Algonquin College accounting students learned the importance of networking from recent graduates and potential employers at the annual Accounting Career Evening.
On Feb. 5, over 140 students gathered in room 105 of the ACCE building. Four accounting graduates, two accounting firms and the Canada Revenue Agency presented insights about the accounting field. These insights included potential career paths, requirements for different employers, how to apply to accounting firms and how to build professional relationships.
“Ultimately, the students want to find a job at big firms or with the government,” said Sandra Yuk-Sim Wu, chair of Algonquin’s financial, accounting, office administration and legal studies. “That’s why we invited the CRA, Welch LLP and also Business Sherpa Group. The goal is to prepare students to understand what the industry is looking for and how to present themselves.”
“Networking is something I was oblivious to when I was applying for jobs,” said accounting graduate Brent Huang. “I got my job from a referral from a professor, so I want to emphasize networking here at Algonquin.”
Naman Setia, brand ambassador for the CRA, also overlooked networking when he was a student.
“I never actually networked properly in school and I kind of regret this,” Setia said. “My overall advice is to connect with people.”
In his speech to the students, Setia explained his job within the CRA and the agency’s application process.
Chris Meyers, a chartered professional accountant and partner for Welch LLP, explained the firm’s openness to hiring young accountants. As a teaching firm, the company offers paid positions for both students and new grads.
“The most important thing you can have is not something technical at all,” Meyers said. “It’s the ability to tell a story. The ability to communicate with confidence. To understand how to be curious about the work that you do and the clients that you serve. Your role as accountants will be pivotal in navigating the complexities of the financial world, ensuring transparency and trust.”
Following the formal presentations, presenters and students got to mingle, discussing personal career goals and questions about the accounting field. Welch LLP and Business Sherpa Group also had booths with free pens, stickers and notepads, as well as info pamphlets geared toward students.
To thank the learners for their attendance, the organizers provided free cookies, pastries and coffee. To top the evening off, AC’s accounting professors raffled off several prize bundles, which contained accounting firm-branded water bottles, notebooks and pens.