Committed to the CPA Manitoba Foundation

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. 

...Ultimately, I joined on the Foundation board to try to help the next generation.

It’s no secret communities thrive when their inhabitants and leaders are willing to participate day in and day out. Not only does an engaged community embody a sense of ownership and pride, but it often results in an improved standard of life and higher prosperity for its members. For Stephen Rosenfield, FCPA, FCGA and former CPA Manitoba Foundation board member, giving back and making connections has been a way of life for his 40 years in the profession.

“If you don’t remember what it’s like to have nothing it can be hard to keep in mind that sharing your good fortune with others can be so important,” said Rosenfield. “I’ve always tried to keep this in mind.”

Beginning at the accounting firm Arthur Andersen (Winnipeg office) in 1979, Rosenfield was fully involved in the profession from the start. He found the world of accounting exciting as a vehicle for making an impact in business. The desire to create a positive change, though, was what led him to pursue his accounting designation.

Rosenfield was involved with the CGA legacy designation during his education. He was a member of the student council and after earning his designation in 1984, was asked to be on the association board as a representative. Much of the work he did revolved around conferences and events for membership. It was during these early days that he and a working group looked to create the CGA Scholarship Trust Fund.

“There was an idea around how we could help students and make education more accessible. I was lucky enough to have financial security while I went through the program, but I knew how hard it could be if you didn’t,” said Rosenfield. “This was the real impetus for creation of the CGA Scholarship Trust Fund.”

Rosenfield had a significant hand in designing the infrastructure and governing policy for the CGA Scholarship Trust Fund. Not only did he help to determine the usage of funds and strategy for engaging potential donors, but he also actively supported the fund financially.

“Access to education is so important. I used to teach a course for CGA Manitoba and I put the compensation from my teaching into the trust. I wanted to support it every way I could,” Rosenfield said. “More importantly, over the years a few of my contemporaries in my public practice area and others outside of it – several from across the profession – did the same. It started to grow on its own, both from our active approach on the board and organically. This was a real source of pride for all of us.”

Rosenfield graduated in May of 1984 and established his company in August of the same year. Always one to hit the ground running, he put in time and effort to hone his craft. A computer and a phone featuring cutting edge of technology of the day helped him grow his client base.

Today, his organization has grown significantly and operates under the name Stephen N. Rosenfield Chartered Professional Accountant Corp. A strong work environment with a growing staff are definitive features, but the driving force is the same as it was in its early days: a connection with clients and the desire to make a difference, day in and day out.

“I’m a guy who’s been on the bleeding edge of technology, whether it was the smartphone or the original cell phone of yesteryear,” said Rosenfield. “I believe that it’s part of building relationships and leveraging those tools gave me the flexibility to be agile for different companies regardless of where we were.”

The combination of connection, technology, strategy and relationships helped to shape his career. Later, Rosenfield’s expertise were requested to help build the CPA Manitoba Foundation board.

“Early on in the initiation stage back when they were going to merge all three legacy foundations, they asked me to help set up the direction, including bylaws, focus and mission statement for what would become the CPA Manitoba Foundation,” Rosenfield said.  “My experience with the former trust gave me intimate knowledge of the successes and challenges we’d seen in the past and how to anticipate what was to come. Ultimately, I joined on the Foundation board to try to help the next generation.”

A varied career has led Rosenfield to reflect on how the profession has been able to support him in his career. Even as accounting evolves and changes, he is committed to seeing beyond himself and his company, helping to develop and assure the next generation of leaders. For Rosenfield, much of this goes back to his inherent nature instilled by his family.

“Family values. Those are the main things driving me in this. I recall my parents and just the intense focus on community that they had. My mother graduated in 1940 and is still supporting her alma mater,” said Rosenfield. “My father, a former medical director for Victoria General Hospital, actually helped found the Victoria Hospital Foundation. So for me, it’s a head space. It has always been about what I could do for others.”

With a will to continue, the thread for Rosenfield has been connection. With new accounting professionals and more change to the landscape on the way, he sees support and access to education as a key to continued growth of the profession and a healthy support for business in general.

“I’m proud to say I still have my first client from 35 years ago. Since day one, his cause has become my cause. In September, it’ll be 40 years since I first enrolled in the designation’s education program and the journey’s not over yet,” he said. “I still have the same phone number; my door is open, and I want to build more relationships for as long as I can. I’d say I’m fortunate and if I can help other people achieve this feeling along the way, then I’m even luckier than I thought.”