November 4, 2011

Want a job? Be careful what you post.

by Scott Roehl

Social media has quickly transformed the landscape of how we connect with one another and access information. Through this rise, it has also been interesting to watch the effect it has had on hiring practices. Many companies now use social media channels to promote new job opportunities or to seek out potential candidates. The other side of this trend is that many employers now use these very same channels to review candidates (numbers vary depending on the study but I have seen some very high percentages of employers who acknowledge they review candidates on social media sites).

This post is not meant to support or condone these practices nor will I debate the issue of privacy with what you post online. The reality is whether you like it or not, employers will very likely use social media to review whether you are a suitable fit for their organization. The choice becomes whether you as a student completely ignore this fact or realize that you have to take responsibility for what you post.

The graphic I reference above (credit Kashmir Hill) points to some of the reasons surveyed employers did not hire a candidate after searching them through social media. Even with privacy controls, consider that online there is no guarantees of privacy. Be mindful and careful on what you share as it can live on for a very long time and even impact future employment.

October 25, 2011

Managing That Student Stress

by Scott Roehl

It’s tough being a student. Your time is stretched in every direction and sometimes it can almost seem too much. I am reminded of the stress in being a student especially at this time of the year when midterm exams are occurring at many of the post-secondary institutions in Manitoba.

While I have no magic solution for making all that stress disappear, I do want to take a moment to offer some ideas on how to manage (perhaps even minimize) some of it. Feel free to share your tips in the comments!

  • Exercise – As @TypeACubed suggested on our @cmamb Twitter Account, “Boxing and Pan Am Boxing Club! There is nothing like hitting the bag and sweating out the stresses of the day.” Whether it is boxing, running or playing team sports, exercise is a great way to release stress and re-energize.
  • Get More Sleep – What is that? I realize it is easier said then done as a student. but take care of yourself and make sure you are getting adequate rest.
  • Take time for Friends – When opportunities arise, take time in your schedule to meet up with friends. Friends are there for you and can be a sounding board for the stress and challenges you are experiencing.
  • Tune in to something else – Put some music on or put on that favourite TV show to watch. These little “breaks” can help you in coping with all that stress.
  • “Staycation” – If you ever watched the show Corner Gas you might recall actor Brent Butt taking a “staycation” – essentially dreaming about vacationing in an exotic location without actually going anywhere. Reality is, not all students are in a position to take vacations away during school. Instead, have a mini-vacation and find some fun activities you can do locally to get out, have fun and relax.
October 21, 2011

Accredited University Graduate Explained

by Scott Roehl

A popular question I have received this fall has been in regards to what the CMA Accredited University Graduate means and how to achieve it? Let me explain.

For most students interested in pursuing a CMA designation, a recognized Canadian university degree (or an approved international equivalent) in conjunction with the successful completion of CMA pre-requisites in accounting and management topics is required to challenge the CMA Entrance Exam. Graduates who have not completed all of the CMA prerequisites can complete the CMA Accelerated Program in order to challenge the CMA Entrance Exam.

In Manitoba, the B.Comm. (Hons.) accounting major program delivered at the Asper School of Business is a program accredited by CMA Canada. This means that students at the Asper School of Business who successfully complete their degree program including all CMA pre-requisite topics while maintaining a high GPA over their course work may be eligible to be waived from the CMA Entrance Exam. If approved as an Accredited University Graduate, the student would be able to proceed directly in to the CMA Strategic Leadership Program.

Students who are considering the Accredited University Graduate path need to consult with the CMA Manitoba Office while completing studies at the Asper School of Business to ensure understanding of what is required to apply for the waiver.

September 26, 2011

Meet Steve Blunt, CMA

by Scott Roehl

Behind each of our CMAs in Manitoba is a unique story. This week I would like to introduce you to Steve Blunt, CMA who has made the move from Manitoba to living and working in Australia. If you have any questions for Steve, please leave them in the comments.

Which University or College did you attend?
I attended the University of Manitoba and attained my BComm (Hons) in 2001 from the Asper School of Business, with a major in Finance.

What drew you to your current field of work?
My current job came about from my wife’s decision to pursue a Master’s degree abroad. Moving from Winnipeg to Sydney, Australia provided a great opportunity to start fresh and gain experience in another business sector (to that point, all of my experience had been within the manufacturing sector). In Sydney, I took a great opportunity within the government sector. I now work for the New South Wales Department of Trade and Investment as the Senior Management Accountant for the Office of Water.

What do you enjoy most about being a CMA?
What I enjoy most is being able to apply the CMA skills in senior business functions, such as developing and implementing business strategies. The broader business mindset of the CMA enables me to act and think like a business owner rather than simply as an accountant. As a result, I’m more engaged and better able to contribute to my organization’s overall success.

