Allison King graduated from Ryerson’s Accounting & Finance program. We sat down with her to talk about what came next after university.
1. What do you do?
I am a senior accountant in the Financial Institutions audit practice at KPMG LLP. I am involved in the audit of Schedule 1 Canadian and International banks in areas of capital markets and personal and commercial banking, with a predominant focus on broker dealers.
2. How did you get into this field?
I got into the CA profession through family influence. Both my dad, uncle and brother are Chartered Professional Accountants and have practiced public accounting for many years.
3. What does a typical workday involve for you?
Each day is different from the day before. While each day may start off the same, with my arrival in the morning at the office at about 8:30 am and grabbing my morning coffee, thereafter each day becomes a different adventure. As a senior accountant I am the one in charge of managing the client engagement, this includes all client requests, staff, manager and partner queries. I deal directly with the client on documentation or issues we encounter during the audit. Depending on the size of the engagement I am assigned to, I can have between 3 and 5 staff working alongside me. I prepare allocations prior to the start of the engagement to ensure they have appropriate sections to work on and I make myself available during the day to answer their questions and help them interact with the client. As well I often review their work prior to manager and partner review. Often the day also includes dealing with questions from partners, managers or even other clients I work on. Being able to multi task is a real plus in my daily routine. After all of this I still need to complete the audit sections I have been assigned. Never is a day a dull one!
4. What skills from your degree do you utilize?
In general, a business degree allows a student to develop critical thinking skills, gain the ability to interpret and explain complex information clearly and focus on problem solving. A specialization in accounting and finance allows a student to focus on developing analytical ability and strong time management, organizational and teamwork skills. As described above, a typical day at work can involve many different client requests as well as staff and manager requests. To meet the demands and the tight reporting deadlines, organizational skills are key. The audit environment is also predominantly team based, with a typical team in the financial institutions practice ranging from 3 to 10 people, pending the size of the engagement. My degree from Ryerson allowed me to build strong teamwork skills through group projects and presentations.
5. What advice would you give to future students wondering about career options with your degree?
A business degree provides any student with a wide range of options for careers. Entering the world of business is a challenge and choosing a specializing will help differentiate one. Highly qualified professionals in accounting, business and finance will be sought for many years to come. Becoming a CPA-CA is a challenging path, but along the way it allows one to develop skills to meet Canadian and international market needs. The exam process is rigorous but it is a great learning experience and gives everyone an opportunity to grow, both emotionally and intellectually. Obtaining a CPA-CA designation will open many doors as to employers it makes one look more reputable and qualified, you can’t go wrong with putting some initials behind your name!
6. Why Ryerson (Why should a prospective student choose Ryerson)?
I can sum up my experience at Ryerson in one word: unforgettable. Being a university in the heart of Toronto, Ryerson provided me with the opportunity to meet a vast array of people, from professors to students for which I still maintain contact with to this day. Small class sizes allowed professors the opportunity to recognize you by name instead of a student number. The professors are caring and compassionate when you reach out for assistance. Even though Ryerson is spread across many downtown blocks and doesn’t have the typical small town university vibe, school spirit still remains strong. Ryerson is what you make it, being a commuter school, some may say it is hard to meet friends. The Ted Rogers School of Management made that obstacle easy. It allows students to easily join different societies and groups and integrate themselves into the business school all while meeting new people. For me, the people made university an experience I will never forget.