote retention by providing accounting personnel with opportunities to demonstrate their expertise and gain new skills.

By: David Tal

We asked a few of our contacts at the Big Four what they thought of the study and how they measured up when it came to developing the soft skills and the overall career growth of their new hires. “As soft skills become more and more important in a business world based on relationships, KPMG evaluates students throughout the process not only on their résumé and interview with the firm,” says Louisa Lungu, CA, senior talent attraction manager, national campus recruiting at KPMG, “but also on their ability to interact in a proficient manner with those around them.” This position is shared by James Davidson, talent acquisition manager, national campus at PwC. That’s why when it comes to training and development, Davidson was quick to note that, “At PwC, we believe our best training takes place in our close team environment, on the job, and in front of our clients. As part of our ‘enhanced working practices’, our ‘teach

Images: ©


don’t tell’ approach to learning through handson experience and coaching, ensures our staff learn faster and deeper than class room training alone would allow.” As for helping young accountants plan and build their careers, Lungu says that KPMG is committed to helping its people develop to their full potential. In fact, KPMG’s business school works with staff to help them understand, “What is expected of them in their job, what success looks like, what skills are needed to meet expectations, as well as an outline of activities/education available to develop and



enhance skills for career progression.” Overall though, Davidson cautions that when it comes to soft skills and development, it’s up to the students to take ownership over their development to really get ahead. “Students are increasingly more aware of the importance of these (soft) skills and are working harder to gain experiences at university and through extracurricular and volunteer activities to demonstrate these skills. If the skills can be combined with a sound academic record, students are on the right track for setting themselves up for success ... (during recruitment season).”

Accounting 2.0

It was once feared that computers would take away a huge sweep of accounting jobs. In reality, computers have made accountants more in demand than ever.

The m erger bubble

But by May 2012, the talks between the On-

Images: © ISTOCK.COM

Name: Jasmine Konsorada Company: PwC Position: Manager, audit, and assurance group Length of employment: Five years Degree: Bachelor of Commerce & CA designation School: Alberta School of Business How did you find your current position? During campus recruiting, I attended a firm night to meet people from all of the firms in order to find a co-op position. I connected with the people at the PwC booth and knew it was the right fit for me. I applied and interviewed. I did both of my co-op terms in the PwC tax department, which was a great experience and I learned so much from the great people in that department. I was offered a position during my co-op to start full time after graduation. Gradually, I worked my way up from associate, to senior associate, and then to my current position as a manager.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your position?

The will-they or won’tthey story of Canada’s great accounting By: David designation merger Tal

The bubble started in May 2011. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA) announced they were exploring the possibility of merging under a unified designation called the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). Shortly thereafter, the Certified General Accountant (CGA) designation also entered these talks. Anticipation was high. The effects of the merger would send shockwaves through the accounting industry.


tario accounting designations stalled. Soon after, they collapsed. What was to be a nationally unified accounting designation is now a regulatory tangle with some provinces (Quebec) going ahead with the CPA and others bowing out. So how did this all happen? Let’s begin with the basics. Before the merger talks, Canada was a patchwork of accounting designations. While most of the world follows the single CPA designation, in Canada, every province has multiple accounting bodies overseeing its members. Ontario, for example, has

The most challenging aspect of my position is that not one day is ever the same, so my days are each quite interesting in their own way. However, it’s sometimes a challenge to anticipate and plan what you’re going to run into on a daily basis. So while this is a challenge, this is also something that keeps me on my toes and always thinking, rising to challenging situations, and always keeping my problem solving role in mind.

QA &

Ershad Chagani, 21 Accounting, Alberta U OF ALBERTA ACCOUNTING CLUB

How do you think the accounting industry in Canada will change over the next five to ten years? What trends will impact it the most? Outsourcing of accounting work will continue to increase and may eventually lead to Canadian accountants focusing only on client relations”




the CA, CMA, and CGA designations — multiply those three by the number of Canada’s provinces and territories, and you have a lot of accounting bodies. The CPA merger aimed to build efficiency, i.e. instead of three designations, you have one per province. The merger would also help streamline foreign credential recognition of accountants immigrating to Canada, while helping Canadian accountants more easily move between provincial and national jurisdictions. Finally, this merger would improve worldwide recognition of Canada’s accounting profession.

Name: Katie Shotbolt Company: KPMG Position: Staff accountant Length of employment: Nine months Degree: Bachelor of Commerce School: Queen’s School of Business Tell us a bit about your responsibilities: I’ve had the opportunity to work for a variety of clients and learn about different businesses. I travel with my audit teams to wherever the client is located. In my first few months, I’ve spent time in Chicago and Niagara Falls. But even as a first year, you’re given sections of the audit to complete on your own, but there’s always someone to help mentor you.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your position? During audit season, the schedules are intense and you’re expected to put in long hours with your team. We’re under strict deadlines. There’s a considerable amount of work that needs to get done in a short amount of time … (and at) the satisfaction of both the firm and the client.

What life skills did you gain during your work experience? The two life skills I am improving upon are timemanagement and critical thinking. Luckily, the firm provides us with tools for evaluation and allows us to make independent decisions.

Q &A


What drew you to pursuing A career in THE accounting INDUSTRY? Accounting is an essential foundation in any business and allows you to see the organization’s big picture to make educated decisions for daily operations.


By May 2012, the talks between the Ontario accounting designations stalled. Soon after, they collapsed. Between reduced costs, regulatory hurdles, a unified voice, and improved international recognition, many assumed this merger was a done deal in the making. The benefits were real and very worthwhile. But within a few months, as merger details began to be shared with the rank and file membership of each designation, the first warning tremors were felt. Some members didn’t like what they heard. We spoke with Ray (alias used upon request), a new CA who works at the finance group at TD Bank. From his perspective, this merger would have affected him negatively. “For me, it felt like there was going to be a competitive disadvantage of having one (designation). Because early on in your career, that’s when you need these designations ... (they help) open doors for you. The older CA crowd, they weren’t too opinionated about this, because after a certain time it’s not the letters after



your name, it’s the experience that counts. But the younger CAs, we thought this had the potential to dilute the designation we worked so hard for. Instead of the Big Four hiring from a small pool of CAs, they could instead hire from a huge pool of CPAs.” Those who belong to the CMA and CGA tend to have slightly a different viewpoint. A young CMA candidate, Sujoy (alias), who’s currently working in the telecom industry, feels positively about the merger overall: “As CMAs and CGAs, I feel we’ll have a greater influence on standard setting within the industry. It certainly won’t hurt bringing other perspectives to the table. Additionally, I assume that it’ll be easier for accounting professionals to switch their area of specialization if and when the merger is finalized. However, to be honest, I’m not sure my CA friends would agree with this!” Most of the top brass at the designations have been careful about discussing the reasons behind the merger breakdown. In a public letter to its membership, the CGA noted that one of the key reasons behind their decision to pull out was due to a difference in voting procedure. The letter stated that it was “CGA Ontario’s assessment, based on legal opinion, that each accounting body must have a vote with two-thirds approval of members voting. Moving forward with unification in Ontario under any other circumstance was not legally possible in our view. CMA Ontario shared our view while the ICAO did not.” But what does this mean for you, the future accounting superstar? Merv Hillier, MBA, FCMA, C.Dir., CMC, president and CEO for CMA of Ontario says, “Students interested in ... becoming a professional accountant in business should not delay ... . The discussions currently underway to unite the accounting profession across the country are still in the early stages. At this point no merger discussions are currently taking place in Ontario. Don’t put your career on hold. It is important for you to move ahead on your path to becoming a professional accountant.”

growing role of the accountant Accountants are in demand because of the larger expectations placed upon them. From financial strategy development, to environmental safety assessments, corporate restructuring and much more, accountants aren’t just limited to auditing records anymore.


