“The buck stops with me. Literally! I take my role as Financial Administrator very seriously. It’s critical that the financial integrity of our organization be maintained. There’s no joking about that. But our workplace is loads of fun. I work with great people and we laugh every day.”
Meet Jamie. Jamie is a 35-year-old man who worked in forestry before he was injured and retrained as an Accountant. He is now a Financial for Sidney Community Resources Association.
When Jamie was in high school, he got a part-time job at the local forestry mill, sweeping floors and doing odd jobs. What Jamie liked most about his job was that it gave him a bit of extra spending money so he could buy new equipment for his favourite hobby—mountain biking. After graduation, Jamie worked full-time at the mill and took some business classes from the continuing education department at his local college.
Unfortunately, when Jamie severely injured himself in a mountain biking accident, he could no longer work in his position at the mill. Jamie connected with the local employment centre and met with an Employment Counsellor who helped him determine his next career steps, accommodating his physical limitations. His Employment Counsellor took him through the career planning process and had him examine his values, interests, skills and personality traits.
Jamie always had a strong aptitude for numbers. His financial literacy had allowed him to excel in math and business courses in high school. Through conversations with people who were important to him, along with his own personal reflection, Jamie decided that if he could no longer do physical work due to his disability, he would pursue his education in accounting.
Jamie went back to school and completed the Certified General Accounting program. After graduation, he was hired as the Assistant to Operations Controller for a forestry company. As an Accountant, Jamie needed to be flexible, accountable and adaptable as dealt with multiple people, contracts and systems. He developed the ability to analyze information quickly, adapt to change, and manage his time and priorities effectively.
Jamie was approached by a friend who sat on a volunteer board of directors for a local non-profit organization. They were looking for a board member with accounting experience and a CGA designation. This is where Jamie was introduced to social enterprise. He learned about creating goods and/or services for the enhancement of the well-being of people and society. He started to wonder if there was more to his career than billable hours, invoices and spreadsheets.
Through his work with the board, Jamie learned about opportunities within the non-profit sector. He left forestry for a Financial Administrator position in a community services organization. It was a difficult decision for Jamie as his new salary and benefits would not match his previous compensation. However Jamie wanted a job that was a better fit with his values and would give greater job satisfaction. He wanted to utilize his skills and abilities around money and numbers to help others.
In his current position, Jamie is closely involved with the organization’s development of a social enterprise. He supports the organization by analyzing the information and data, communicating information in an understandable manner, and giving financial input when needed. On the whole, it was the best decision for Jamie. He is able to help others, create a balanced life for him and his young family, and work with really dedicated people.
And Jamie is taking courses through his association so that he can eventually open up his own practice, focusing on accounting for non-profit organizations. Jamie’s long-term goal is to own a business where he can work from home and be semi-retired.