A Path of Perseverance

CPAs can be found in every industry, being experts at more than numbers – and they’re great with those, too.

Every month, CPA Manitoba spotlights the diverse and dedicated professionals that prove CPA is more than a designation. 

People see authenticity in what you do when you have the CPA designation.

Although she began her education journey studying medicine, Olanike (Nike) Bello quickly changed career paths when she recognized her passion for accounting and realized how she could use an accounting designation to help others.

Nike earned her first accounting designation in Africa after receiving her B.SC in accounting through the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Nigeria. Following graduation in 1997, she worked as a Finance Manager before moving to the United Kingdom.

After obtaining her accounting designation with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, she accepted a position with Microsoft where she managed all of the EU and South Africa VAT accounts. Her subsequent position was with Xerox as a General Ledger Accountant.

While working for Xerox, Nike was approached by Pfizer Inc. where she worked for the next eight years. 

“I thought I could make a difference in the world by helping sick people get better,” says Nike about her decision to study medicine when she first started university. “Then I had the opportunity to work with Pfizer, which is helping make the world a healthier place.”

During her time at Pfizer, she managed the Italian market and when Pfizer acquired Wyeth, her portfolio grew, and she began managing Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Switzerland.

As her workload increased and she took on more responsibility, her family was growing at home as well. With two young kids and an impressive portfolio, Nike enrolled in Oxford Brookes University to get her master’s degree.

Nike’s dedication and diligence paid off and she graduated with her Master of Business Administration before moving to Winnipeg.

Upon arriving to a new country with her husband and children, her goal was to spend some time settling into the new environment. This plan was quickly whisked away when she was approached by someone from CGA Manitoba to see if she was interested in obtaining her accounting designation in Manitoba.

She earned her Certified General Accountant designation in 2012 and worked as the Director of Finance with Economic Development Winnipeg for four years. She then held roles including Plant Controller at Burnbrae Farms, Senior Finance Officer at Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba and CFO at Macdonald Youth Services – now known as The Link.

With experience working in accounting roles across three continents, Nike believes strongly in the integrity and trust being a CPA adds to the work she does.

“People see authenticity in what you do when you have the CPA designation,” says Nike.

In 2021, Nike decided to start her own public accounting firm, Olanike Bello, Chartered Professional Accountant where she serves both businesses and individuals.

Taking stress away from clients is one of the most important aspects for Nike, especially with the growing cost of inflation. While strategic planning with her business clients allows them to make informed decisions for improving their longevity and finances.

“You have people who’s lives you are adding value to and giving them the ability to put food on their table,” says Nike. “You have to focus on how to serve your clients well.”

To give back to the community, Nike sits on the Teachers’ Retirement Allowances Fund board and she is also a member of the Asper School of Business Associates where she volunteers her time as a presenter or judge for events such as BASC.

“We’re improving the health and wealth of our clients, and then out in the world, the health and wealth of our community,” Nike says.

Navigating so many changes and moving across continents was difficult for Nike, but her perseverance led her to where she is now.

Remarking on how amazing her life has turned out, she says, “if you want something done, start with taking small steps to make it possible, because there is nothing that is impossible.”