Create Possibilities.

Become a Certified Management Accountant.™ The strategic management approach of the CMA designation will give you the tools to obtain your dream job. Highly respected and in demand, CMAs are creating possibilities for companies right now. Watch their testimonials at

© 2012 The Society of Management Accountants of Canada. All rights reserved. ®/™ Registered Trade-Marks /Trade-Marks are owned by The Society of Management Accountants of Canada. Used under license.

Hunt for the truth. Play with the stars. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Forensic, entertainment AND charity: explore accounting niches that can launch your career By: David Tal Accounting is a part of just about every facet of our modern world. All businesses, regardless of the industry, need accountants to grow sustainably. That means opportunities are endless for accountants to work in most any industry out there. So when someone wants to start manufacturing a clothing line, secure funding for a tech start up, or increase production on a soy farm, you can bet good money they are going to need an accountant for that. Accountants are a part of nearly every decision in every business you can think of. That’s why we decided to profile three interesting niches that you, the next generation of accounting superstars, may be interested in building your careers around. We spoke with a number of professionals from the Big Four and the different accounting designations to share their experiences about how you can get your foot in the door! JOBPOSTINGS.CA | SEPTEMBER 2012

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ENGAGED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE With a national team of more than 3,000 partners and professionals in offices from Vancouver to St. John’s, we can help you make your first career step a seamless transition from classroom to boardroom. Assurance | Accounting | Taxation | Advisory Services Learn more about campus events and career opportunities. Visit us online: CheckOutBDO BDO Canada BDO Canada LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms.



HUNTING FOR CLUES USING FORENSIC ACCOUNTING Forensic accounting is a combination of accounting, auditing, and investigative skills used to probe the financial records of individuals and businesses. Forensic accountants may be called upon before a police investigation is started (sometimes a company might want to investigate an internal matter), or may be called on by the police themselves. As a result, forensic accountants must be willing and able to stand by their investigative work in a court of law. All big accounting firms and most government watchdog bodies have specialist forensic accounting departments, with many having different divisions that specialize in a range of categories, such as: securities fraud, computer forensics, bankruptcies and reorganizations, and much more.

What training and skills qualify me to enter this niche? Attention to detail is a key element of being a successful forensic accountant. As well, strong communication skills are vital. For example, listening skills are critical due to the importance interviews play in an investigation. Speaking and writing skills come into play when communicating your findings and opinions to the client and sometimes to the court. Sarah MacGregor, director in the deals practice at PwC, adds that budding forensic accountants should also develop “professional skepticism and judgment, integrity, and the ability to work under pressure and in a team environment.” In all, investigators need to pursue investigative leads wherever they lie. They can’t be stopped by uncooperative targets and ambiguous responses.

What path should I take to become a forensic accountant? Forensic accountants usually start off with a solid audit background. Employees need to have a good understanding of the overall accounting systems, controls, file documentation, etc. Bob M Ferguson, partners in assurance and advisory business services at Ernst & Young, adds that, “The Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services (FIDS) group in Canada recruits staff once they have completed the UFE.” Once in the forensic service practice, other designations such as the CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) and the IFA (Investigative and Forensic Accountant CA specialization) are encouraged to complement his or her audit skill set.

So what’s it really like? We spoke with two forensic accountants to get an inside look into the day-to-day of the accounting speciality. According to Jodie Wolkoff, MBA, CA.IFA, CBV, associate director of disputes and investigations at Navigant; “There is no ‘usual.’ ... Typically, any case starts off with a planning process, understanding the facts ... then we put the team together and really start to dig in to whatever it is we’re required to do. Whether it’s reviewing key documents, pulling together financial information, conducting research, interviewing key people to the case, we put it all together in a way that would make sense and be helpful to our clients, be they a lawyer or a corporation, or ultimately a judge in the matter.” This summary is shared by Everett Colby, CGA, BSBA, ALA, CFE, C. Dir., FCGA, a principal, a tax partner, and a litigation/forensic accounting partner at Colby McGeachy, PC. He adds that: “It’s not the type of work where you can leave it at the office. ... You also need a pretty thick skin for it. And I say that because an investigation will have two sides to it. (After your investigation), if the person ends up getting charged or sued because of your findings, there’s going to be another forensic accountant who tries to show that your work ... shouldn’t be believed in. (You need to be comfortable with) the whole courtroom experience ... and you will find your work challenged way more frequently than just doing normal accounting work. (For those you’re investigating), your work can have a huge impact on (their) reputation and their life. So your work can have a much greater impact than that of normal accounting work.”


There’s no better time than the present to imagine a bigger future. A CGA designation is more than a piece of paper. It’s a game changer. Certified General Accountants command top-tier credibility and maximum earning potential in the world’s most compelling companies. The only question is, are you ready to DO MORE?

Hear CGAs discuss their personal paths to success at

“I’m a fresh graduate. I feel like the CGA designation will provide a lot of opportunity. I’ve already been recognized at work with more respect and increased pay.” MANJIT T BAG B BAGRI, CGA Manager Manage er of Finance, The Herjavec Group Inc.



GLITZ & GLAMOUR in ENTERTAINMENT ACCOUNTING Entertainment accounting may not be among the most high profile niches in the accounting, but it certainly is among the sexiest and most popular. Accounting for the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry can range from providing financial oversight to big clients like Circe du Soliel, the Calgary Stampede, and the Olympic games in Vancouver and London, or to individual film and television productions, and even individual film, television, and music performers. The range of work found in this industry is rich and it can be quite fun.

What training and skills qualify me to enter this niche? In the entertainment industry, you really need to stay on top of its business activity and accounting developments to bring a broader base of knowledge to your clients. According to Mark DiGiandomenico, CA, manager in assurance services at Ernst & Young, many of the companies in this industry are dynamic companies who are constantly entering into acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures that involve accounting opportunities. He says, “Students should try to attend any sessions put on in their universities by industry participants. Students can use these events to work on their communication skills ... . (Industry seminars and workshops) not only provide invaluable knowledge, but also provide exposure to key decision makers in entertainment companies.”

