Business Administration – Accounting placement leads Ruixin Li to employment at “dream firm”

Ruixin (Rayna) Li came to Fleming College from China with a background in law, ready for a new career and life change.

“I was so shy and quiet before. I lacked leadership skills and did not want any attention,” said Rayna, who got involved with the SAC Street Team, served as an International Student Ambassador, volunteered on- and off-campus and more while at Fleming College. “I changed my career and my personality here. Coming to Canada is the best choice I have ever made.”

Rayna came to Fleming College for the Business Administration – Accounting program, which she describes as awesome, amazing, wonderful and meaningful. She credits her program faculty for their support, advice and kindness, explaining “They are all warm-hearted and care for us. The Accounting program is much more like a family.” 

Rayna says she truly values the advice of her faculty, including program coordinator Shelly York, who advised Rayna to earn her CPA designation through CPA Ontario. “I am really lucky to have followed her advice. It will have life-long benefits for me!” said Rayna.

What drew Rayna to the Business Administration – Accounting program was the work placement, where students apply their knowledge and skills to a real work setting. Rayna completed her four-month work placement at Baker Tilly, providing review and audit technician support for large businesses and non-profit organizations; accounting and bookkeeping for small to medium clients; supporting the preparation of financial statements and tax returns; and liaising with third parties, partners, managers, clients and staff.

“All of the content you learn, like QuickBooks, Profile and Audit, all come together,” said Rayna of her placement experience. “All the things I learned from College are useful and handy, and I got practise through real-life experience.”

Rayna said her colleagues, managers and partners at Baker Tilly were all very approachable and kind, and always checked in to ensure everything was going well for her.

“It is a wonderful learning environment,” said Rayna. “We have so many fun activities and people here are professional with a sense of humour, not just suits.”

Rayna believes work placements are an amazing opportunity for all students, and advises those entering a placement opportunity to always be on time, responsible and have a good attitude.

“It is a job, not only a learning placement,” she said. “Do not be afraid of asking questions and making mistakes—that’s how we learn. Please keep telling yourself ‘you can do it,’ and tell your boss ‘I am willing to learn and I can do it.’”

Rayna graduated from Fleming College this June and is thrilled that her placement led to full-time employment.

“I love the job I am doing now. I love it,” said Rayna, who is working as a Staff Accountant at Baker Tilly. “The Partners Richard Steiginga and Joanna Park, and COO Kim Freeburn surprised me; they had planned on hiring me but nobody told me anything about it. Then, I got my offer and I literally cried with happiness in their office. It is so good when you get hired by your dream firm!”

Rayna said she loves working at Baker Tilly because it is fast-paced and challenging. “There are different clients and different files and different problems to tackle, which makes me excited and lights me up immediately,” she explains. “Accounting is not only about numbers, it is more like you have to understand how their business and industry works and then you work with your client’s numbers, the policies and rules. It’s an interesting and challenging job.”