January 21, 2019 - 12:45pm
Vancouver Island University (VIU) Bachelor of Business Administration graduate Daniel Gardiner’s hard work has added up to a successful career at an international accounting firm and, recently, a rare accolade – earning a spot on the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada’s 2018 National Honour Roll. Gardiner, who graduated from VIU in 2016 and is now a Senior Accountant with KPMG Canada in Vancouver, scored in the top one per cent of the more than 6,000 Canadians who wrote the 2018 Common Final Examination – the final step in becoming a Certified Professional Accountant.
“Earning a spot on the CFE National Honour Roll is an incredible achievement,” says VIU Accounting Professor Chris Burnley. “Daniel was a phenomenal student while he was studying at VIU and we are so proud of him for being recognized as one of the best CPA students across the country.”
That’s not the only accolade Gardiner, who graduated from Nanaimo District Secondary School, has received in recent years. He distinguished himself while at VIU as well. Gardiner received a VIU Faculty Association scholarship that covered his tuition for second year and won the President’s Scholarship for Continuing Students at the end of his second year to cover tuition for his final two years at VIU. He attributes experiences he had on campus and lessons he learned while at VIU with his success today.
How did you choose VIU?
Growing up in Nanaimo, I attended many events on campus. This made it much easier to make the transition from high school to post-secondary studies as I was already familiar with the space. One of the biggest benefits I considered when selecting VIU for my undergraduate degree was the relatively small class sizes. I wanted to attend an institution that would support me in my educational pursuits by allowing more access to faculty for an immersive learning environment. The Faculty of Management and Accounting program at VIU has a strong reputation, this aligned with my goals of earning my BBA.
What were some highlights from your time at VIU?
VIU always had a very collaborative environment, which allowed me to work with a lots of students from all over the world during my undergraduate degree. Understanding differences in work and management style is essential to my success at a global firm. At KPMG, my main engagement team includes individuals from every continent of the world. Participating in the European International Business Field school trip through VIU in the summer of 2015 taught me a lot about working with people from different countries and cultures. In addition to the international aspect, I found a tight group of friends in the Accounting program at VIU. We were dubbed the Maple Room Group after our favourite study spot. We still stay in touch today and I attribute much of my ability to work and study successfully in a team environment to the lessons we learned together during our time at VIU.
Tell us a bit about your job at KPMG.
As a Senior Accountant in KPMG’s Audit practice, I lead integrated audits of large, publicly listed US and global companies. This work entails working in teams to perform financial analysis and develop in-depth understanding of different businesses and complex transactions. I’m actually transferring out of Audit and into KPMG’s Corporate Finance practice in Vancouver in the coming months. This work will focus on brokering the sale of mid-market businesses from all industry types.
How did your time at VIU prepare you for work and writing the CFE?
The small classrooms provided me with the opportunity to participate in classes in a much more meaningful way than would have been possible at larger institutions. This allowed me to engage deeper in the material and have some really amazing classroom discussions. I want to thank my professors at VIU and the Faculty of Management for sparking my interest in the world of business and driving me towards what has already been a challenging and gratifying career in professional accounting.
What was it like to find out you were on the national honour roll?
Discovering that I had earned a spot among the top one per cent of Canadian exam writers was incredible news. Six years of studying accounting all finally came to fruition in a single moment. It was a surreal feeling to be able to celebrate with my colleagues as we all completed this massive career milestone. Our firm flew the National Honour Roll recipients to Toronto to celebrate with the KPMG CEO and Management Team. It was amazing to get to know my Canadian peers from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick and everywhere in between.
Any advice for current Accounting students?
Always remain engaged and eager to learn – there are so many great opportunities at VIU to get more involved in. Work on finding balance in your studies, family, friends and hobbies; this will be paramount to your success as a professional. Ensure that you build an honest and constructive study group and find mentors that believe in your success. These people will always be there to support and encourage you throughout your career. My final point is to enjoy your time at VIU. It is a beautiful campus with so many amazing people and so much knowledge to be absorbed.