What attracted you to the CMA designation?
After graduating with a major in finance, I quickly found that most finance related jobs in Manitoba were hard to get if you didn’t also have an accounting major. I was then offered a job on the condition that I pursue an accounting designation, and the best fit for me was the CMA. It was strongly recommended by several colleagues and allowed me to take the accelerated program, which saved several years of potential evening classes. The CMA Strategic Leadership Program was also more suited to my interests, and enabled me to avoid tax and auditing!

Which skills did you develop in the CMA program that have impacted your career the most?
The most important skills I’ve developed include confidence in my ideas, critical analysis of issues, and the importance of separating operational and strategic issues. Understanding the strategic issues faced in our workplace changed my attitudes towards the business decisions being made, and enabled me to develop and take on a management role. The CMA truly prepared me for that role. It also led the way for an opportunity on a senior strategic planning team, which determined and presented viable recommendations for the future direction of the company. This has been my most valuable work experience thus far.

Where do you think the CMA designation will take you in the future?
The most beneficial aspect of having an accounting designation is that there is no limit to my future potential: It will take me as far as I am motivated to go. My current goal to is gain experience to prepare myself for a senior management role, where I can apply my skills and directly affect company change.

What advice do you have for students considering an accounting designation?
Talk with people with different designations in detail about their experiences, and what limitations they see in each designation. Every designation has strengths and limitations, and most people don’t know much about the others until they’ve already completed the one program they chose. Really think about where you want your career path to go, and which designation is best suited for you.

Lastly, be realistic about the effort required to achieve your designation. Working and studying at the same time is a continuous challenge: you need to be fully committed if you want to pass.

[Note from Scott Roehl: I would like to thank Steve who graciously provided his time from across the world to answer these questions.]

September 21, 2011

Back to school!

by Scott Roehl

What a summer here in Manitoba. The weather was warm, the Jets have come back and there were hardly any mosquitoes! But as summer gives way to the fall, another school year of university and college starts up. New beginnings, renewed energy and even light at the end of the tunnel for those students graduating this coming year. It will be another great year!

Over the summer I took a bit of a hiatus with this blog but with the new school year, I am looking forward to contributing regularly and answering your questions. Along the way I have some interesting posts to share (hopefully they will be of interest!) and new interviews with Manitoba CMAs who are making a positive impact on organization’s in Winnipeg, across Canada and around the world. As one of the guiding principles for establishing this blog was to expand on common questions I get from students, rest assured I will continue to answer these questions on this blog.

Students, welcome back and all the best for the upcoming year!





July 6, 2011

What does the potential CA/CMA merger mean to students?

by Scott Roehl

On May 24, 2011, the leaders of the Chartered Accountants of Canada and the Certified Management Accountants of Canada announced they had entered into discussions to explore the possibility of uniting the CA and CMA organizations through the creation of a new professional designation –  the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). Following this announcement, a consultation process was established to engage important stakeholders in a dialogue including Members and Candidates of the respective organizations.

Since the announcement, I have been approached by a few students who have wanted to learn more about why this is occurring and, probably just as important, what the impact may be. I suspect that once classes begin in the fall, more students will be asking similar questions.

To begin with, I strongly encourage students to review the information that has been provided to Members and Candidates of both organizations. To assist you, here are some helpful links (also available through

Uniting the Canadian Accounting Profession Position Paper

Uniting the Canadian Accounting Profession Paper Highlights – a “coles notes” summary of the key points in the full position paper

Consultation Update – June 2011

Video: Joy Thomas, President and CEO, CMA Canada, talks about uniting the Canadian accounting profession

For a student considering the CMA designation these resources provide an important window into the global factors impacting the accounting profession here in Canada and why the respective organizations are addressing them now. As you review the information, reflect on what is being discussed and understand the impact on you. For students, this potential merger represents the prospect of a further strengthened and respected accounting credential in Canada and improved mobility opportunities globally. Over the long-term this would also serve to reduce confusion over multiple designations and increase recognition of the value you can provide to any organization as a professional accountant. These points aside, consider the full impact and be sure to ask questions.

Finally, you have an important voice in this consultation process as well. Should you have any comments or questions to share, please email them directly to me – sroehl @ I will ensure your privacy and pass along the comments verbatim for consideration.

July 4, 2011

5 tips for presenting ideas – Teachings

by Scott Roehl

5 tips for presenting ideas – Teachings from the ad world (via Terry O’Reilly – @AgeOfPersuasion) >

June 29, 2011

Leadership and the 4 new Ps

by Scott Roehl

If you come from a marketing background like myself or you have sat through an introductory course on marketing, then the 4 P’s ingrained in you are linked to the marketing mix elements of Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Amidst all of the excitement over the last few weeks with the announcement of NHL Hockey returning to Winnipeg this fall (Go Jets Go!), 4 new P’s emerged that are worthy of consideration for future business leaders. Stated in a June 6, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article, NHL League Commissioner Gary Bettman referenced Mark Chipman’s “Patience, Perseverance, Professionalism and Persistence.” Now those are some worthy 4 P’s to follow!

