Begin at the bottom, keep learning in the middle, stay humble at the top – Words of Wisdom from Nadia Landstad-Davis
Nadia Landstad-Davis (far right in photo) joined Buckley Dodds Parker LLP as a staff accountant in 2013. She obtained her Professional Certificate in Bookkeeping from Langara College. She is a student of the Accounting Technician program, working towards her CPA designation. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her beloved pooch, traveling, hiking, yoga and ballet. Buckley Dodds Parker LLP has been in the public accounting profession for over 30 years and during this time has gained a wide knowledge of businesses, and non profit organizations. Their professional staff, which Nadia is so proudly a part of, currently includes Chartered Professional Accountants, Certified General Accountants, accounting students, technicians and bookkeepers. We wanted to shed some more light on Nadia’s journey as a Woman in Accounting and more specifically, working for the respected and trusted Buckley Dodds Parker LLP. Nadia proves that the accounting world can be exciting after all!
Describe yourself in one sentence what would you say?
I would describe myself as an empathetic and compassionate person. I live with the mantra, treat others the way you would like to be treated.
How and why did I begin my career?
By accident! I had never thought accounting would be my field. I started out thinking I was going to be a Pharmacist and so worked as a Pharmacy Assistant. I then decided I would give radio a try when I worked at a local radio station as a receptionist, and convinced the program director to let me try my hand at advertisement spots which I did! I was a Medical Office Assistant, an Office Manager, a Business Development strategist at a car dealership, a background “actor” on film and television, and a Project Manager for real estate subdivisions in Canada and the US. About eight years ago, when a friend was in a fix with her newly acquired business (while I happened to be between jobs) I helped her with bookkeeping not knowing the first thing about it. I put myself through school, realized I truly loved the combination of working with numbers and people, and built my way up to accounting. I found my place career-wise and haven’t looked back since.
Describe Buckley Dodds Parker LLP as a business – what makes it unique.
Our business is in the people business. Whatever we do, and how we do it, is driven by our clients and their individual needs. What we deal in is accounting services, but that is our service, not our business. People come to us with a variety of requests and needs. For example, someone may come to me and want their GST form completed, but because we are in the people business and not the GST business I understand that the completed form is only part of what they are looking for.
What clients really want and really need is stress relief and peace of mind. They can send me the Canada Revenue Agency letter or CRA agent contact number and they can just walk away with the confidence knowing that we will take care of it without worry. It’s as simple as that. We don’t just do accounting, we build very personal and trusting relationships where a client can feel comfortable discussing anything with us, and the safety of confidentiality and compassion for their needs is met.
We have a very open door policy in our office, where we are super approachable and do not give off the air of intimidation. Accounting shouldn’t be scary! A client should never feel afraid to ask any kind of question, and so I try to use a much simpler language devoid of accounting jargon to make it seem less overwhelming. You will always hear laughter in our office because we are happy and engaged! I also keep chocolate in my office, and I’m a hugger.
Communication is key to my job, as I may not always have the answers right away, but I can always assure our clients that their matters are all being taken care of in a timely manner. Being personal, forthright and consistent with our clients, and allowing for their needs to be met in a “one stop shopping” environment (from bookkeeping, to CRA services including audits and reviews, to personal and corporate taxes, to financial statements, to review engagements to assurance and audit work, and everything in between!) is what makes us unique.
Where did Buckley Dodds Parker LLP start out and what was done to get it to where it is today?
Our business was originally founded by Con Buckley in 1980. While putting himself through school, he also did everything from being a taxi driver, a flower delivery guy and so on. Con is a very sociable person and wanted to be in the business of building relationships and trust with people. This is an integral part of running the firm. Like we have mentioned, accounting is the service but our business is with each client, and if you can’t relate and empathize with your clients, then we aren’t doing our job.
The clients that were there at the beginning now have children and grandchildren who have businesses too, and a big part of our clientele are families that include 15 or more people with several businesses between them, and we take care of all of them. I think it speaks volumes for our firm that not only do we retain our original clients but continue to work for them and their families for decade after decade creating a generational clientele. It started with one man and a few clients, and now we are a firm of 24 with three partners, with several hundred clients.
What do you love most about what you do?
Solving problems and working with clients. When a project is completed, or a CRA audit has been won, the sense of accomplishment is a shared experience with the client because when they win and they are happy, I’ve done my job and it feels awesome.
Where do you see the business in 5 years?