What path should I take to become a forensic accountant? When it comes to entering into this specialization of accounting, Laura Gilchrist, talent acquisition lead in the audit and assurance group at PwC, says that it’s important to be proactive by speaking with colleagues within the company early on to get a sense of the various clients they work with and to find where there are opportunities to work with these clients. “We have coaching and development sessions throughout the year and a new recruit can easily have a discussion with their coach to get them exposure into the industry through client work and business development opportunities!”

So what’s it really like? When we spoke with Kari-Anne Fraser, CGA, manager of Accounting (Television) at Corus Entertainment Inc., the phrase “it’s always fun here” kept popping up. And it’s easy to understand why. I’m in the television side of things,” says Fraser. “Most people can relate to television, so you just name the network that you’re working for and people get that easily recognizable connection. (When it comes to the work), we’re always re-forecasting from a budget perspective at the start of the year, and then looking at it, we have departmental meetings with the different department heads to see if they’re still on budget. We meet with the sales teams to make sure their sales are on track and we put together financial statements for the senior management teams. In general, there’s always something going on. There are always new things happening!”



The new ruling class


According to 2006 census data, women held about 56% of all accounting jobs, a trend that’s risen from 45% in 1991. Analysts predict this difference will grow over the coming decade, especially if women continue to outnumber men on university campuses.

Name: Chloe Boiteau-Marr Company: Deloitte & Touche Position: Tax analyst Length of employment: Nine months Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration School: Mount Royal University What’s the most rewarding part of your job? The real-world application. I spent hours reading through my accounting textbooks and learning by being in school. But now, being able to apply what I’ve learned through university to the real world has been an amazing experience. I have the opportunity to work with so many intelligent individuals whom I learn … from on a daily basis. Working in an open environment with people constantly in my surroundings has allowed me to learn something new every day.

What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job within the accounting profession? Be confident and be yourself. If the accounting profession is where you see yourself working, get connected with firms, attend events, join your university’s accounting club, and make an effort to network. The accounting profession is very competitive. If you make an effort to get involved and build relationships, you’ll find yourself following the right path. And remember it’s not just about having good grades in school, it’s important to do things that showcase yourself, such as extracurricular activities.

QA &

Pascal Karal Matte, 20 Accounting, MCGILL MGMT ACCOUNTING SOCIETY

How do you think the accounting industry in Canada will change over the next 5-10 years? What trends will impact it the most? With the aging population, the unique Canadian accounting designation trend, and IFRS, accountants’ international mobility will increase.




CREATE CHANGE in ACCOUNTING WITH CHARITIES Any organization that accepts funds from the public is governed by a specific set of financial laws. Charities are no different, except that their laws are slightly different as they draw greater pressure to be transparent to their supporters in where they get their money and how it’s being used. That’s why a charity accountant needs to understand the unique legal and financial requirements involved with running a charity, both to keep it in good standing with its shareholders and, most important, allow it to continue doing its good work.

What training and skills qualify me to enter this niche?

Name: Sophia Berg Company: Ernst & Young Position: Staff accountant Length of employment: Eight months Degree: Bachelor of Commerce School: University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business How can students land their first job in accounting? The firms want to get to know you during the recruiting process, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If they don’t get to see how you would fit with the firm, it can hurt your chances of getting an offer. I went through recruiting in my third year of school, but was too shy to make any contacts or get to know anyone. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get an offer. When I went through it in my final year, I interacted with people. It helps the firms make a decision about you and helps you make a decision about what firm you want to work for.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this career? Being willing to try new experiences offered by the firm. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles for three months. It was an amazing experience and I would gladly do it again. It was definitely tough being away from friends and family for so long, but I met awesome EY employees from across America and learned new skills that I can apply here in Canada.

QA &


What drew you to pursuing A career in THE accounting INDUSTRY? Accounting is a profession that’s constantly changing due to globalization and technology. Such changes create opportunities both locally and internationally.


Providing accounting services for charities is among the most altruistic specialities that exist in the accounting profession. That’s why, alongside helping charities and NPOs (non-profit organizations) meet their unique financial and accounting requirements, accountants who work for charities need to have a solid base of soft skills and strong personal attributes. Allison Montgomery, campus recruiting lead (Western and Quebec), for the talent acquisition department at Deloitte adds that accountants entering this field need to have a strong foundation that includes communication skills, being adaptable, planning and organizing, and leadership and management skills. But more than that, Allison says that accountants entering into this field need to maintain a reputation of honesty and integrity, given the amounts of fraud scandals that have rocked NPOs over the years. Accountants must also be dedicated and hard working, as much of the charity’s operations are dependant on their ability to manage the finances for special projects.

What path should I take to become a forensic accountant? There are some unique attributes involved in accounting for charities and NPOs. According to Deloitte, these include such things as the deferral method vs. restricted fund method, deferred contributions, internally and externally restricted net assets, different rules on related party transactions, new GAAP for NPOs, disbursement quotas, tax filings, etc. Gaining familiarity with these accounting methods are essential before starting a career in the NPO niche. This overview is shared by Richard Ormiston, a senior associate in the audit and assurance group at PwC. He says, “One of the key accounting issues that charities need to consider is the recognition of their revenue, which typically comes in grants or donations. This is due to the nature of revenue being unique from other clients, as it is typically for a specific and sometimes restricted purpose. As a result, this requires some judgement as to how and when to recognize the revenue.”

So what’s it really like? To learn more about a day in the life of an accountant in the charity and NPO field, we spoke with Kim Moran, COO at Unicef. “The typical activity for somebody doing accounting in a not-for-profit includes such tasks as preparation of monthly financial statements, insuring processes are effective and efficient, and monitoring purchasing for efficiency,” says Moran. “Providing analytical support to others in the organization, making decisions about where to invest, when to invest, that’s probably the major thing.” But why did she take the non-profit route? Moran left a position in the private sector to look for something different, a different range of experience for herself. In fact, Moran shares that when she first saw the opportunity at Unicef, she hadn’t really been motivated to work in a NPO before then. “I didn’t know very much about it ... . But when I got to talking to them, I realized what a tremendous opportunity it was for me. I was attracted to the mission. And Unicef has a tremendous brand name. I knew what its work was ... (and I knew) I could add the skills I gained in the for-profit industry to make (Unisef) more efficient and effective.”

You can fly. Can you soar? We can help.

We’re a top place to work for seven years and counting — and we’re ready to grow. Are you?

© 2012 Ernst & Young LLP. All rights reserved.

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WHY WORK FOR NEXEN? Because you value innovation and seek opportunity. Nexen is big enough to provide boundless career opportunities, and small enough so you get recognized for your work. We offer challenging careers and the chance to pioneer new technologies. Your contributions are rewarded with a highly competitive compensation package and a healthy work-life balance. We’ll help you along with career development and training that will open doors to your future.

