with Hayley Cooper
Check out our interview with Welch employee and Master’s student Hayley Cooper. Learn about her experience thus far!
Q. How long have you been working for Welch LLP?
I started at Welch as a co-op student in January 2013 on an 8-month term, followed by a 4-month term the next year. I returned full-time in January 2015 and took off again in both the summer of 2015 and 2016 to pursue my Master of Accounting at Carleton University. I’ve been an employee of Welch for about 5 years now.
Q. What initially sparked your interest to work for Welch?
When I was a third year student with the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University, I went to a small firm wine and cheese networking event hosted by our accounting club and met some representatives from Welch. It was recruiting season for my first ever co-op job, and I was nervous about meeting professionals in the field and about finding a placement. The Welch staff were so nice and approachable – I found it easy to ask them honest questions about the work and the culture. Casually chatting with them gave me an idea of what it would be like to work with similar individuals, and I liked that at Welch I would be able to work on an entire client file from start to finish. To me, that seemed like a major opportunity to learn and grow more in an environment filled with great people.
Q. What support did Welch provide you on your path to obtain the MAcc?
Welch provided financial support equal to that of a candidate pursuing their CPA through the CPAO Professional Education Program as well as the cost of the CFE. Beyond that, Welch provided support throughout the program giving us the study leave we needed (two 4 month intervals completely disconnected from work) in order for us to complete our studies. Being part of the first cohort to ever go through the program at Sprott, there was very little time between the start of the application process and the beginning of class. This was a brand new program offered at Carleton University and Welch was immediately on board. Our Human Resources department arranged a meeting with the Director of the MAcc to learn more about the program and drafted new policies to support us, setting an industry standard for local firms. The Welch Education Committee also offered us internal courses on outlining cases and case writing, taught to us by past writers who were close to the process. Being able to combine the technical skills I gained from internal training and the MAcc, with the practical, on the job experience I earned during my work as a staff accountant, I was able to identify problems and provide professional solutions in my cases.
Q. What has been the best experience at Welch so far?
Meeting and working with the people at Welch has been one of my best experiences. There’s a camaraderie amongst the various levels of staff as many of us are in the same place in our careers or have gone through the same experiences and are willing to offer guidance and advice. It’s a great feeling knowing that every day that I am in the office I am working and simultaneously spending time with my friends. Welch’s open door policy has also made the wealth of knowledge held by more senior employees easily accessible which has helped me grow exponentially in my career; I never feel foolish or worried to ask a question and that is a very important thing to me. Finally, my team has been very supportive of my work and my interests both professionally and personally. One great example is when I told the Partner I report to that I used to be a teaching assistant and missed that aspect of my life – I was provided with opportunities to teach in our in-house education program, APEX, and am a member of our Education Committee!