CPA Education Foundation bolsters business learning

Published on April 04, 2023

Thanks to the CPA Education Foundation, students in NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business programs have had access to experiential learning opportunities through an Accountant-in-Residence (AiR) program and new curriculum focused on CPA enabling competencies. 

“As the charitable arm of the accounting profession in Alberta, the CPA Education Foundation has a long history of strengthening the future of education by supporting students and post-secondary institutions, and the incubation of innovative ideas,” says Rachel Miller FCPA, FCA, Executive Director of the CPA Education Foundation.  

The Accountant-in-Residence program saw eight experienced professionals bring their expertise and knowledge to students, beginning with Stephen Barkman, CPA, CA (BBA, '11) in 2021. Subsequent years brought the talents of David Rumer, CPA, CA; Katrina Neufeld, CPA, CMA; Greta Wierenga, CPA, CA (BBA, '10); Matt Brown, CPA (BBA, '16); Antonia Stiuca, CPA (BBA, '16); Jason Wong, CPA, CMA; and Corey Hill, CPA, CA. Over two- or four-month periods, through in-person and virtual interactions, the AiRs led workshops in areas such as budgeting processes, professional communication, ethical problems in practice, not-for-profit strategy, implementation of ERP systems, data analytics, blockchain, data storytelling, and many others. 

"I was able to learn a lot from Accountant-in-Residence Corey Hill,” says NAIT student Daylin Doblanko. “He was always eager to share his expertise and extensive network to help our accounting club, which was extremely beneficial to both the executive team and members. Corey was also able to provide vast knowledge on what working in the field of accounting entails and answered my numerous questions. I especially appreciated how Corey was able to answer my specific questions about opening my own accounting firm." 

“I can confidently say that the AiR program holds a lot of value and is a great idea to connect industry to the JR Shaw School of Business and students,” says NAIT student Shelby Kelly-Kwasny. “Now in my fourth year, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with Antonia, Corey, Matt and others through attending webinars and by communicating with them directly. They’ve embodied tenets of professional and ethical behaviour, stressed the importance of professional communication and self-marketing, taught on problem solving and decision-making, discussed and modeled self-discipline and self-management, and worked to cultivate collaborative attitudes towards education and lifelong learning.” 

The CPA Education Foundation provided $150,000 to make this pivotal program a reality. They also provided an additional $90,000 to support the integration of new curriculum focused on CPA enabling competencies for not only accounting students, but for all business students. The competencies were embedded into programs and delivered across multiple courses as well as through events and workshops involving industry partners. 

“We are so incredibly grateful for ongoing support from the CPA Education Foundation,” says Dennis Sheppard, dean of the JR Shaw School of Business. “This generous funding allows us to provide valuable learning experiences for our students and our staff through opportunities to interact in meaningful ways with industry practitioners—a foundation of polytechnic education.” 

Kelly-Kwasny adds, “The CPA Education Foundation's contribution to the student body via the Accountant-in-Residence program has been a fantastic resource for me and many others. I believe its continuance will be for the benefit of all students in the future.” 

“We are proud to support [these] initiatives that provide invaluable educational opportunities to students and inspire future generations of the CPA profession,” says Miller.  

Since 2003, the CPA Education Foundation has supported NAIT students by investing in student awards, programming and learning spaces. Through their continued partnership, JR Shaw School of Business will prepare students with the skills to contribute to Alberta’s economy as entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders and professionals within small, medium and multi-national companies.  

JR Shaw School of Business Quick Facts 

  • Alberta’s largest business school by annual enrolments   
  • 5,975 unique students attending credit programming (2021/22 academic year) 
  • 1,351 graduates (2021/22 academic year) 
  • 200+ industry-connected, full-time and casual instructors  

About NAIT   

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With nearly 34,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to the provincial economy. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping business and industry become more competitive with Industry Solutions offered through its Productivity and Innovation Centre, including technology adoption, business and product innovation and industry-driven research. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.   

About the CPA Education Foundation  

As the charitable arm of the Chartered Professional Accountant profession in Alberta, the CPA Education Foundation’s mandate is to strengthen the future of the accounting profession in Alberta through partnerships by supporting business education and students, and the incubation of innovative ideas. Each year, the Foundation provides over $1.3 million in support of that mandate by bestowing grants to post-secondary business schools, scholarships and awards to students, financial support for accounting research, and programs to recognize and honour Alberta’s best accounting educators.

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