Helping on the International Stage

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. 

This experience helped me to learn to adapt to new and diverse work environments and broadened my views of different cultures.

Mina Sourial, CPA has been moving around all his life. So, it’s not to anyone’s surprise that he has found a fit working for Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) over the last nine years. His family moved from Egypt to Mississauga, Ontario when he was 13 years old. From there, they moved to several towns and cities in Manitoba including Steinbach, Brandon and Manitou.

During his time at Vincent Massey High School in Brandon, he realized that he was going to have a future in accounting.

“My teacher was really passionate about accounting and he made every class fun and engaging,” said Sourial. “I always liked numbers, but when I was taking his class it just clicked for me that this is what I want to do.”

At University of Manitoba, Sourial pursued a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

“I wanted to do all the accounting courses that I knew would get me into the CPA program,” said Sourial.

While studying for his degree, he enrolled in the Asper Co-op program to gain work experience and see the different kinds of accounting roles out there. He ended up getting his first placement at MHI. MHI is a subsidiary of Manitoba Hydro and offers complex services to other countries, such as utility consulting, power simulation software, telecommunications and more.

“I did my three work terms at Manitoba Hydro International. In between, I would also work there part-time,” explained Sourial.

After graduating in 2013, MHI hired him on full-time and he was able to work there while pursuing the CPA designation.

“It was a transition period for the accounting profession, as they were no longer offering different legacy accounting programs. I just thought if CPA is the new standard then I’m going to do it,” Sourial said.

He had a few different reasons for pursuing a CPA designation, but the flexibility and variety of tasks stood out for him.

“I wanted the CPA designation because I saw how it opened doors and allowed people to take on more meaningful and complex work. I got to see that first hand and that made me really motivated to work hard and move up in the company,” explained Sourial.

He was among the first to successfully complete the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) and was admitted to membership in 2015. Now, as a Professional Accountant with MHI, he is seeing the benefits of his hard work.

“I have exposure to so many different functions and really get to see a full accounting cycle. I am involved in financial reporting, budgeting, payroll process, as well as testing new systems and making suggestions for system improvements,” Sourial described. “It’s really quite diverse and you never know what your days are going to look like because they can change quickly.”

A rewarding project that he was involved with was the new time carding system for MHI.

“As a team we wrote the parameters around the system. We decided how it would work, tested it, detected any bugs in the system and collaborated with the company that supplies the technology to get the system to where we wanted it to be,” said Sourial.

A highlight of working for MHI is the ability to travel around the world and he has had the opportunity to work in some exciting places.

“I’ve been to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Cincinnati,” Sourial said with a chuckle. “It’s pretty cool to be apart of and it’s nice getting that international exposure.”

Having clients all around the world, Sourial and other accountants research local tax laws in order to understand regulations in the different countries they serve.

“Each place is different and has its own nuances, jurisdictions and laws. As a company we work to ensure we’re following them,” explained Sourial. “I also got to interact with MHI’s project team and local businesses to improve delivery of our projects. This experience helped me to learn to adapt to new and diverse work environments, and broadened my views of different cultures.”

Many of the skills that he uses in his role aren’t exclusive to accounting. But he found that going through the CPA PEP gave him a well-rounded skillset that has helped him broadly in his career.

“There is a lot of flexibility in accounting positions and whether you gain experience working in industry or at a public accounting firm many of the skills you develop are transferrable,” said Sourial.

As for what Sourial is looking forward to in the future, he’d really like to help volunteer more.

“One of my goals is to volunteer on a board. Another great thing about our profession is that we can help make our community a better place to live and work. I’m looking forward to connecting with an organization that I’m really passionate about and seeing how I can help,” said Sourial.

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