How this CPA used his designation to start two small businesses

Looking to enter the world of business or finance? With so much information, endless courses, and a mountain of university degrees, it’s hard to know where to start. And ttaking the first step often seems the hardest.

This is where a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) designation can help. A fantastic way to take control of your career path, a CPA designation can open new doors, increase opportunities andmanage to transform your career and life.

This was the case of Christopher Yee, a young entrepreneur from BC who leveraged his CPA to launch his small business.

Christopher Yin with BC CPA

Christopher Yee (Bobo Zhao Photography/CPABC)

Yi’s interest in business began at a young age while helping his grandparents in their Chinese-American restaurant in Redding, California.

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

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Over the years, Yi’s interest in the business continued to grow, and a family member made an offer he does accounting. This led him to attend the Sauder School of Business at UBC and later pursue a CPA degree to learn the basics of business operations.

“Becoming a CPA has been one of the most challenging but most rewarding experiences of my career,” says Yee. “I realized that through the experience of working in different teams, meeting other young professionals, and learning with my colleagues, I met lifelong friends who continue to have a positive impact on my life. I have evolved too the high level of strength it took to face the many different challenges that came my way in starting my business.”

For Yee, achieving the title had its “ups and downs” and was not always easy, but the hard work was more than worth it as it showed her the importance of “setting and prioritizing goals, finding the right partners and building a strong team” while also teaching her a lot about herself.

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

Christopher Yin 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 professionals, I had a solid foundation to take the step toward starting my own business; , budgeting or general operations management,” he says. “I had confidence because my CPA appointment was a strong safeguard in case the business failed.”

Looking to the future, Yee has set some ambitious goals to ensure his companies growth.

“It’s been six years since we started our company, and our goal is to continue growing the business globally. We have built a strong team, and since our business was acquired in 2021, with additional resources, I continue to focus on learning to become a more effective leader for our team,” he says. “Ultimately, my goal is to start another venture that focuses on health and wellness and aligns with my passion for the outdoors and triathlon.”

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Yee now shares his experience 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 just going for it. I think it’s proactive, but methodical and calculated to find an approach that just pushes you out of your comfort zone. Not every idea is going to be a home run, but taking baby steps until the momentum builds is the key to success.”

For more information on the CPA designation, click here or register for an information session or CPA recruiting event today with Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia.

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