Member Spotlight with Jeff Bandy

Tell us about yourself – your background, education, hobbies, interests.

I’m a New Brunswick (NB) transplant who grew up in a household of 10 kids, playing on my dad’s famous backyard rink. I moved to Halifax three years ago, right as I was finishing my designation! This was after a year of a long-distance relationship with my now-husband Matt (also a CPA!).

While living in NB, I graduated from Crandall University with my Bachelor of Business Administration, and was quite involved in student affairs and extra curriculars like the case competition team. I even authored a couple of cases for my Advanced Strategy class, which were put to great use during the CPA program. I completed the majority of the CPA program with JD Irving Ltd in Saint John with their finance team – shoutout to Woodlands Division! I learned so many valuable lessons at JDI in the first few years of my career, like how to manage work-life balance and so many others that come with living on your own for the first time.

In my spare time, I like to bake, play in a queer dodgeball league, and go on outings with my two-year-old Golden Doodle Eliot a product of the pandemic.

Did you always want to be a CPA?

I did not always want to be a CPA! During my university career, I had decided that accounting wasn’t for me. That is, until an accounting prof, Heather Steeves, said to me, “if you can handle the numbers, you can go into any industry and be the best.” This flexibility and drive for excellence motivated me to hop back on the accounting train and pursue my CPA. The more I worked with CPAs, the more I discovered that they were the most well-rounded business professionals, who always seemed to have their fingers on the pulse of what was going on within the companies I worked at and in the industry as a whole. I haven’t regretted that choice at all!

Describe your current company and role

Currently, I work for IMV Inc, which is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that is developing a new class of targeted immune therapies to treat cancer. IMV is publicly traded on the TSX and Nasdaq (ticker: IMV) and is headquartered in Dartmouth, NS. As Accounting Manager, I work closely with the finance team to produce quarterly external Financial Statements, complete regulatory exchange and government filings, and monitor our system of internal controls. I also work on a variety of other general accounting tasks like tax compliance including Scientific Research & Economic Development (SR&ED) claims cash management, budgeting, and other ad hoc projects.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work? Not so much the goals that are in your job description, but the goals you hold personally.

My current focus is to keep increasing my breadth of knowledge – in line with how the CPA program is set up. I want to equip myself with as many tools in my tool belt as possible while I’m in this position to help prepare myself for whatever comes next! In my mind, the broader the range of tasks I am able to engage in, the more well-rounded I will be as a professional. I want to be like one of the CPAs that inspired me to start/continue through the program – ready for whatever challenge I’m presented with next.

Did you have any life-changing experiences that led you to what you’re doing today? 

Funny enough, the only experience that comes to mind occurred when I was in my graduating year of high school. It was getting late in the school year, and I had no idea what major I wanted to pursue in university. I was getting anxious as my peers started lining up their plans for the next year. My mom walked down the stairs as I was eating my favourite teenage snack, a bowl of cereal, and said, “I think you should try doing business – a daughter of a friend of mine is doing it, and she loves it.” And the seed was planted. I walked into my Intro to Business class and had my enlightening moment, where I realized this was a great career path for me. I always laugh at how such a casual comment had such a drastic impact on my future – thanks Mom!

What motivates you most? 

I’m motivated by working in an environment that is ever-changing. The accounting landscape is always evolving and adding new elements as economic and societal trends shift. This motivates me to stay fresh and keep my skills sharp for the next change that may come through the pipeline.

Are there people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re committed to in your work and life? 

Absolutely! My older sister was a huge cheerleader for me as I pursued my goals of becoming a CPA. She showed me that if you put your heart and soul into a goal, you can achieve it, no matter the obstacle. She was ready to take my CFE stress calls, would send me late-night studying memes, and was always hyping me up when I had doubts about my capabilities. She exemplifies what it means to be a hard worker while simultaneously being compassionate and caring for those around you.

Can you describe your role with Halifax Pride? How long have you been involved?

I’m currently wrapping up my first year of a two-year term on the Halifax Pride Board of Directors. There, I sit as the Treasurer. Serving a small organization that pulls off large-scale events comes with its challenges, but I do my best to come alongside the other board members and the staff to make sure financials are run efficiently both during the festival and during the course of the year! As a member of the board, I participate in monthly meetings and I also chair the Policy and Governance Committee to enact future change at Halifax Pride!

How did you decide to become involved with Halifax Pride?

Halifax Pride was the first pride festival I attended after I came out to my friends and family publicly back in 2017. When I walked on the festival site grounds, I felt an energy of acceptance and inclusion that I hadn’t experienced ever before. Everyone seemed so free. Last year, after finishing PEP and settling in Halifax, I felt it was time to give back to the community that has given me so much over the years. I want other queer people of all backgrounds to be able to show up to Halifax Pride and feel what I felt five years ago. I thought it would be a great fit to put my skills to use in the community while also working on something I’m passionate about.

What advice would you give someone coming through the CPA program?

My advice to someone coming through the CPA program is to remember that the program is not “one size fits all.” What works for your friend working at a firm may not translate to your work in industry, or vice versa. Find what works for you! Ask your mentors/coaches/leaders for advice and piece together a system that aligns with your strengths. With that, remember that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel! A strict studying schedule, debriefing cases, and doing the quizzes will take you further than you may expect. 

I would also recommend carving out time for self-care and socialization. Working full time with a strict study schedule on the side can be overwhelming and it can feel like you’re isolated, and no one understands the challenges of being a CPA Candidate. Make time to meet up with friends and family, to focus on things that aren’t your studies, and to allow yourself to live a fulfilled life outside of the program. The pain is temporary and when you come out on the other side, you’ll be stronger than when you started.