On July 23, 2012, we announced the proposed acquisition of our company by CNOOC Limited. Our hiring plans have not changed. We continue to recruit talented, high-performing individuals, and CNOOC intends to retain employees and will inherit Nexen’s remuneration and benefits packages. JOBPOSTINGS.CA | 2012 TXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTX

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The oil and gas industry is hiring — find out how you can accelerate your career, while earning a sweet paycheque By: Amir Ahmed Jobs, money, and power Well, maybe not the “power” you were thinking of. The Canadian gas and oil sector is hiring. With the right credentials, skills, and attitude, you can take advantage of a field that pays well and needs workers. Canadians sit on a mountain of energy. Some of it goes overseas, some of it crosses into the United States, and a lot of it is burned by us: powering our lights and late nights, our PCs and TVs, our planes, trains, and automobiles. According to Cheryl Knight, CEO of the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada (PHRSC), oil and gas also employs a lot of Canadians, “You could say that, directly and indirectly, the industry employs over 500,000 workers. Directly, it’s more in the neighborhood of a 185,000 workers.” And as demand for energy grows at home and abroad, the oil and gas industry is pushing to get more oil from more resources. In this environment, there’s something for every job-seeker: fast-paced work to get you careerready, high-tech toys to play with, and the opportunity to investigate new careers.

The industry that’s hiring A combination of industry growth and an ageing workforce means strong job prospects. The PHRSC estimates 73 percent growth in the oil sands by 2021. “Overall, we expect the oil sands to grow by fifteen thousand jobs [by 2021],” says Knight. “When you take agerelated attrition and vacancies into account, you can add about 10,000.” Oil and gas is also a sector focused on new talent. “The industry is more likely to hire new grads than experienced engineers from other sectors,” says Knight. “The hiring source for engineers is either new grads or hiring from the competition.” Hiring professionals from another sector can cost a lot of money, so companies in the industry tap into the younger crowd. Benjamin Daniels is a recent earth sciences grad from Ontario. For him, oil and gas is a natural extension of his studies


and interests. He’s also attracted to the variety of work, and the international flavour of working in petroleum. “As Canadians, we tend to be focused in on the deposits in the oil sands in Alberta. However, oil can be found in many other types of deposits aside from sand. Examples of these include oil and gas locked up in shale in the United States, as well as reserves that are structurally controlled by overlying salt beds, present off the coast of Brazil.” Daniels also enjoys the prospect of using his skills in a practical setting. “It’s one thing to learn the material in the classroom and answer questions correctly on an exam, but it’s very exciting to consider that the geological interpretations made in the workplace will be used by business executives to make financial decisions regarding the company’s assets.” Students who want a career in the oil and gas industry should expect to work hard, but they won’t be working for nothing. These jobs will land you high-tech equipment and mobility. “There’s great career development [in oil and gas],” says Stephanie Ryan, director of talent acquisition at Suncor Energy, “We’re often on the leading edge of technology. And there’s an opportunity to explore careers that you might not have thought about.” Sharon Sherman, career advisor at the University of Alberta, says the industry is marked by entrepreneurship. But she cautions students that it can be a lot to handle. “Working conditions can be stressful due to heavy workloads with competing priorities and pressure decision-making situations.” On the other hand, you won’t be going through that stress for nothing. Sherman says, “A c c o rd i n g to the 2011

Alberta Wage and Salary Survey results, the average hourly starting wage for petroleum engineers working in the oil and gas extraction industry is $49.99.” Other bonuses include good employment prospects and opportunities for advancement once employed.”

So what’s it really like? “The environment can really vary depending on the employer, area of concentration, and the employee’s experience,” says Sherman. “A petroleum engineer, for example, could specialize in drilling, reservoir management or production. Junior engineers often work in the field while experienced engineers tend to work primarily in office settings.” The plus for students working in oil and gas is that they can learn a lot in a short time and use their experience as a springboard for higher things. Suncor, for instance, offers a mentorship program for engineers. “Our new engineering graduates are able to participate in our engineersin-training program,” says Ryan. “They rotate through the business and work directly with a senior professional for mentorship. A f t e r that


No engineering degree? No problem. Oil and gas goes beyond drills and pipes. The oil and gas sector hires tradespeople, environment scientists, purchasing agents, and line operators.


there’s a l s o a lot of business professional jobs in areas such as finance, human resources, and supply chain — that’s a really big and growing area for our company in particular.” Ryan says that there are even university courses in supply chain management now in response to the growing need for specialists. Alright, enough stalling. they can qualify for their P. Eng.”

No engineering degree? No problem. Oil and gas goes beyond blueprints. The oil and gas sector hires many professions, including tradespeople, environment scientists, purchasing agents, and line operators. Some of these jobs have broad skill sets that you can demonstrate from other work. Some of them just require you to show up and do a good job. For example, there are specific trades that are becoming very valuable for the industry, like power engineers. “There are many opportunities for power engineers with steam backgrounds in the oil sands,” says Knight. That’s because of processes like steamassisted gravity drainage that are becoming popular ways to extract oil from bitumen. Knight adds that health and safety personnel are also a valued field. “Safety is paramount. Every company either hires safety specialists or contracts to safety consultants.” And aside from direct support for oil extractions, business, arts, and finance grads can also find employment. “There are many different career paths you can take in a company the size of Suncor,” says Ryan. “I think a lot of people think about traditional engineering and trades jobs, which we certainly do hire for. But

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how do you get a job in oil and gas? First off, get to know where you want to work. “It’s important to do your research,” says Knight. “It’s an industry that’s divided into a lot of different sectors and the jobs available tend to vary by sector.” Figure out where your skills can take you in the industry and get to know the work you’d be doing. And while you’re doing your research, don’t forget that networking helps if you’re just starting out. “For younger students, my message is simple,” says Daniels. “Get yourself out there and take initiative. Go to job fairs, network with company representatives, and try your best to establish person-to-person relationships with people from companies you’re interested in working for.” For those in sciences, Daniels recommends conferences and conventions. “I would recommend that every student interested in a career in petroleum make a trip out to Calgary to attend the annual Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists convention. There are plenty of opportunities to network with various companies, and, for those of you who are aspiring scientists, there are some very interesting lectures as well!” At the end of the day, it’s also good to make sure your values match up with the company. “When we’re recruiting new grads, we really look for people that are a good fit for Suncor,” says Ryan. “People who would succeed in our company would be those that are passionate and excited about what they do, willing to think innovatively, and thrive on a challenge.” If you’re determined to work in oil and gas you shouldn’t have any problems. We’d wish you luck, but if you can show that zeal to employers, you won’t need it.




Drill Deeper. There’s More Beneath the Surface. By: Andrew Williams

Wait ... what? Analysts? HR representatives? Lawyers? These are people we wouldn’t normally picture all greased up working in an oil field or operating a massive rig. Nevertheless, these are actual roles found in the oil and gas industry. To get a grasp of some of these areas, we spoke with Nancy Eaton-Doke of Nexen, a Calgary-based energy company, to give us a quick glance at careers that aren’t particularly linked to the industry’s more popular engineering roles. And, like most positions in oil and gas, you can be sure the pay is competitive.

investing in people Every year, Talisman employs more than 100 students globally from a variety of educational backgrounds. We offer students meaningful work experience and exposure to industry leaders. Talisman is a global oil and gas company focused on making investments where it matters most: in energy, in people and in the communities where we work.

