Amanda Cappiello, CPA, CA Partner
In her own words, Amanda Cappiello is "born and bred" at Crowe BGK. She was hired by the firm in 2009 right out McGill University, where she completed her Commerce degree. While working at the firm, she did her Diploma in Accountancy at Concordia and then got her CPA, CA designation. She credits the climate at Crowe BGK with providing her with the support to enable her to grow her career.
"The partners and managers help you to succeed and achieve goals with confidence," Amanda says, reflecting that the firm provided her with support throughout her accounting schooling and in her career. As she rose through the ranks from junior to manager, she discovered that it was not all about the work, but more importantly the relationships that she built.
"I meshed well with the team, and made best friends here. People make the difference," she says. That personal approach explains why she enjoys working with clients to help them understand and deal with the sometimes difficult accounting concepts that they face. Amanda enjoys using her combination of knowledge and people skills "to put people at ease about accounting."
When thinking about how young professionals should face the challenge of working at Crowe BGK, she adds: "Put your heart into it and show people that you belong. Get involved with co-workers, socialize and develop relationships. Already think and act like you are part of the team; the firm is investing in you, so you should show that you want to be here."
Daniel Blumer, CPA, CA Partner
Daniel Blumer credits some early experiences with laying the foundation of his current career success. While he originally wanted to become a doctor and was studying health sciences at CEGEP for that express purpose, he says that the working life of a waiter taught him some very valuable lessons about interacting with people and client service. When medicine very quickly lost its lustre for him, he switched over to commerce at Concordia. His father was a CPA, CA sole practitioner, and Daniel was attracted to that kind of business-oriented work. However, he had to learn almost everything from the ground up.
This led to Daniel being hired at Crowe BGK in 2000 as a bookkeeper. Unusually, he learned the accounting skills at work before he applied them at school. While working at the firm, he joined the auditing team, and continued to take accounting courses at night in anticipation of the CPA, CA exams. He believes that the on-the-job experience he had in accounting before he took the courses in school helped him both at school and to eventually become a better accountant.
Over the past several years, Daniel has grown his practice with a clientele of small businesses and entrepreneurs. He says he does "entry level accounting for young entrepreneurs." However, there is more to it than that. He has a true love for his work, namely helping those clients grow their businesses and succeed to unexpected levels. He has even seen two of his clients appear on the Canadian television show Dragon's Den, an opportunity for small businesses to entice the seed capital investors they require.
Daniel also has some advice for new professionals: "Find a firm that's a good fit. Plant your roots and grow your career. Enjoy the people you work with and the right environment."
Jean-François Senécal, LL.B., D. Fisc. Manager
Jean-François (J.F.) Senécal is a Notary by trade, now practicing as one of Crowe BGK's commodity tax specialists. While he enjoyed the basic structure of law school and becoming a notary, he discovered that the day-to-day tasks of that profession lacked the challenge he was looking for. When he went back to school to earn his Masters in Tax, he found that he enjoyed the subject very much, and thus found his new career path. His first step on that new path was to work for one of the "big four" accounting firms as a commodity tax specialist. However, he was quickly recruited by Crowe BGK, who was looking for just such a specialist.
"I liked the opportunity to expand my practice," J.F. says. The move to Crowe BGK in 2007, he explains, "expanded my skills in tax practice, expanded my horizons."
J.F. stresses that a firm the size of Crowe BGK gave him the right opportunity to diversify his clientele and his skill set. He also enjoys the individual contacts and types of clients that he advises at the firm. J.F. feels that his practice has become mostly about the personal relationships that he has built with clients, partners, staff members and professionals in Canada and across the world.
His advice to young professionals: "Dream big. From the start of your career, have objectives. Think about where you will be in five or ten years. Every decision should take into account your ultimate objective."
Kristen Emrich, CPA, CA Supervisor
Kristen Emrich received an undergraduate degree from McGill University with a major in Economics and minor in Management. Finding that the subject was not leading her in the right direction, she took inspiration from her father, who was a CPA, CA. She switched tracks to earn a Diploma in Public Accounting from McGill. When she went to work at one of the "big four" firms in 2007, she also worked hard to study for her Graduate Diploma in public accounting and later her CPA, CA exam.
Kristen came to Crowe BGK in November 2011 immediately prior to finding out that she passed her CPA, CA exam. She was drawn to the firm by her feeling that it was a "good fit." She felt that she "clicked" with the people at the firm, noting that the employees were fun-loving and young. While that feeling of having the firm as her second home is important, Kristen also credits Crowe BGK with giving her the opportunity to expand her career horizons. She says that she has had the opportunity to be in charge of most if not all parts of a file, and she enjoys seeing this big picture. She thrives on the challenges that Crowe BGK provides whether it is being involved in a due diligence to prepare a business for being sold or doing future cash flows.
Crowe BGK is, in Kristen's own words, "A family. You are not just a number. There is a very comfortable feeling at the firm. Everyone is approachable." This opinion also leads her to talk about what is important when looking for a firm to join. "Choose a place where you fit in and connect with the people. Having good chemistry and a bond with those you work with creates trust."
As for Kristen's advice to new accountants, she has this to say: "Be prepared to be overwhelmed. But be patient. Work hard, and recognize that it is OK to fail. That's how you grow. Ask questions. That's how you learn. Also, take charge of your career. If you want to do a particular kind of work, ask for it."
Véronique Laporte, CPA, CA Manager
Véronique Laporte discovered her interest in accounting early on. While studying management at Sherbrooke University, she decided that a bachelor's degree in business alone was not enough to open doors for her. She quickly made the change into accounting, which led to her earn her CPA, CA and work at one of the "big four" firms for several years. However, even though her career path at that point in time was typical, she realized that working at a large firm was not for her. Véronique wanted a smaller firm, one where the ambiance was more collegial and it was somewhat "like a big family".
Fortunately, she found just an environment at Crowe BGK, where she began in 2014. Véronique enjoys the challenges that she has found at the firm. She finds that the work varies from client to client and year to year. She appreciates learning about new clients and new industries as she is exposed to them, crediting Crowe BGK's size and client mix with giving her the opportunities to be exposed to a wide variety of work and business owners.
Véronique has this to offer new accountants and students: "Ask lots of questions, and be open to understanding the answers. Real practice is very different from school."
Jennifer Warner, LL.B., LL.M Tax Manager
Jennifer Warner is a lawyer and tax specialist. She joined Crowe BGK in 2012. While working at the firm, she earned a Masters Degree in Tax in 2013. She has developed in-depth expertise in cross-border and international tax, corporate tax and estate planning services that she deploys for a wide variety of Crowe BGK's clients. She enjoys working with her clients, tailoring tax solutions to their short-term and long-term goals. She delivers results while delivering peace of mind for her clients. Jennifer has also published articles in the Canadian Tax Journal on U.S. interactions with Canadian estates.
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"...Through their quality professional services, Crowe BGK helped us grow our company from 30 to 200 employees during that same period, while maintaining cordial relationships with all stakeholders."Daniel Laporte President, Laporte Consultants Inc.