Careers in accounting: Certificate program opens doors to roles in a variety of businesses

May 18, 2022

Behind any for-profit business is a bottom line, and behind any bottom line is an accountant.

The skills required to exercise precision while dealing with finances are in high demand — something that RRC Polytech instructor Lise Nicole Wall understands well.

“It serves anyone well to have accounting knowledge, because every business has to have revenue and expenses, budgets and what-not,” says Wall.

RRC Polytech’s Applied Accounting certificate helps meet this demand through an eight-month program, consisting of two four-month terms, that provides a path for students into entry-level positions, both locally in Manitoba and across Canada. The program highlights “foundational accounting skills,” according to Wall, while emphasizing general business practices, mathematics, communication, computer skills and business software.

The work involved is demanding, but the program’s short timeframe means students can go from being good with numbers to starting their career in just eight months. This includes getting workplace-ready by honing skills like working in a group, respecting colleagues, managing time and communicating well.

“You’ve got your foot in the door,” says Wall of the opportunities provided.

“If you do well, the business doesn’t want to hire externally, they want to promote from within. So quite often, it’s just about getting into that corporation, that company, getting an entry-level position, and proving yourself before moving up.”

“[It’s] pretty great that after eight months you have a skillset and are desirable and ready to be hired, versus a degree, where you might not know where you’re being hired.”

The pathway is a common one, too. A recent RRC Polytech graduate satisfaction and employment report found that 92 per cent of Applied Accounting grads were employed shortly after graduation. One hundred per cent of respondents recommended the program to others, and described the coursework as up-to-date.

One Applied Accounting grad who turned her credentials into a career is Erika Falcao (shown above), who graduated from the program in 2017.

“I really liked the instructors — they were all very knowledgeable and I admired them a lot,” Falcao says in an RRC Polytech alumni profile from early 2020. “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.”

Falcao got her job at Bokhaut Chartered Professional Accountants — first as a staff accountant, and now as a manager — thanks to the networking opportunities provided through Applied Accounting, which goes beyond helping students develop technical skills and also helps connect them to potential employers.

One notable way this is done is through the Directions Conference, an annual RRC Polytech event that connects business and applied arts students with industry professionals.

“I met a Bokhaut representative at [Directions] 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’s roadmap to a career is one Wall has seen many students follow, even while the conference has been a virtual event over the past two years due to the pandemic.

“Students are invited and encouraged to go. Traditionally, we’re in a hotel, there are roundtables with industry, and they’re going to keynote speakers. So it’s really a showcase presentation.”

Outside of Directions, industry professionals are also brought in as speakers, which allows students to hear about specific opportunities and how their accounting skills can be applied in different environments.

For those looking to continue their educations, Applied Accounting students can also apply their coursework to other learning opportunities. Credits earned are directly applicable to RRC Polytech’s Business Administration program, so students can finish their certificate and get a head start on the two-year diploma option.

Profile by John Gaudes (Creative Communications, 2012)

Applied Accounting

Prepare for a career in accounting, including bookkeeping, payroll, and accounts payable and receivable. The Applied Accounting program is still accepting application for the upcoming Fall 2022 intake, but seats are limited so apply today.

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