BFAN Inaugural Roundtable Meeting “What are the potential challenges and obstacles to career advancement and professional development?”

Written by: Chinazom Chidolue


CPA Canada WLC Meeting Update

An update was given on the December 1st CPA Canada Women’s Leadership Council Meeting to discuss diversity and inclusion.

From a BFAN perspective, the following areas discussed at the meeting:

  • The nature and purpose of the Black Female Accountants Network
  • The experience of internationally educated accountants who have moved to Canada.

Current Challenges

Smaller employers are not always able to provide essential support in terms of course and exam expenses and study leave. This makes it difficult for many students to complete the CPA program, apply for association membership and invest in their own professional development.

It was also noted that black female speakers were needed at member events, acting as community representatives and role models to encourage and motivate others within the accounting profession.

The Undergraduate Experience

Expert insight was given on the real issue of non-productive student co-op experiences, which in certain instances lead to a delay in graduation. In extreme cases, students choose to exit the undergraduate program.  It was advised that representation and participation was needed by black business professionals at university business networking events.

Immigrant job-search experiences

Challenges associated with foreign credential recognition can pose barriers to entering the workforce at an appropriate level based on an individual’s skills, expertise and experience. As a result, some have either already left or are seriously considering leaving, the accounting profession.

What’s Needed

More help and support needed to enter the workforce. Undergraduates to be encouraged to work together collectively by forming networking and support groups to meet their professional development needs. On leaving university, having a forum whereby new graduates can get mentoring and advice on how to obtain a job in their chosen profession, in this case finance and accounting. Youth engagement, through participation in various organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Junior Achievements Canada, DECA and CPA Financial Literacy / Community Connect was also recommended.

BFAN Core Values

Each meeting attendee chose one of BFAN’s core values and enunciated what the word meant to them and what it meant in the context of BFAN.


Their thoughts can be heard here.


Attendee Feedback 

— “I’ve personally benefited greatly from having attended this session. As I had mentioned during our introduction yesterday, I am currently on a career break. Having been away from the industry for about 3 years had left me questioning if I should look into changing careers. However, having attended the BFAN Roundtable on Saturday, meeting all the women and hearing everyone’s stories has given me back the fire and drive to stick within the finance and accounting industry.

Everyone in the meeting had their own vast knowledge and experience that was shared with the group. So as we continue getting together, I believe everyone is eager to contribute beneficial ideas, resources and insights that will help lead BFAN to become a network that will benefit many women.”

— ” It was great meeting you all at the BFAN Roundtable discussion on December 1oth. I look forward to working with you all in the near future”

 —“I learnt so much from all that was shared”


— “It was an absolute honour to be invited to join this network…I do look forward to speaking with you very soon as we all take part in this very important work”.

“I was quite reluctant to attend the meeting initially for a number of reasons. But I’m so glad that I did. I was so encouraged by the conversations and the various experiences of the other ladies. I felt relieved to not be the only person still trying to figure things out. Sometimes my thoughts were echoed in the discussions…it was motivating to be among like-minded people. What I appreciated most is that we are a group of women that want to be more and do more to be represented in Accounting and Finance. 

I’m eager to experience the results that will come from our mission of empowering each other. I believe the programs and initiatives that we’ve discussed for the upcoming year will be good learning and growth opportunities. BFAN will grow and establish itself as a strong network and I will put my best effort to contribute to that. I knew I was supposed to be at that meeting by the time we got to the opening prayer. It’s the encouragement that I didn’t know I needed.”
“I felt the meeting was very successful and really inspiring.  It was great to listen to everybody’s input on how they see BFAN and what they can contribute, which indicated that everyone agrees to the benefit of having the network.  It will be a great forum for networking, sharing resources and mentoring, for anyone in Finance or aspiring to get into the field.  I am very excited to be part of the network and look forward to working together.”


Upcoming BFAN Member CPD Event:

2017 Tax Update – February 2017, Toronto



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