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.”

Ruixin (Rayna) Li feels like a ‘true Canadian’ after Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes

Ruixin (Rayna) Li, left, beside SAC Student Services & Clubs Coordinator Sarah-Jayne Riley.
Ruixin (Rayna) Li, left, beside SAC Student Services & Clubs Coordinator Sarah-Jayne Riley.

Ruixin (Rayna) Li was excited to attend her first hockey game ever at Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes, but it was made extra special for the Fleming International student because she got to perform the ceremonial puck drop.

Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes was September 21st and recognized the College’s 50th Anniversary. Rayna, who is an International Student Ambassador at Fleming College and a Director on the Fleming College Student Administrative Council (SAC), was asked by Fleming SAC to drop the puck on the ice at the home opener game.

“I thought I just got free tickets, I didn’t realize I got to drop the puck until a few days before the game,” said Rayna, who moved from China to take Fleming’s Business Administration – Accounting program. “It’s like winning the lottery for me. My first hockey game and I get to drop the puck? It’s like a miracle.”

To prepare, Rayna researched hockey online and watched YouTube videos of the game. “I didn’t know how to drop the puck. Should I throw it like a basketball?” she said. After her research, Rayna felt ready.

“The act is simple but it’s so special to drop it in that moment because it is the College’s 50th Anniversary. Dropping the puck felt like a fresh start in that moment for the next 50 years of Fleming College,” said Rayna, who is in her second year of studies at Fleming College.

She thanks the College and Fleming SAC for the incredible opportunity. “I never thought I’d get to walk on a red carpet like a movie premiere,” said Rayna, referring to the red carpet laid on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop. “I called my mom and friends in China, and they’re all proud of me.”

Walking in front of a large crowd at a hockey arena would’ve been out of Rayna’s comfort zone just one year ago when she first came to Canada.

“When I was in China I was the quiet girl, and my first month here my English was so bad so I was quiet here too,” she said. “I stopped at the SAC Office asking how I could get involved. I wanted to improve my English and I was lonely because it was only my boyfriend [a Frost Campus GIS graduate] and I here.”

SAC helped Rayna get involved on campus and in the community through volunteer opportunities, which she said helped build her confidence. She took the Leadership program at Fleming, got hired as an International Student Ambassador, became a SAC Director, and got a part-time job at Burger King to earn extra money.

“Now I am very outgoing. It has also built up my time management skills,” said Rayna, who enjoys having a lot on the go. “I got the highest GPA in my first year and I do not find it stressful, it is a driving force for me. My English is good now, and Fleming College and SAC really helped me.”

In addition to thanking the College for helping her gain confidence, Rayna also credits Fleming for making her a hockey fan.

“I like it because it’s a fast-paced game and it’s a very Canadian game. The audience cheering feels very enthusiastic and positive,” she said. “My friend said I’m a true Canadian now.”

Fleming College feels like family for Valedictorian Amy Jones

amy-jonesAmy Jones not only spent her time at Fleming College studying and developing skills in the Business Administration – Accounting program, she also developed friendships and made memories to last a lifetime.

“As soon as I entered I felt welcomed by faculty and fellow students. The faculty know their students by name and are willing to go above and beyond to help you out,” said Amy, who will graduate next week. “As soon as I got involved at Fleming College by joining the Student Administrative Council, my experiences changed once again; the tables had turned and I was now the student helping out other students. Fleming truly has been one big family for me.”

Her most memorable experience was the Fleming International Learning Experience (FILE) trips, a global learning trip that culminates in a three-week excursion to various cultural, political and historic sites, as well as business enterprises. Amy participated in the 2015 trip to China and the 2016 trip to Europe.

“Being able to create friendships with students and faculty that will last a lifetime while traveling was truly an amazing experience,” she said.

It was Amy’s passion for numbers that led her to Fleming College for the Business Administration – Accounting program, after enjoying a grade 11 course in accounting. The skills she developed in the Fleming program are resourcefulness, problem-solving and determination, and she highly recommends this program to anyone with the same passion for numbers.

Amy will continue her studies this fall at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), using the pathway option to complete her Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting. But before Amy starts university this September, she will serve as Valedictorian of Fleming’s School of Business.

