What is your ideal work environment? For many, working at a growing small business means the opportunity to learn new skills from senior staff and direct contact with clients – and, before long, being able to mentor new staff as well.
When Andrew Payeur was starting out as a junior accountant at Vaive and Associates, he would frequently seek advice from Laurie Beneteau, a 25-year veteran and director at Vaive and Associates.
Now it’s time for Payeur to pay it forward. This year he was promoted to manager at Vaive and Associates. He is the first employee in the firm to be promoted internally to a management role.
“We want to help Andrew succeed and advance in his career,” says J. Rolland Vaive, founder of Vaive and Associates. “Through his expertise and delivering value to our clients, Andrew has demonstrated that he’s ready for this position. We value his knowledge and work commitment.”
Finding the right job, especially after graduating from university, can be difficult. Payeur worked for several firms after completing his accounting degree at Carleton University in 2012 but was still looking for an environment where his work would be valued. He came across Vaive and Associates and was hired as a junior accountant in 2013.
“I appreciate that my coworkers trusted me and they didn’t micromanage me,” says Payeur. “When you’re a young accountant, you can have people that are always looking over your shoulder. They trusted me to do good work.”
Payeur is part of the team that’s helped propel his firm’s expansion. When he joined Vaive and Associates, there were only three other accountants on staff. Now the firm has more than 21 employees.
“Through these past six years I got to know the clients really well,” says Payeur. “I like learning about different business sectors. For example, I learned about construction companies, how they work and what they do, and I learned how different they can be from one another. It really helped me to develop my skills as an accountant.”
Working as a generalist, Payeur’s files are not only varied in terms of industry but also business size. He says one of the big draws to working at Vaive and Associates is more exposure to clients.
“At a bigger firm you might get stuck working on one tiny aspect of a huge client’s year-end audit,” says Payeur. “Our clients are generally smaller so one person is able to tackle every aspect of the year-end. Because of this, I was able to quickly gain a big picture understanding of how the process works as well as learn each individual aspect of the year-end process. And bonus, I had a more satisfying feeling at the end of it, knowing that our client is happy because of my work.”
One of the key responsibilities as manager is overseeing the work of junior accountants. Payeur is using what he learned from senior staff, giving guidance on a variety of topics ranging from understanding the needs of different clients to how to approach complex files.
“As a junior accountant, I learned a lot from review notes when I first started and I’m trying to offer the same learning opportunities in my review notes to staff,” says Payeur. “I think that’s such a tangible and satisfying way to tell yourself that you’re learning and improving.”