An organization in its infancy, AFCA-BC (Association of Filipino Canadian Accountants BC Chapter) put on a very impressive show on Oct 17, 2009 for its Second Annual Professional Development Workshop with a turn out of over 50 accountants and student accountants, seven of them from FAACPA (Filipino American Association of Certified Public Accountants – Seattle Chapter) who drove 3.5 hours from Seattle to North Vancouver in support of the sister chapter.
In an interview with Shirley Shannon, current VP of AFCA-BC and Chairperson of the PD committee, “Last year, the Seattle Chapter sent 22 delegates to help us launch our first PD workshop. This year, we are very pleased that we can finally stand on our own.”
One of the objectives of the organization is to help Filipino Canadian immigrant accountants integrate into Canadian workplace and society by providing mentorship, continuing education, networking and professional development. Yet, the organization attracts membership from accountants of all races, including native born Canadians, Chinese, East Indians. In cooperation with ISS of BC (Immigration services Society of BC), AFCA-BC now has a structured format with which they can use for mentoring.
Speakers for the workshop reflects the diversity of the group. Cecil Sanchez, the organization president is a controller at West Fraser Timber and was able to recruit powerful speakers such as Meryl Tellis, Taxation Manager who spoke on IFRS IAS 12, and Ed Nickel, CGA and Manager at West Fraser spoke on Bill 198 Corporate Governance. Dennis Cojuco, a chartered accountant spoke on overview of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standard). Edward Teodoro from RBC Dominion spoke on Retirement Planning and Laurie Sing/Veronica Heringer did a joint presentation from ISS of BC (Immigrant Services Society) on the How, Why and Benefits of Mentoring.
The response from the attendees was very good. “Ed Nickel has a way of making a boring subject (Bill 198) sounds interesting” Coulson Askew noted. “I don’t think there was a single participant who fell asleep during the seminars.”
Veronica Heringer, with a BA in journalism and formerly a TV Broadcaster in Brazil talked about first-hand experience and frustrations that she as an immigrant faced due to difference in culture, and how a mentor can help.
It was a day of professional development, and of fun, food and networking. According to Laurie Sing, “This is a fun and friendly accountant’s group.” Some people might think that the term “accountant” do not equate with fun, but this group is different.