Walker, a geologist, joined Talisman as a student in 2006.


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Analyst – Workforce reporting and security

What you’d do: “There have been a few entry-level type positions that would be called Counsel,” says Eaton-Doke. Aside from supporting the Senior Counsel, lawyers in this industry handle all the messy legal bits the company might come across, from advising on securities filings in Canada and our neighbours to the south, to monitoring regulatory and legislative changes in Canada, as well as the U.S.

What you’d do: A specialized branch of HR, these folks are concerned with managing the human capital or workforce data issues within the company, and develop better strategies to address and coordinate these issues. Here you’ll work closely with integrated systems and databases, such as PeopleSoft for analysing and reporting. As Eaton-Doke outlines, some of your responsibilities may include:

What you need: A bachelor of law but a juris doctor would look pretty good as well. Career experience is important to have under your belt, with at least two to four years at a Canadian bar and a background in a corporate, commercial, or securities law firm.

Contributing to company surveys

Developing queries and reports to generate reliable and consistent information for year end, board of directors, and other external reporting requirements;

Preparing HR performance measures, scorecard, and general workforce/ demographic analysis.

Human resources What you’d do: Involves dealing with any matter concerning employees, their well-being, and recruitment. Here you might work in the compensation department, reviewing things such as employee salaries. Other tasks may include performance review and interviewing. Eaton-Doke describes graduates who work on alcohol and drug policies within the company and even accidental death and dismemberment policies. Also, in the world of oil and gas where you have employees living on site away from home, expect to make sure that workers are well-accommodated, and that they know where they’re going for their first day of work, especially when they’re assigned to a place like an oil field. What you need: Communication skills and technical skills. “We always ask for cover letters, since résumés tend to look the same,” says Eaton-Doke. “So if you could tell us something about yourself in the cover letter that’s different from everyone else, it’ll give your résumé more of an edge, and that can be an involvement in the community and competitive sports or having activities and interests.”

What you need: At least five years of business experience in an analytical role and proficiency with HR and payroll utilities, such PeopleSoft Query, Crystal Reports, etc.

Community Outreach What you’d do: Employees in this area work and consult with communities. They also ensure adherence to safety standards and regulations, and take measurements towards sustainability. This field is all about building and maintaining relationships, which also includes community investment and media relations. Many companies, for example, have various programs aimed at helping diverse Aboriginal communities. “Nexen has a huge community involvement,” says Eaton-Doke. “We sponsor a lot of different areas, arts and culture, as well as a few things related directly to the business.”

Imagine building a career as part of a diverse team of talented professionals. See how your contributions are valued and trusted, how your efforts impact the bottom line. At Suncor, you’ll find a great company committed to safety, sustainability and helping you succeed.

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Suncor is Canada’s leading energy company with a business portfolio that spans the petroleum sector. We are a preferred employer for top industry talent seeking to grow and succeed in their careers.




What you need: A robust history of community involvement, at least five years of industry experience, post-secondary degree, background in environmental affairs and familiarity with stakeholder issues related to oil and gas.

Environmental engineer What you’d do: Environmental engineers develop approaches to help engineering teams minimize ecological footprints and adhere to environmental regulations. You’ll work towards environmental approvals, assist with action plans, and carry out waste management initiatives. In the event of spills or contamination incidents, you would also help contain and resolve the situation as effectively as possible.


What’ you need: A bachelor’s or master’s in environmental engineering and at least three to five years working in the environmental sector or oil and gas industry.

Supply MGMT What you’d do: “[Supply management] would be working on the complete procurement process for assigned parts of the oil field or corporate purchases up to delivery to the end user,” says Eaton-Doke, “so start to finish of the procurement process.” Indeed, supply chains are an industry all their own, providing all sorts of facets that you can get into. As part of the oil and gas industry, you’ll be managing the logistical aspects of the company’s operations.

The Oil Sands are slowly becoming more environmentally responsible. Since 1990, there has been a 29% reduction in the intensity of emissions.

What you need: A bachelor’s degree in business or training in economics, a background in engineering (preferred), and a designation in procurement, such as the SCMP (Supply Chain Management Professional), will help your chances.

Operations accountant What you’d do: Money, money, it’s so funny. Natural gas resources need a lot of resources to get out of the ground. And with all the money going into and out of an oil company (think of all that land bought, all that oil sold, all that equipment getting maintained, all those taxes to pay), companies need accountants to make sure the numbers check out. Operations accountants compile reports for stakeholders and auditors, and they make forecasts for the company’s future.

Overall oil and gas industry employment rose five percent from 2009 to 2011 thanks to increased investment.

What you’d need: A CMA, CA, or CGA designation wouldn’t hurt. Add that to a couple years of experience and you’ll be good to go.

Industrial electrician What you’d do: Industrial electricians are one of the most sought-after trades groups in oil and gas. There’s lots of equipment to maintain in an oil company. Industrial electricians make sure the power is running smoothly by repairing, installing, and testing electrical equipment, including wiring, conduits, and regulators.

Want to work in oil? You’d better head to where the action is. 81% of oil and gas workers work in Alberta. British Columbia and Saskatchewan follow at 7% and 6%, respectively.

What you’d need: Completing your electrician apprenticeship and qualifying as a journeyperson should be enough to get you started. If you get your master qualifications after three years, that’s even better. Being familiar with safety guidelines like ESA and CSA will be a great asset.

Occupational safety officer What you’d do: On the rig and around the office, everyone needs to stay safe. Occupational safety officers inspect work sites to make sure safety regulations are being met and come up with initiatives to improve safety in the workplace. What you’d need: Usually you’ll either need a background in sciences or engineering with further studies in occupational health or a degree focused entirely on occupational health. Being registered as a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) will help a lot, but it requires three years of experience before you get to take the test and earn your designation.


Canadians consume 7.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day and 1.8 million barrels. Stats courtesy of Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada, Canadaian Association of Petroleum Producers TXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTX


