Profile by Megan Hooge
This profile was originally published in the July/August 2017 issue of CPABC in Focus magazine.
Scott Munro always dreamed of working internationally. A second-generation CPA, he drew inspiration from his father’s rewarding accounting career as he set out to explore his options.
“I wanted variety and something that could, in time, lead me to discover what I excel at,” he says.
Scott got his chance to work overseas in 2008, when Deloitte offered him a secondment to its London office. He and his wife Linda (a public relations professional) packed up and moved from Vancouver, and the experience did not disappoint.
“We both had amazing, fast-paced jobs in one of the world’s most incredible cities,” says Scott.
After starting a family, however, the couple felt drawn back home. As Scott explains, “The desire for our kids, Rebecca and Keiran, to grow up near immediate family in Vancouver was too strong to resist.”
Family has always been paramount. In 2010, Scott became chair of the Vancouver Committee of the Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation (SHLF) in memory of his late cousin. The foundation supports organizations that provide at-risk youth with opportunities for success.
“I wanted to promote Strachan’s never-quit attitude,” he says. “SHLF is a small family foundation with a huge heart.”
It was also in 2010 that Scott left public practice to become an independent advisor specializing in financial reporting and change management needs. A reconnection with a former colleague soon led to some contract work with the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB).
“I was really excited about it, given my own First Nations ancestry,” says Scott. “It was the first opportunity I’d come across where I could use my skills and experience as a CPA to directly help improve the economic opportunities of First Nations.”
Since its inception in 2007, the FMB helped First Nations develop financial administration laws, which set out best practices in areas such as governance and financial transparency. It has also implemented a certification program, which Scott now oversees as director of standards and certification.
“When I was asked to take on a permanent position in 2013, there was nothing really to consider!” he says. “It’s a one-of-a-kind role in an organization that is meeting the financial management needs of First Nations head-on and on their terms.”
The most rewarding part of the job, he says, is witnessing the transformation within First Nations communities. “Many First Nations use their certification to obtain long-term, fixed-rate debenture financing from the First Nations Finance Authority, allowing them to build schools, community centres, and other on-reserve infrastructure that simply wasn’t possible before.”
While the FMB and its clients currently employ several CPAs, Scott says the demand for finance professionals remains high.
“There is a huge need within each First Nations community to build up their internal capacity in ways that will allow them to participate economically with the mainstream Canadian economy,” he explains.
Scott hopes to see more CPAs serving First Nations at the community level. He also hopes to see more indigenous youth pursue the CPA designation.
“Many First Nations are looking for people who can understand and appreciate their traditional culture while building financial capacity,” he says. “I believe that a CPA with this mindset can have an incredibly rewarding career working with First Nations.”
Scott is living proof of just how rewarding it can be. Even the siren call of London is no match for his gratifying work here on home soil.
The First Nations Financial Management Board is a CPABC CareerConnect employer (careers.bccpa.ca/pep).