Erika Falcao credits Red River College for pointing her in the right direction.
Falcao, who is from Recife, Brazil, graduated from RRC’s Applied Accounting program in 2017. She works at Bokhaut Chartered Professional Accountants Inc., an accounting firm that specializes in working with physicians.
She was first made aware of Bokhaut through RRC’s annual Directions Conference, which connects business and applied arts students with industry professionals.
“I met a Bokhaut representative at the Directions Conference and then I sent them my resume. After a couple weeks I got an interview and a job, even before my graduation,” says Falcao.
“So when I finished the program, I had a job already. It was the first and only place I applied to, which was really great.”
Falcao started as a staff accountant at Bokhaut in June 2017, and in January 2019 was promoted to a manager position.
It makes sense that she was able to climb the ranks so quickly, given she worked as a financial analyst for a Brazilian construction company.
Back home, Falcao also earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, as well as a master’s in Business Administration, Financial Management, Auditing and Control from Fundação Getúlio Vargas.
“I didn’t find [Applied Accounting at RRC] that difficult,” Falcao says.
“I really liked the instructors — they were all very knowledgeable and I admired them a lot. It also helped already knowing the concepts of accounting. The program was helpful because even though I have a background in Brazil, I still needed a Canadian background to get the job.”
Applied Accounting is a one-year certificate program offered at RRC’s Notre Dame and Exchange District campuses. The program provides students with the skills necessary to deliver entry-level accounting support, by emphasising the basics of accounting, as well as mathematics, communication, computer skills, business software and general business practices.
Falcao, who studied at the Exchange District Campus, says she and her husband didn’t have too much difficulty adapting to life in Winnipeg, having done a lot of research on the city before arriving in Canada.
Falcao says her experience at RRC was also helpful in easing her transition to a new country.
“I think the main reason is there are a lot of international students there,” she says. “One of the things I was worried about was my English. When I saw a lot of students going through the same thing, it kind of helped.”
Falcao plans to enter a CPA program, but is currently waiting on her permanent residence application to be processed.
Until then, she’s focusing on her work at Bokhaut, which has enabled her to come full circle on her Canadian journey.
“This year and last year I had the pleasure to go to Red River College representing Bokhaut. I was on the other side of the table. It’s a great feeling.”
Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2005)