“I am extremely honoured and shocked that I have been named Valedictorian for this year’s School of Business convocation ceremony,” said Amy, who will give her Valedictorian speech on Tuesday, June 6 at 2 p.m. “I hope my fellow graduates and guests are motivated to be the best graduates they can be and know that we are one big family at Fleming College.”

Fleming College is the just the beginning for Business Administration – Accounting grad Hannah Preston

hannah-preston-blogHannah Preston knew she wanted to earn her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, which requires a university degree, but decided to begin her post-secondary education in college.

“Fleming College’s Accounting program presented the perfect opportunity for me to get an applied understanding of accounting and business to start my post-secondary education and career,” said Hannah, who graduated from Fleming’s Business Administration – Accounting program in 2014. “The combination of technology, small class sizes and comfortable atmosphere all contributed to my decision, as well as Fleming’s location in the Peterborough community.”

Hannah describes her experience at Fleming as positive, crediting her professors with helping her develop technical knowledge and professional skills. “The use of teams and application of theory made me leave the program confident in my knowledge and ready for the next step in my career,” said Hannah, who earned the Governor General’s Award at convocation for achieving the highest GPA of the graduating class.

Her advice to current students is to build your network and professional skills at Fleming, because participating both inside and outside of the classroom helps you get the most out of your education.

After graduating from Fleming College, Hannah used the pathways option to continue her studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), completing her Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting this year. She is now working on her Graduate Diploma in Accounting, which she will finish in August 2017; is enrolled as a CPA student; and will start a full-time job at a public accounting firm in Peterborough soon.

“Upon leaving Fleming College, I was fully equipped to enter into third-year of my Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) through the pathways program,” said Hannah. “Fleming provided me with a great foundation in accounting principles and an applied approach, which I could use when learning in a university setting. I was well equipped to achieve a 4.3 GPA (out of 4.3) in my undergraduate degree.”

Fleming College paves ‘path to the perfect career’ for Accounting Technician Valerie Lumley

valerie-lumleyWhen Valerie Lumley first applied to Fleming College, she didn’t realize the Business Administration – Accounting program would be the perfect fit for her. But the 2015 graduate, who is now an Accounting Technician at Gauvreau & Associates CPA, is happy she made the switch.

Valerie originally came to Fleming for the Health Information Management program but, after two weeks in class, realized the medical field wasn’t right for her. After reflecting on her previous education in Office Administration, Valerie remembered an accounting course that she loved.

“I decided to take the opportunity to study accounting since that was a previous love I had found,” said Valerie. “I just didn’t realize when I first took it that accounting was the field I truly wanted to start a career in.”

She describes her Fleming experience as excellent and would recommend this program to others, explaining that it covers different aspects of the business world (human resources, accounting, marketing, etc.) and explores a variety of accounting and finance-related positions.

Along with that, the teachers in all of my courses were wonderful,” said Valerie. “They were always willing to help and spend any extra time needed with students to better understand the material. The professors definitely helped me to succeed in the accounting program.”

In her position at Gauvreau & Associates CPA, Valerie is responsible for bookkeeping and payroll for multiple clients, as well as some administrative tasks. Valerie particularly enjoys payroll, which is why she is pursuing her Payroll Compliance Practitioner designation through the Canadian Payroll Association.

“The most exciting experience from my job so far is simply seeing how all of the knowledge gained from the accounting program translates to real life; seeing numbers in action, solving problems as they come up, and understanding the ‘why’ from where the numbers come from,” said Valerie, who added that the software skills she developed at Fleming, including QuickBooks and Excel, are relevant as she uses them daily.

She also appreciates that Fleming taught her not to depend solely on technology. “When on a computer and using software, the program can do a lot for you; however Fleming taught me how to understand the numbers and where they come from, rather than just depending on the software to do everything correctly,” Valerie explained. “It helped improve my analytical skills and understanding of accounting to see where there might be discrepancies or when something needs to be questioned.”

Her advice to current students is to never give up, even in moments of frustration and stress. “If you are willing to push through, do the work, learn the material and be confident, the dreams you have in school can and will become a reality,” said Valerie. “Fleming helped pave the path to the perfect career for me and, without Fleming, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”