Are you looking to enter the world of business or finance? With so much information available, endless courses, and a mountain of college degrees, it can be hard to know where to start. Y.T.Taking the first step can often seem like the hardest part.
That’s where a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation can help. A fantastic way to take control of your career path, a CPA designation can open new doors, increase opportunity, and ttransform your career and your life.
This was the case for Christopher Yee, a young BC entrepreneur who took advantage of his CPA to start his small business.
Yee’s interest in business began at an early age while helping her grandparents at their Chinese-American restaurant in Redding, California.
“I was inspired by his ability to create a successful business through hard work, determination and a focus on his customer experience. At the time, I had no idea what kind of business I would start, but it planted an entrepreneurial seed in me that I wanted to explore one day,” she says.
Over the years, Yee’s interest in business continued to grow and a family member suggested he pursues accounting. This led him to attend UBC’s Sauder School of Business and later to pursue a CPA designation to learn the fundamentals of running a business.
“Becoming a CPA was one of the most challenging but most rewarding experiences of my career,” says Yee. “I have found that through the experience of working on various teams, meeting other young professionals, and studying with my colleagues, I have made lifelong friends who continue to have a positive impact on my life. I also developed a high level of strength that has been required to face the many challenges encountered along the way to starting my business.”
For Yee, earning the designation had its “ups and downs” and wasn’t always easy, but the hard work paid off as it showed him the importance of “setting and prioritizing goals, finding the right partners and building a strong team” while teaching him a lot about himself.
Following his passion, Yee opened his small businesses, Brew Your Bucha and The Cocktail Box Co., along with his partner, Derek Saito.
“With the experiences and knowledge gained through my CPA designation combined with the guidance and knowledge shared by other business owners and professionals, I had a solid foundation to take the leap and start my own businesses, whether it be understanding the importance of cash flow management. , budgeting or general operations management,” he says. “I had confidence because my CPA designation was a strong back-up in case the business failed.”
Looking ahead, Yee has set himself some ambitious goals to ensure his businesses continue to grow.
“Six years have passed since we started our company and our goal is to continue to grow the business globally. We have built a strong team, and since we acquired our business in 2021, with the additional resources, I continue to focus on learning how to become a more effective leader for our team,” he says. “Eventually, my goal is to start another company focused on health and wellness and aligned with my passion for the outdoors and triathlons.”
Yee is currently sharing her experiences with other young CPAs and plans to continue guiding them on their professional and entrepreneurial journeys. Her advice to anyone considering a CPA is to “take a leap of faith” but be strategic.
“I believe that having an entrepreneurial spirit is not defined by leaving your job and just going for it. I think it’s being proactive but methodical and calculated to find an approach that just takes you out of your comfort zone. Not every idea will be a home run, but taking baby steps until momentum builds is the key to success.”
To learn more about the CPA designation, click here, or register today for a CPA recruitment event or information session with Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia.