Do you want 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. And TTaking the first step can often seem like the hardest part.
This is 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 opportunities and ttransform your career and your life.
This was the case of Christopher Yee, a young entrepreneur from British Columbia who used his CPA to start his small business.
Yee’s interest in business began at a young age when he helped his grandparents at their Chinese-American restaurant in Redding, California.
“I was inspired by their ability to build a successful business through hard work, determination and a focus on their customer experience. At the time, I had no idea what type business that I was going to start, but it planted an entrepreneurial seed in me that I wanted to explore one day,” he 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 the Sauder School of Business at UBC and later earn the CPA designation to learn the fundamentals of running a business.
“Becoming a CPA has been one of the toughest but most rewarding experiences of my career,” says Yee. “I have found that through the experience of working in various teams, meeting other young professionals and studying with my colleagues, I have found lifelong friends who continue to have a positive impact about my life. I also developed a high level of courage that was needed to face the many challenges encountered on the way to starting my business.”
For Yee, winning the title came with “ups and downs” and wasn’t always easy, but the hard work was more than worth it, as it showed him the importance of “setting goals and prioritizing them, finding the right partners, and building a strong team” – while also teaching him a lot about himself .
Following his passion, Yee opened his small businesses, Brew Your Bucha and The Cocktail Box Co., alongside his partner, Derek Saito.
“With the experiences and knowledge gained through my CPA designation, combined with the advice and knowledge shared by other business owners and professionals, I had a solid foundation to take the leap into starting my own business. – whether it’s understanding the importance of cash flow management, budgeting, or general operations management,” he says. “I had confidence because my CPA designation was a solid safety net in case the business failed.
Looking to the future, Yee has set ambitious goals to ensure the continued growth of its businesses.
“It’s been six years since we started our business, and our goal is to continue to grow the business globally. We have built a strong team, and since acquiring our business in 2021, with the additional resources, I continue to focus on learning to become a more effective leader for our team,” he says. “Ultimately, my goal is to start another business 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 supporting them on their professional and entrepreneurial journeys. His 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 quitting your job and going for it. I think it’s being proactive but methodical and calculated to find an approach that just pushes you out of your comfort zone. Not every idea will hit home run, but taking small steps until momentum builds is the key to success.
For more information on the CPA designation, click here, or register for a CPA information session or recruitment event with Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia today.
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