Many people may think CPAs are just accountants, toiling away at the books. Of course, they are. But they’re much more than this. Chartered Professional Accountants are also trusted business advisors who are ready and available to promote the socio-economic well-being of everyone.
In fact, CPA New Brunswick members work in every sector – from retail and manufacturing, to information technology and agriculture – in every corner of the province, where they also donate their time working with countless non-profit organizations. They not only serve the community; they are a part of the community.
That’s the message the five-year-old organization’s energetic new President and CEO Mylène Lapierre is working hard to convey from her Moncton, N.B., headquarters.
“You know, in the recent past, we’ve been seen more as the police,” she laughs. “And it is true that we have focused on the regulatory side of things, making policies and bylaws, and that’s important. But as we go forward over the next three or four years, we want to make sure that people understand the broader relevance of our members – as a real go-to resource for business owners, the public, and the public sector.”
CPA NB’s five pillars – which support its mission and values to protect the public interest; help improve socio-economic conditions; and operate with integrity, excellence, open-mindedness and accountability – state the case clearly.
There is, of course, its commitment to regulatory excellence in maintaining legislation and performing regulatory oversight that promotes confidence in the CPA designation and protects the interests of New Brunswickers.
But there’s also education and knowledge stewardship to expand and satisfy the demand for high quality business and accounting professionals by delivering quality, relevant CPA credentialing, professional development, and innovative opportunities that enhance value to members and stakeholders.
There’s member relevance through the development and delivery of meaningful products, services, events, and opportunities that are sought after and valued by members. There’s thought leadership through becoming a cogent voice in New Brunswick for responsible business and economic wellbeing. And there’s operational effectiveness in efficiently employing available resources and adopting the tools and techniques that enable improved organizational productivity and outcomes.
Says Lapierre: “There will always be times when people may not know how to navigate difficult situations. Take the current COVID-19 health emergency. A CPA can be very helpful for a business owner, for everyone, in these times. A CPA is a natural problem-solver: very calm, very consistent and logical… It is important to know that we can play a crucial role during the recovery from this crisis. We can bring a lot to the community at large.”
CPAs in New Brunswick are already active volunteers through the national organization’s Financial Literacy Program, delivering free education sessions on a variety of topics to community groups. They contribute to the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, where they freely help New Brunswickers with modest incomes file their taxes. In fact, after the pandemic forced the closure of planned in-person tax clinics, CPA NB quickly pivoted; in just over a week, while respecting social distancing requirements, it planned and launched a virtual, online-only offering to assist the public with filing.
Moreover, with its comprehensive training program and continuous professional development, CPA NB makes sure that every time a business hires one of its members it’s getting the very best the profession has to offer. This is crucial when government or businesses need professional expertise in addressing financial and economic topics. Especially now. “Really,” Lapierre says, “with the current pandemic and the long-term recovery activities required, now is the time to have a CPA on the team.”
But, beyond this, she says the bigger picture is longer term.
“We understand that what’s really important for business owners is not just what has happened in the past, but what could happen in the future. CPAs have the skill set to help with forecasting based on facts and analytics. We can play a role by ensuring that we stay relevant to every part of the community. After all, it’s our community, too.” •