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Discover the oil and gas jobs that can help the environment By: Amir Ahmed The oil and gas sector usually comes under fire for the environmental cost of extracting oil and for the greenhouse gas emissions that comes from burning oil for fuel. But that doesn’t mean the people who work in oil and gas are Captain Planet Villains. In fact, the industry as a whole is working to promote safer and cleaner ways to operate. “My own conversations with oil company geologists over the years has convinced me that virtually all of us are environmentalists at heart,” says Dr. Andrew Miall, at University of Toronto’s department of earth sciences. “I think the professional community in Calgary has been deeply affected by the international protests about Canada’s ‘dirty oil’.” Miall adds that the industry has taken positive steps to environmental responsibility, like Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. “In this regard, the industry is actually way ahead of the federal government at this point. The Harper government policy appears to position environmental issues as secondary in importance and may be out of touch with modern corporate thinking.” This positive industry attitude means jobs for disciplines you don’t normally associate with oil. Environment science major? Bio specialist? You can work in land reclamation: after the company gets their oil, they return the land they got it from to its original state. A company puts down soil, plants seeds, and monitors the wildlife to make sure the ecosystem becomes viable again. The great part about land reclamation is that it requires a whole group of specialists with different scientific backgrounds. If your degree lets you understand water, terrain, wildlife, or vegetation, you can probably find some leverage in a job application for an oil company. Rick Davidson, recruitment lead at Cenovus Energy, says, “When working with land we have a lot of environment science majors working with us ... we have petrophysicists, geophysicists. Different people, different backgrounds.” On the other, more technical, side of things, the industry also needs people who know their way around a blueprint. From carbon sequestration to friendlier ways to extract oil, innovations in the


field are headed by the people researching better ways to do things. Research starts in labs, and (hopefully) eventually ends up in the field. “[An innovation] leads to different things, like modeling, which might turn into piloting, and then to full commercialization,” says Davidson. Sandy Stash, senior vice president at Talisman Energy, also points out that her company needs scientists and engineers to assess extraction processes before it goes into large-scale activity. Currently, Talisman is interested in shale development. While the economic benefits are huge (“We could go from an importer to an exporter in North America,” says Stash), there is controversy around hydrofracking, the process that extracts the oil and gas. Talisman is relying on their own scientists and engineers, as well as others from universities and NGOs, to come up with a better picture of how exactly the environment is affected by fracking. “It has potential impacts for the environment.” Stash says, “So one of the things we’re very, very focused on is ways to minimize any impacts from that on the environment.”

ations and also recycling the water that gets used. We also include water that’s basically salt-water, non-consumption water.” As concern for the environment grows, and as the oil and gas industry tries to extract more and more hydrocarbons from the earth, these “green” jobs are looking better and better for people concerned about the planet. However, you can’t expect to save the world all at once. “There will be a massive job to reclaim land disturbed by surface mining,” says Miall, speaking of land reclamation specifically. “This job has barely started. Its cost and magnitude will certainly test the good will and purpose of the industry and government alike.”

So you have a science or engineering degree., how do you make yourself attractive on that green oil application? Do some research on the specific environmental topics in the area of oil and gas you’re interested in, and then try to get as much knowledge and experience as you can in those areas. Water management, for example, is a big one since water resources are used for extraction. Talisman is interested in using brackish water for frackin and Cenovus wants to minimize water usage for their steam-assisted gravity drainage. Davidson elaborates, “[For The government is in on environmental example], safety too. they’ve mandated jobs to make it using less a reality: according to the PHRC, companies water f o r are obliged by law to hire biologists and our environment scientists to understand the operrisks involved with industrial activity.

Images: ©

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“It’s the b ments with alancing of technica l b consulting e usiness requirements requiren government gineering work from that separates wo or other so rt of comp rking for a any.”

Engineering the world There’s a wealth of diversity in a consulting engineering By: Kevin Nelson Engineers play a large role in the maintenance and development of society’s infrastructure, but opportunities exist beyond working for governments or specialized firms. There’s a thriving consulting engineering sector in Canada and a lot of applications for an engineering degree in the field if diversity and challenge is what you crave. After graduating from the University of Waterloo’s nanotechnology engineering program in 2011, Uzair Chutani found work as a technology consulting analyst at Accenture. “I felt consulting was the right fit for me, because I like different challenges all the time,” he says. “I think with other types of companies, the work can get a little repetitive and potentially boring.” The scope of work a consulting firm does might be broader than you think. “Lots of firms do a wide variety of things that are peripheral to engineering,” says Chris Newcomb, president and CEO of McElhanney Consulting Services. He lists some examples: “Architecture, surveying and mapping, environmental services, even socio-economic analyses.” For Richard Trimble, principal consultant for EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd’s Whitehorse branch, the challenges of the job aren’t strictly based in engineering. “For every project, you always have to keep in mind that there’s been a budget established,” he says. “It’s the balancing of technical requirements with business requirements that separates consulting engineering

work from working for a government or other sort of company.” There are a lot of different ways to progress in the field, including but not limited to further academic studies. “For those who want to specialize in something, like becoming an authority on designing pipelines or sewage plants, post-graduate programs are an option,” says Newcomb. “I don’t think that’s mandatory, though. One of our best highway designers has a mechanical engineering degree, which is a very different aspect of engineering than what he studied. I think you can be a highly regarded specialist through learning on the job.” Education and experience go hand in hand when pursuing a professional engineering license (P.Eng.). “Different provinces have different requirements, although all require an accredited engineering degree, followed by four years of experience, including one year of Canadian experience before you can get the designation,” says Trimble. As far as job opportunities in the near future, Trimble points to natural resources. “Resource development, primarily mining, oil and gas, are where the jobs have been for the past five years and where they’ll be for the next five years,” he says. “Consulting companies do work for the resource development companies too, and when they hire us we need people to do that work.”

consulting engineering field. “I’d recommend that someone take a general engineering degree and find summer jobs at different firms,” he says. “If you do a four-year degree and work three summers, you’re in a much better place to decide what aspect of engineering you enjoy most.” As for getting your foot in the door, it helps to be flexible. “The more mobile you are, the more opportunities you’ll get and the more responsibility you’ll be given,” says Newcomb. “The best opportunities are always in the places where people least want to go.” When he was looking for a job while still in school, Chutani found his opportunity through connecting with consulting professionals. “Lots of schools have great networking sessions, which can allow you to understand what the work looks like,” he says. “Professionals are more able to help if you just reach out. Ask a lot of questions first instead of diving in. It’s your first job and you don’t want to be discouraged after a few months.” For Newcomb, the appeal of a consulting engineering job can be summed up succinctly: “There’s an array of ways to address the world’s great problems, like climate change, and engineers are involved almost every step of the way.”

Newcomb offers advice for those considering the

When it comes to revenue gained from exporting engineering services, Canada is ranked fourth internationally. Images: © ISTOCK.COM




Efficiency maniac Obsessively detailoriented? Like working in a range of fields? Want to make a green difference? Being an energy efficiency specialist may be right for you. By: Amir Ahmed

Energy costs money. Saving money is good. Save energy, save money. You don’t need Mr. Spock to point out the logic. And while homes and businesses try to squeeze every kilowatt, engineering grads can earn some money as energy efficiency specialists. Energy efficiency isn’t anything new. But as conventional energy sources like oil fluctuate on the market, it’s more important for business and homeowners to get the most DC for their dollar. Assya Moustaqim, 23, a McMaster University graduate in electrical and biomedical engineering, shared why she’s interested in the field. “I enjoy finding innovative solutions to decrease waste and increase output. Seeing as energy efficiency projects are often economically beneficial as well, it’s an under-utilized area of profit.”

in common is that they all look to provide services at lower energy costs. It is very broad and sometimes goes back to how innovative a person is.” So you won’t be able to specialize in energy efficiency at school. Instead, interested grads should focus on the core skills they learned in university of analysing and solving a problem with science. “You’re doing what you’ve always been taught as an engineer,” says Fanny Wong, a project engineer at CH2M HILL. If you have strong fundamentals, you’ll be able to adapt to any job. To show interviewers that you know your stuff, keep in mind that energy efficiency is a big ol’ balancing act. “You need to balance the budget, balance the environment, and balance energy efficiency,” says Wong. “You can’t just focus on energy efficiency. You’ve got to be open-minded.”

