After 20 years working in information technology, Shaun Good wanted a career change. The Senior Programmer Analyst at Langara began taking accounting courses in 2013 and is two courses away from completing his Continuing Studies Diploma in Advanced Accounting.
“The Continuing Studies program provided the quickest pathway,” says Shaun, whose ultimate goal is to become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).
While the past few years of working full-time and studying have kept him busy, he found time to take on the role of Director of Communications with the Langara Accounting Club, working with students in the College’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) to organize events.
“It’s been great to get an understanding of the College from both sides,” he says. “It gave me a better appreciation of what the College is trying to do and how the different areas are actually helping students.”
After moving to Vancouver from Australia seven years ago, Shaun also enjoyed working with students who came to Canada from around the world.
“One of the interesting things I’ve found is that Langara students come from so many different countries,” he says. “My studies and my time with the Accounting Club have allowed me to make good friends of diverse ages and backgrounds.”
Shaun found it was easy to connect with students in the Accounting Club because they were working towards the same goal he was: finding a good job they’ll enjoy. Last semester, the club hosted their first networking event, bringing in representatives from various accounting firms to meet accounting students from Langara as well as other local colleges and universities.
“It was definitely fun and rewarding to be able to help with that event,” says Shaun. “Getting known within a firm is such a big part of the recruiting process in this field. It was great knowing we were helping fellow accounting students make those connections.”
Shaun Good is a huge Vancouver Whitecaps fan and attends as many of their home games as possible. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting the VanDusen Botanical Garden and Steveston Village.
Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Daniela Oshikawa was a furniture designer and freelance 3D artist before coming to Canada and enrolling in the Continuing Studies Diploma in Advanced Accounting Program.
“My first semester was a huge wave of information in a language that I rarely used,” says Daniela. Not only was she adapting to a new culture and country, she also had to navigate the administrative processes required to start her education. “As an international student, everything is new to you.”
Daniela decided to attend Langara shortly after arriving in Canada because of its support for international students. Here, she found plenty of students making the same transition and Canadian students who were understanding and helpful.
“I immediately felt the unity of the community here and it made me want to be part of it,” says Daniela. She got involved with the VOLT volunteer program and was hired to be a Peer Supported Leader for her Financial Accounting 1 class. Through these activities, she learned a lot about other cultures and met great leaders who care about others’ success.
Though she hasn’t graduated yet, Daniela has already found work as an accounting clerk at Compendia, an accounting firm specializing in the film industry. Her background made her a great fit for the company, which balances accounting and the arts.
“I love working there because their values resonate with me,” says Daniela. “As designers, we are always seeking solutions and innovation. In accounting, if you want to become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), you need to develop a similar way of thinking.”
Her experience as a self-employed artist also helps her relate to the clients. She remembers what it is like to spend so much time and energy trying to make sense of the financial aspects of a business rather than focus on the creative side. “Accounting looks like a foreign language at first,” she says, much like film and design have their own vocabulary.
“If you don’t speak your clients’ language, how can you help them to succeed?”
Daniela Oshikawa received a $1,000 scholarship from the Chartered Professional Accountants’ Education Foundation of BC in 2017. She loves to ride her bicycle on the seawall in her free time.
I graduated from university with a bachelor's degree in cell biology, but decided to pursue a career in accounting. As a mature student, it was quite different going back to school; I was in the classroom for a purpose. My goal was to accelerate my completion of the CGA program, and become designated.
I liked how the accounting program at Langara was structured and its flexibility. The ability to transfer the courses towards my CGA requirements was also a definite plus. I took one course through the CGA distance education program, and it just wasn't working for me. The timeslots for the courses at Langara worked out well while having a full-time, nine-to-five job. I liked the convenient location and in-class environment. In comparison to my other post-secondary experiences, I enjoyed the smaller class sizes, and found the instructors were able to be more personable. It was quite the difference from sitting in a large lecture hall watching the teacher speak for the complete duration of the class. Having a lecturer lead the discussion and the course topics was infinitely more beneficial compared to reading pages and pages of text on a computer monitor.
My fellow classmates were in the same situation as I was, working full-time and looking to further their careers. Being surrounded by other students keen on advancing their careers made it even more welcoming, as well as being able to make new connections. It brought about an elevated level of interaction and networking that has contributed to where I am today. Studying at Langara helped further advance my career and I am on track to earn my CGA designation in 2015.