In cities of all sizes, CPAs are driving innovation

By Business in Vancouver
Mar 18, 2024
In cities of all sizes, CPAs are driving innovation
Photo credit: Justin Sparks Photography

A career as a chartered professional accountant provides flexibility and freedom

Rare is it to find a job that allows you to carve out a career path where you help to shape the future of your community and influence daily life.

Mallory Denniston, CPA, CA, however, has found precisely that sweet spot.

Denniston is the chief financial officer (CFO) of the City of Powell River, where she’s part of the leadership team that supports the mayor and council who make decisions that will have generational impacts on the community.

“Being the CFO in local government is such an interesting opportunity because local governments provide such a diverse range of services,” she explains. “This keeps it very interesting on the financial front.”

Options abound in cities of all sizes

All photos courtesy of Justin Sparks Photography

Because of her training as a chartered professional accountant (CPA), Denniston is afforded a sense of freedom in her professional life that few other jobs can replicate.

The beauty of a CPA is that it’s a career that is in high demand in locations of all sizes. The skillset required is diverse, much like the responsibilities and tasks a CFO carries out. Perhaps most importantly, Denniston’s recommendations to the mayor and council will profoundly impact her community’s wellness for decades to come.

When put in perspective, Denniston’s role influences virtually every facet of life in Powell River.

When you turn your water on, flush your toilet, if you’re driving on a road or taking a bus, in need of fire or police services or going to a public park or rec centre, you’re using services provided by local governments.

“I provide strategic financial leadership to the City of Powell River, supporting the mayor and council to ensure that our services are adequately funded today and a hundred years into the future,” describes Denniston.

Proof positive of that long-lasting legacy is the recent completion of a wastewater treatment plant – the single largest capital project in the city’s history.

Toilet flushing may not elicit the most exciting of headlines, but a project like this is transformative.

“This new piece of infrastructure ensures the city can sustainably deliver a core service for many decades to come,” Denniston says.

CPAs drive the power of change

In keeping with that theme of transformation, Denniston works with local leaders to diversify an economy once primarily dependent on the resource sector to create a myriad of economic, cultural and lifestyle options.

Big-picture thinking is required after the city’s longstanding paper mill closed in 2021, along with the issues presented by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, a population boom in the intervening years afforded work-from-home solutions because of the city’s prior commitments to bolstering its internet infrastructure.

Tourism has also continually increased, with numerous arts, culture and sporting events landing in Powell River, alongside destination travel opportunities to capitalize on the area’s natural beauty.

“I think CPAs are critical to the economic viability of all communities,” Denniston says. “There are CPAs behind many of the successful businesses that have been able to expand beyond the City of Powell River.”

Originally published by Business in Vancouver

In Other News