“I always knew I wanted to bean accountant. Even by the time I was in high school, I knew that’s what I wanted” and that’s exactly what Chireen Chick, KBH’s first Managing Partner, went on to do.
Following university, Chireen began articling at a firm in a small community in rural
Alberta, and stayed through the completion of her CA designation.
When life brought Chireen to Edmonton, she looked for a small firm that had clients in agriculture and small business. “My prior experience was in these areas, and I felt I related best to these people. I wanted ensure the best fit for me as I moved forward in my career.”
Gender & Accounting
“I can honestly say, I’ve never felt like my gender impacted the progress of my career. This is unique to KBH, since throughout my career this field has been extremely male-dominated, but the partners at KBH were open-minded, forward thinking, and did not limit anyone based on gender.”
Chireen joined the p
artner group in 2008, becoming the fourth female partner of the group of eight. This was not the first time the partnership had equal gender representation, and from 2009 to 2011 there actually were more female partners than male.
Not all firms are like KBH. Chireen admits that had she stayed with the first firm she worked with, gender may have stalled her progress. Her advice? “If there are no women in senior leadership, and the firm has been around for any length of time, you may want to consider how this could impact the working environment.”
Doing it All
When Chireen joined the partnership, she was the first female partner that was in the process of building her family. Being open with the partners, she told them that she didn’t feel like her family was complete. Their response? “We think you’ll make a good partner, and we’ll work through whatever that looks like.'” And they did.
With the support of all the people at KBH, Chireen has been able to balance having a family, having a career, and being in senior leadership. Accounting is a demanding career, so it’s not to say that sacrifices weren’t made. Chireen understood finding the balance and managing the trade-offs was going to take continued effort to sustain – “As long as you can find the balance in that trade-off, it’s extremely rewarding”
It’s all about Growth
“My favourite projects that I’ve ever worked on with clients are around growth opportunities. Cash-flow projections, secure financing, and discussion around potential growth opportunities.”, says Chireen. “These opportunities often brought the most joy – you can really see the difference, not just for the client, but for opportunities the clients can create for others.”
“KBH has great people, and the future is bright as we move the firm forward”, says Chireen. The firm is embracing the changing needs and desires of Gen Z, client challenges and opportunities, as well as the rapidly changing technology and working environments. When asked what gets her through these changes, Chireen says “The impact KBH can make in the next 5 to 10 years is the driving force behind my goals and dreams.”
HELPING PEOPLE SUCCEED