How this CPA used his designation to start two small businesses

Do you want to enter the world of business or finance? With so much information, endless courses, and so many college degrees out there, it can be hard to know where to start. And tTaking the first step can often be the hardest part.

The Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA) designation can help with this. A fantastic way to take control of your career path, the CPA designation can open new doors, increase opportunities, etc.change your career and life.

That was the case for Christopher Yee, a young BC entrepreneur who used his CPA to start his small business.

Christopher Yee with BC CPA

Christopher Yee (Bobo Zhao Photography/CPABC)

Yee became interested in business at a young age while helping his grandparents at their Chinese-American restaurant in Redding, California.

“I was inspired by their ability to create a successful business through hard work, determination and focus on their customer experience. At the time, I had no idea what type of business I would be starting, but it planted the seed of an entrepreneur in me that I wanted to explore one day,” he says.

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Over the years, Yee’s interest in the business grew steadily and a family member suggested it is engaged in accounting. This led him to attend the Sauder School of Business at UBC and later pursue the CPA designation to learn the basics of business.

“Becoming a CPA has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my career,” says Yee. “I have found that through the experience of working in different teams, meeting other young professionals and studying with my colleagues, I have made lifelong friends who continue to have a positive impact on my life. I was also developing the high level of strength that was needed to face the many different challenges I encountered on the way to starting my business.”

For Yee, getting this designation was associated with its “ups and downs” and was not always easy, but the hard work was more than worth it because it showed him the importance of “setting and prioritizing goals, finding the right partners and building a strong team” – while also teaching him a lot about himself.

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Following his passion, Yee opened his small businesses Brew Your Bucha and The Cocktail Box Co. along with his partner Derek Saito.

Christopher Yee with BC CPA

Christopher Yee (Bobo Zhao Photography/CPABC)

“With the experience and knowledge gained through my CPA designation, combined with the guidance and knowledge shared by other business owners and experts, I had a strong foundation to take the leap into starting my own business—whether it was understanding the importance of cash flow management. , budgeting or general operations management,” he says. “I had confidence because my CPA designation was a strong insurance policy in case the business failed.”

Looking ahead, Yee has set some ambitious goals to ensure his companies continue to grow.

“It’s been six years since we started our company, and our goal is to continue to grow the business worldwide. We have built a strong team and since the acquisition of our business in 2021 with additional resources, I continue to focus on becoming a more effective leader of our team,” he says. “Ultimately, my goal is to start another business focused on health and wellness and in line with my passion for the outdoors and triathlon.”

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Yee is currently sharing his experiences with other young CPAs and plans to continue mentoring them on their professional and entrepreneurial journeys. His advice to anyone considering a CPA is to “take a leap of faith” but be strategic.

I believe that having an entrepreneurial spirit is not defined by quitting your job and going for it. I think it’s proactive but methodical and calculated in finding an approach that just pushes you out of your comfort zone. Not every idea becomes a home, but the key to success is to take small steps until the momentum builds.”

To learn more about the CPA designation, click here or sign up for an information session or CPA recruiting event with Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia today.

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