Moustaqim is interested in energy efficiency in water treatment systems, but The ultimate goal of efficiency is hocurrently, energy efficiency is especiallistic. It’s bound up with everything ly popular for homes and offices. Acfrom the design of the product to the cording to Dr. Hamidreza Zareipour, people who have to live with it. After associate professor at the University all, an empty room with no lighting, The federal government is supporting energy efficiency of Calgary’s computer and electrical with its eco-ENERGY Efficiency for Buildings program. The heat, or ventilation uses very little enengineering department, this is begovernment’s ultimate aim is to reduce emissions, but the press ergy, but no one would want to work and guides offered by the program make it even more tempting cause “This area is a low-laying fruit. there. Working in energy efficiency for businesses to hire an energy efficiency specialist. There are many reasons that saving means working with other disciplines energy in this sector is more achiev— architects, accountants, product able and less expensive to do. For example, the scale is low, people designers, etc. “The best advice I can give,” says Moustaqim, “Is to start to care as energy bills go up.” learn how to communicate and sympathize with others. Don’t let Energy efficiency goes far beyond buildings. It’s not just about how yourself get too narrow-minded. Get involved in things that let you much juice your gadgets use, but how you use those gadgets in the interact and work with people who are different than you.” first place. At the end of the day, the potential for energy efficiency At the end of the day, if you want to be a good energy efficiency speexists wherever energy is. Not a bad market, right? However, that cialist, be a good engineer. If you want to be a great energy efficiency wide market makes energy efficiency hard to prepare for academi- specialist, go a bit further.“Think out of the box,” says Zareipour, cally. “Energy efficiency may require very different skills in different “And question typical practices. Sometimes you get surprised how sectors,” says Zareipour. “The thing all energy efficiency jobs have wasteful they are.”


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Communicate your leadership

Good leaders must communicate well to get their good ideas across. So let’s get the basics down Want to be taken more seriously? Have your ideas listened to? Have people follow you? Then it’s time you learn how to communicate effectively. Just look at Obama down south! Communication delivers a leader’s knowledge to the people who need to execute the company’s vision. Unfortunately, there’s usually a disproportionate balance between knowledge and the tools to deliver it. In fact, a study done by Psychometrics says, “Only 27.8 percent [of those surveyed] rated leaders’ communication skills as effective, even though nine out of 10 people see communication as a critical skill.” In the workplace, this leads to frustration and stress. By: Mary Michaela Weber

Optimizing your communication skills, for a group, a classroom, a boardroom or a room of a thousand means taking a look at your attitude, vocal pacing, body language, and how you frame your ideas. So what can you do to inspire an audience? 1) Use inquiry rather than inform your listener. 2) Use metaphor, anecdotes, and repetition to make your ideas last. 3) Create a clear intention of connection, in a chosen quality of leadership. 4) Engage through varied use of voice and clear body language. 5) Respect your listener as the focus of the event, rather than being self-conscious. For aspiring leaders, success in public speaking, especially within your company or team does wonders for your professional street cred. A well-written speech can manage the “gossip” in an organization. That’s why the five tips above are so crucial. For example, listing facts during a speech or a meeting rarely engages an audience. Embedding your facts into a metaphor can illustrate their impact and create context. Metaphors illustrate a mountain’s height in minutes, rather than try to take you there.


That’s a long climb. Metaphors capture, surprise, and even shock the audience into attention. And when your ideas are revisited with slight variations, we remember them like we remember a musical theme. When this works, the listener participates, rather than passive absorbing information. But metaphor and anecdotes alone aren’t enough to build trust in your audience: trust is built primarily through how you deliver your message. Even the most spectacular words, spoken in a monotone, inaudible, or coldly delivered way, can leave the audience tweeting about their boredom. Vocal variety is key. Imagine if Adele had sung “Someone Like” You in monotone. Would she have sold millions of records? Imagine Adele without her grounded power and vulnerability. Without the repetition and the slight variations in vocal emphasis, “Someone Like You” could have sounded more like a pre-teen crush. The musicality of your voice connects you to your audience. Words alone won’t grab people’s attention. Automated answering systems drive people crazy because of this problem. The inflection and tone of the recordings says, “I am not listening to you.” Your communication needs

to include, not exclude. A recent webinar I facilitated had full participation from coast to coast, with no listeners dropping off for a full hour. Body language also needs to be grounded to connect and manage a room. Adele is simple and grounded in her stance when she sings. She uses clear, evocative gestures. They don’t interfere with her music, but underscore it. It’s a powerful model for becoming a commanding speaker. Bruce Philip, author of Consumer Republic, and winner of the 2012 National Business Book Awards says, “A lot of us work in businesses in which you can only ever be as good as what you can persuade people to let you do. Humans interpret the signals of credibility long before they even try interpreting the content that’s supposed to confer it. I think there are a lot of people you could help out there.” One of the fastest ways to ground yourself onstage, or when seated, is to literally press your feet into the floor, and engage your glutes when you speak. Open the upper chest and release your shoulders. You may need to do a few shoulder rolls to release some tension. Powerful communication requires a genuine curiosity about

the listener’s experience. An audience member does not have to agree with your ideas to respect your ideas. The audience’s experience starts with the attitude you take towards your listeners. Take some time to think about what it would be like to listen to your speech. Your audiences may have to work to pay attention because your fear, stress, indifference, or a false presumption that ‘being likeable’ will be enough to keep them focused. At the cost of putting a meeting together, isn’t it worth looking at how your delivery affects the outcome? Research in Motion’s (RIM) former CEO, Jim Balsille, often appeared dismissive to his audiences, with an abrupt sense of his own importance. One could say this dismissive attitude reflected a certain arrogance and rigidity in his thinking. Some suggest it takes two weeks for attitudes at the top to penetrate the front lines of an organization. Balsille’s attitude and leadership may have left RIM’s flank exposed. What style of leadership do you want to communicate to the room? Is it empathetic, assertive, humorous, or serious? Duncan Hawthorne, CEO of Bruce Nuclear, and Elyse Allan, CEO of



GE Canada are both very connected, warm, personable speakers that have great vocal variety and leave you with the impression that they genuinely care for their audience. Tape yourself giving a sample talk. Do you find yourself inspired or interested by listening to your own recording? Are you captivated? If not, ask yourself if it’s the materials, the delivery, or if a combination of both are to blame. Ask yourself if you can do

any of the following: Can I edit the material down? Shorter is almost always better. Can I switch from fact sharing to inquiry by posing statements as questions and then illustrating them through facts? Is there a story, metaphor, or anecdote that embeds your facts and numbers in a container? It took you a while to get to the 20,000 foot level.