While these 4 new P’s certainly apply to Mark Chipman’s and True North Sports & Entertainment’s long-term vision and approach to landing an NHL team, they are very much relevant in application for any developing leader. As a student, it can be hard to envision where exactly you want to go or how you are going to get there. To update an analogy that helped shape the original marketing 4 P’s, following this recipe of the “new 4 P ingredients” can really go a long way to helping you accomplish whatever goals are set out.

May 3, 2011

Meet Shawn Eni, CMA

by Scott Roehl

Thanks to Shawn Eni who provided some great insight on his path to becoming a CMA. If you have an additional question for Shawn, please post it in the comments section and I’ll work on getting a response.

Which University or College did you attend?

I majored in Administrative Studies at the University of Winnipeg, graduating in 2003.

What drew you to your current field of work?
I spent 10 years employed with Canada Revenue Agency, 5 years as an agent for individual tax returns and 5 years as an auditor for income tax and GST.

After achieving the  CMA designation, I decided there is better use for all the creative, out-of-the-box thinking I developed in the CMA Program, so I looked for another job… in Israel. I am now the Financial Manager for Nalco Israel Industrial Services Ltd.

What do you enjoy most about being a CMA?
The most interesting thing about being a CMA so far has been the fact that I am the only CMA in Israel. At my job interview with Nalco, I explained what a CMA is and why it’s different than other accounting designations. I think my explanation may have been a big factor in their decision to hire me.

Now in my job I perform all those things a CMA does over and above an “ordinary accountant”. This includes strategic decision making and management analysis to support decision-making.

What I enjoy about this is the feeling of personal accomplishment when my work has a noticeable positive impact on the company. Something they probably wouldn’t get if they hired an “ordinary” accountant.

What attracted you to the CMA designation?
I left high school with dreams of a career scoring for films. I attended University of Manitoba School of Music for one year before I felt that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I should be. After a lengthy talk with a friend who was then going through the CA School of Business, he pointed out the many benefits of a career in accounting. While I never wanted to be a “number cruncher”, I researched different types of accounting careers. I then read up on CMA which instantly drew me in because it’s not only “number crunching”. It’s everything a business needs: strategy, creativity and a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. This instantly drew me in and way back in 1999 I began attending university part-time with the intention of completing all the prerequisite courses required for CMA.

Which skills did you develop in the CMA program that have impacted your career the most?
The ability to negotiate, the ability to look for important strategies in unexpected places, and the ability to present myself in a confident manner. In negotiations, it’s now second nature to look for win-wins. I experience this when dealing with customers, suppliers and banks. I also gained the ability to present findings confidently in a manner which is understandable to all managers in my company. Even with language barriers which are inherent in a multi-national company such as Nalco.

Where do you think the CMA designation will take you in the future?
While Nalco Company is a billion-dollar global corporation with over 11,000 employees worldwide, I am the only member of the financial team at Nalco Israel. The Israeli company is still young and is growing rapidly. Therefore it is expected that within the year, I will be leading my own financial team here in Israel. CMA has given me the tools to be an effective leader. My future goal is to be an influential team leader not only within Nalco, but internationally as well.

What advice do you have for students considering an accounting designation?
While studies leading up to the CMA Program and for the program itself are challenging, there is definitely an element of fun. The interactive sessions are very informative and allow each student to apply what they learn in their current job.

My advice is to choose an accounting designation where its theories are easily applicable to one’s current position as well as everyday life. While in the CMA Program, one can almost go into their jobs the following Monday and immediately apply what they learned at the interactive sessions and in the readings.

April 25, 2011

Meet a CMA

by Scott Roehl

The possibilities of what you can do with a CMA designation are almost limitless. But what does that really mean to a student? It is hard enough sometimes just getting through your university or college program, never mind planning for another 2 – 3 years of part-time study after to attain the CMA designation. And then where do you want to go with your CMA designation? That is a lot to think about.

One reason I enjoy working with the CMA office in Manitoba is the large number of CMAs working in all different types of roles and industries who are very willing to take time often from demanding schedules to speak with students. Any student whether in first or last year of studies can take advantage of the opportunity to be connected up with a CMA to speak with. From the feedback I receive, students really value this interaction to ask questions and learn directly from a CMA about why they chose the designation and where it has taken them. This can be quite helpful when you are deciding whether CMA is a good fit for your future.

To provide further assistance, I will begin to connect CMAs in to this blog regularly as an added way for you to hear their story and insights. If you have an additional question for the CMA, you will be able to post it in the comments and I’ll make sure to get a response for all to see and benefit from.

The inaugural CMA Profile post will feature a CMA who has taken his designation and creative thinking globally to work with a mult-billion dollar international corporation. Stay tuned for his story!