At the Heart of it All
This international firm has a family feel for accountants.
|By Sheila Keenan
Photo by Ron Sangha
|Rescan Environmental Services Ltd. has been named one of the top 20 employers in B.C. and it shows. There's a family feel to Rescan. The company newsletter lists off recent staff marriages and babies and there's a bulletin board in the staff room dedicated to pictures of employees' pets.
||Accounting team front and centre with Rescan (from left to right): Kyla Rice, Linda Woo, CGA; Julie Michalak.
Founded in 1981, Rescan Environmental Services Ltd provides environmental management consulting and engineering services, such as impact assessments and reclamation plans. Rescan's clients include mining and energy companies and government. The company has completed projects for more than 250 clients, spanning 45 countries and six continents.
Rescan has also joined CGA-BC's Partners in Employment Program (PEP), established to recognize leading companies that provide an effective working and training environment for CGAs and CGA students. There's no doubt that Rescan qualifies. Rescan's family feel extends to the three-person accounting department, headed up by Linda Woo, CGA, Rescan's Corporate Controller. Woo has been featured in CGA print and TV ads and is one of the faces on the CGA-BC Website.
Other members of the department — Julie Michalak, Accounts Payable, and Kyla Rice, Project Accountant — are CGA students. Both find that Woo is supportive and accommodates their need to juggle work schedules to study for CGA exams. "I've been there," says Woo.
"She always checks up on us to see what classes we're taking," says Rice.
"She's like a second mom," says Michalak. "I just want to say when I first started here the fact that Linda is a model CGA made it easy to transition into being in the CGA program because you have a person you can look up to and who gives advice."
Rice agrees. "Linda has a total open door policy. Unless she's in a meeting, she'll help you immediately. You don't have to book a time to get in for a half-hour appointment, because I've had jobs like that before."
The accounting department is small, but growing — at the time of the interview with Outlook, Rescan was looking to hire a new accountant. The company overall is growing. Michalak estimates the company has doubled, to its current staff of approximately 90, since she started just over a year ago. The company is small enough that Rice knows who to ask, for example, for help in translating an e-mail in Spanish from a client. Similarly, staff know who to ask when they need help with accounting.
"I never feel like I'm not part of the company and that I have a role off in the corner," says Rice. "I feel like we're a good resource for staff and I really appreciate that, that I'm not someone who just sits behind my desk and pumps paper through all day."
That perspective, of being central to the company, fits with Woo's philosophy of accounting as a critical part of the business. "If the accounting department is in trouble, the company's going to be in trouble."
Woo says the accounting department's role extends to client service. "Accounting is one aspect of providing good service," says Woo. "Even though we do not write a project report, we definitely provide accurate invoices, budgets, timelines, accruals . . . and it's not a oneperson effort, it's a group, accounting team effort."
As Woo describes it, if business were a body, the accounting department is a vital organ, responsible for gathering crucial information, feeding the other systems of the business. "The whole department is at the heart of the company."