People can grasp the picture of a mountain faster than climbing it. Could you experiment with a few pauses to pull focus when you speak? Upwards of 25 million meetings happen daily in North America. Millions are spent on meetings every year — in salaries, building costs, and intellectual capital. That’s why you should take them seriously as opportunities to develop and establish your leadership qualities. Remember, ongo-

ing development isn’t an option when it comes to your growth as a future leader. Mary Michaela Weber is one of Canada’s top communications consultants, known for using wit and a smart sense of strategy. Her company, Voice Empowerment Inc., brings her background of over 20,000 hours of training to CEO’s and executives in Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, Ivy League University professors, and upand-comers from across North America and the Caribbean.




Make friends with your numbers

Want a rewarding career that offers leadership potential and opens up a vast choice of employment opportunities, consider getting an accounting certificate By: Ariadna Levin Accountants are in demand. Even in the recession, companies need accountants to save money and control their finances. While a bachelor’s degree in accounting has its merits — including more specialization options and more credits toward a professional designation — some people seek a certificate in accounting to augment their business or non-business degree with more financial acumen. College certificate programs in accounting come in many forms, from basic accounting courses to post-grad certificates. Seneca College, for instance, offers various programs of study, including a one-year certificate, a three-year diploma, apprenticeship program, post-grad certificate, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Programs like Seneca’s give students a lot of choice and there are a lot of pathways for them to make upper level connections if they decide to. As Jeff MacCarthy, associate chair of the Seneca’s School of Accounting and Finance, says, “Our whole accounting program framework is set up for students to have a lot of options — from a certificate level to a degree level — and they also have a lot of pathway options. So either the two-year diploma or the three-year diploma, they can transition one into the other, and all of them can pathway into the degree as well.” With so many options, how do you choose the right study path? “It depends on what your background is and what your career aspirations are. We certainly have people that take our one-year and two-year programs. So they aren’t getting a professional designation or necessarily interested in becoming professional accountants. Some are interested in just acquiring some basic or intermediate level accounting skills. For instance, there are students in accounting or payroll programs interested in working for their family business or starting their own business.”

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Some institutions offer accelerated certificates and diplomas in accounting that can be completed in less than a year. Ashton College in Vancouver, B.C., is a private college that offers a variety of options in accounting programs, from accounting software courses to a fasttrack, eight-month accounting diploma. Jane Chang, vice president of business development, says that students enrolling into accounting programs come from diverse backgrounds. “A lot of students who come to our college are adults who already have a degree. We also deal with a lot of new immigrants interested in getting a Canadian designation and that’s where we come in. ... So we want to give people a lot of options. We aren’t asking students to make a commitment to a degree program. Instead, they can even start off with the certificate or even with the software programs, like QuickBooks or Simply Accounting.” Another benefit of taking an accounting certificate in college is the schedule flexibility. Jonathan Gould, chair of business and legal studies at the Centre for Continuous Learning, George Brown College, says, “Our continuing education courses are scheduled in the evenings, making it possible for those who work full-time during the day to attend. Because students have the flexibility to take one to five courses per semester, those wishing to get a taste of accounting before committing to the certificate can do so very easily.” So there are some great choices in accounting programs for students at every level. But before committing to any program, make sure to do your homework and investigate what the program prepares you to do. As with any other program of study, do as much of a background check as possible to have a better understanding of the accounting field and the jobs available once you graduate.

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HireWinston HireWinston

Krista Caldwell, co-founder of HireWinston, talks about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and why taking a taxi doesn’t have to suck.

For some, inspiration comes from a random spark. For others, it comes from an inspiring environment. The latter was the case for Krista Caldwell when she was selected to join an experimental program in high school called Design 44. “It was a bunch of designers and programmers and art students mashed together,” says Krista. “They gave us access to a decent amount of funding and gave us a period to build whatever we wanted for the whole year. It was the first time we had a super unstructured environment to create something. It was kind of scary at first, since in high school [you’re usually told] what to do. But in the end, we created a really awesome magazine, one we never thought we could have done.” “I think it inspired me,” Krista added, “because it showed me what we could do when we weren’t told what to do. And we didn’t need anyone to tell us to create something.” Now Krista, 21, is a forth-year student at Quest University and one of the founders of HireWinston, a smartphone app that takes the headache out of hiring a cab. HireWinston, now on Blackberry and iOS, has been getting a hell of a lot of buzz. Krista’s core team met while participating in The Next 36, a national entrepreneurship program. That’s where they came up with the idea of building software that makes taking cabs and limos super simple. “It lets you book a car for now or later from your smartphone with a couple of touches,” says Krista. “You then pay for the ride automatically and get an accurate record of the transaction that makes it much easier to expense a ride and for your employer to see exactly what the transaction is.” When planning out the marketing and sales strategy for HireWinston, Krista knew that for this app to succeed, it would need to serve


a specific niche. “At first, we wanted to build it for everyone who takes taxis. But we realized the people who have the biggest problem with taxis are professionals who take taxis every day. Lawyers and accountants, for example, who are in cabs all the time and are expected to expense all of their rides at the end of the month. It’s a big hassle many professionals would love to avoid.”

As an entrepreneur, I can see a change I want to make and just go ahead and do it.

Krista believes her focus sets her apart from her competitors. “We know exactly who we’re solving a problem for. And we’re making all of our decisions for that person. So we listen to all of our customers, but when someone asks for a feature, we’re always thinking about the consultant, the lawyer travelling to work. For example, we added a pre-scheduling feature which adds a little complexity on our end, but when someone’s booking their airport flight for Monday morning, they don’t want to wait 20 minutes before their taxi arrives.” But as all entrepreneurs know, starting a business doesn’t come without its rough patches. There comes a time when you have to make the tough call. “When we first got started,” says Krista, “we had this one idea that was a little different than what we’re doing now. To go ahead with it, we had to make this decision: ‘Do we do this? Or do we not want to do this?’ After we took a vote, we had a half-buy in from one person on our team. That’s when we stepped back. “When everyone on your team isn’t bought in to something, you really can’t go forward. At a small company, everyone needs to be working and 100 percent engaged. So we ended up stopping at that point and changing course, eventually ending up with HireWinston. It was a good lesson. I think really believing in your idea is unbelievably important.” When asked what excites her most about being an entrepreneur, Krista lights up. “I really like the challenge of it and the creativity. In school, I was really interested in studying the public and the private interactions in making change. And I think governments, they can change things really slow, and they need lots of support, time, and research before they do something. But as an entrepreneur, I can see a change I want to make and just go ahead and do it.”


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jobpostings Magazine (September 2012, Vol. 15, Issue 1)  

Canada's largest career lifestyle magazine for students and recent grads. In this issue you will find articles about oil and gas, engineerin...

jobpostings Magazine (September 2012, Vol. 15, Issue 1)  

Canada's largest career lifestyle magazine for students and recent grads. In this issue you will find articles about oil and gas, engineerin...