Internationally Trained Accountant Helping the City of Morden

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. 

The world is open for accounting professionals

For Edwin Barnuevo, CPA, CA the icy winter roads of Southern Manitoba was one of the main deciding factors in becoming the Director of Finance and Administration for his newly adopted hometown of Morden, Manitoba.

“I was the CFO of the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative and my first thought when I started working was that I wanted to retire there. However, I had to drive 45 minutes from Morden to Altona and in the winter it’s not the safest drive,” explained Barnuevo. “My wife also likes having me closer to home and she encouraged me to apply for the position when it opened up.”

Barnuevo believes that his extensive accounting experience from around the world and his CPA designation gave him an advantage over the competition.

“I think my CPA designation helped me get the job and I consider it a blessing from God. I thought they were looking for someone with a strong financial reporting background, as well as experience working in government and I was able to acquire those skills in previous jobs I had,” he said.

So far, Barnuevo has had a successful 26-year accounting career. He owes it all back to his start in the Philippines and in Micronesia where he spent most of his professional career.

“It was my sister who introduced me to the subject as she was taking accounting courses at the time. I had no clue what accounting was then, so I thought it would be a good challenge for myself. At first, I wanted to become a doctor, but schooling was a substantial commitment, and I just fell in love with accounting,” explained Barnuevo.

“From there, I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy and then I also graduated with my Master of Business Administration, and Master of Business Education. I wrote the CPA exams six months after I graduated, and I remembered I was so happy I passed because it’s a tough exam,” he added.

Barnuevo’s first job was as an auditor at EY, where he eventually worked his way up to an accounting instructor and finally finance manager. Looking for a new challenge, he moved to the small islands of Micronesia where he spent years working as a government auditor, controller and financial advisor for the state government.

In 2016, he and his family ended up moving to Morden, Manitoba with support from Morden’s community driven immigration initiative program. To them, Morden was a great place to plant their roots and raise a family. From there, Barnuevo became a senior accountant at BDO Canada’s Winkler office. After almost two years there, he switched roles to become the CFO of the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative before ending up at his present position, Director of Finance and Administration for the City of Morden.

“Having a CPA designation allows you to be so versatile in your career. I could apply my designation to various work jurisdictions. For example, I was an accountant in the Philippines, then became an accountant in Micronesia and in Canada. It just opens so many doors and the profession is borderless. The world is open for accounting professionals,” explained Barnuevo.

As the Director of Finance and Administration for the City of Morden, Barnuevo is integral to developing and overseeing Morden’s financial direction.

“I plan, direct and coordinate the day-to-day activities of the business office. There are four people under my direction. Together, we monitor, control and make sure spending is within our approval limits of the government budget,” explained Barnuevo. “Monthly, I prepare financial statements for the City ensuring that I know the different variances and why there is increases, for example. Yearly, I do the closing of the books to make sure we are ready for the next budget preparation.”

When looking back on his career, Barnuevo believes that being an internationally trained accountant has opened his eyes to new experiences and skills.

“I began to appreciate views of different people and see situations through a new lens. In short, I became open minded and more sensitive to my work environment with the ability to adjust as needed. I’ve taken a holistic approach and blended my Asian, Pacific and North American perspectives to have the best experience possible,” Barnuevo noted.

When asked about his favourite career related memory, Barnuevo took a second and thought of more than one.

“I think I’ve just enjoyed the traveling and all the places I’ve been to in my career. My jobs seem to all mirror each other in every place I’ve been. For example, my first job in the Philippines I was an auditor and when I came over to Canada, I was first accepted as an auditor. My second job in Canada was as a CFO and that was my second job in Micronesia. You know there is that saying that “lightning never strikes the same place twice”, but lightning has struck for me multiple times in a good way, as I am now working for the city that helped me immigrate to Canada.” he said with a chuckle.

The advice Barnuevo has for anyone that is considering the CPA program is short, sweet and to the point.

“Don’t think twice, just go for it,” Barnuevo answered.