Our business will continue to grow as will our clients. I don’t run my clients businesses nor do I want to but I do contribute to their success even if it is in a minor role. We know that as long as we adhere to the people first goal, the future looks very bright.
What is a passion project you personally are working on?
I have many projects on the go at any given time, but what I am most passionate about is working through Canada Revenue Agency audits, review and trust examinations. These cause our clients the most fear, and the most stress. To be well versed in this area allows me to reassure the clients, and help them to avoid ignoring the problem which usually makes things worse. This is a situation where the client can give me the CRA letter, and walk away without worry. I’ll take care of it.
Tell us about one/some of the most exciting projects that you’ve been a part of!
Most people wouldn’t associate accounting with exciting projects, but I certainly try to make accounting fun and interesting. The projects I like the most outside of the CRA work, would be the part where I get to work at the client sites. It’s exciting to be able to see the clients’ businesses in action, and to see firsthand what their business entails to be a better accounting firm for them. It allows me to come back to the office and brainstorm ways to customize our work and understanding for each client.
What are a few of your personal must-haves?
My laptop, my phone, coffee and a cozy sweater. If I’m comfortable, caffeinated and available to my clients, that’s all I need in my work day.
Who inspires you?
My beautiful and brilliant daughter Mariah who turns 18 next week on Valentine’s Day! She first inspired me to succeed and provide in any way that I could because I knew I was her example in life, as much as her provider having been a single mother for the first 14 years of her life. Also, when I wanted to take risks that, sometimes, included pay cuts (even if it meant we had to live on couscous for a month which she now can’t stand to this day), she was always ahead of her years with an amazing amount of understanding, and steadfast support choking down that couscous every day telling me it was okay even though she hated it. I wouldn’t be who I am, or gotten as far as I have come, without being her mother.
What’s the number one value that you take with you through your personal life that extends into your business?
What adversity have you faced in business?
I admit that I haven’t had to face adversity in this business. I have a very strong personality and the ability to speak up for what I want and need. I am lucky that the partners who run our firm treat us as individuals with unique needs (just like we do with our clients) and customize our work environment to work for each of us. I respect them and am loyal to them, and they in turn show me respect, loyalty and the freedom to do the best work I can do. If I need help with anything, they put in place all the tools that I need to help me succeed.
What would like to say to young women with similar career goals?
If young women are exploring the accounting field, I would offer them the insight that you will learn constantly for the rest of your career. The field, the rules and the information changes all the time and you must be able to adapt to the fast-changing pace of the accounting and taxation world. Like one of my managers tells us all the time, it’s easy enough to plunk numbers into an accounting software program, but to understand why you’re entering them combined with common sense is the heart of accounting.
If you’re considering accounting, but the reputation of accounting is stopping you from pursuing it, like that it’s boring and dry… think again. If you are detail-oriented, love working with people, a problem solver, a planner and more, than this might be the career for you. There’s a big misconception about this line of work, and once they get into it, realize it’s actually very interesting and engaging!
With any career choice, I always encourage young women speak up, be direct and specific in their goals and expectations, and to remember that what you want doesn’t get handed to you in the beginning, that you’ve got to earn it. That means starting at the bottom and working your way up, and taking every lesson along the way to add to your personal and professional growth “portfolio”. You can only grow and succeed in anything you choose to do when you take it one step at a time and do the work, and be realistic and fair in what you expect and ask for. A lot of what stops us from moving ahead is being afraid to ask for what we want, you’d be amazed at what happens when you ask!
Lastly, in the journey of discovering what you want to do, when one door closes, a better one always opens in its place. Keep that in mind if you get discouraged and overwhelmed along the way.
What is your best promotional tool?
Word of mouth has always been our best promotional tool but it can only travel so far. We try to be active in social media but accounting doesn’t always translate well in this forum. This is a big part of why we are so excited to advertise with your magazine and talk shop in your blog!
Why is the Lower Mainland a great place to live and work?
The Lower Mainland has really mastered the art of work/life balance. We are spoiled in our surroundings to be sure, but it’s a great place for options, from how you want to get around, to every kind of food you want to eat catering to every personal preference, to the vast diversity that creates a melting pot of awesome! We are, and have, a little bit of everything that the world can offer in one place and for that we really do have it all.
Buckley Dodds Parker LLP – Our Mission
- We firmly believe that each and every client is important, no matter how big or small!
- We listen to our clients needs and act on those needs!
- We deliver the professionalism and attention to detail you expect and deserve!
- We roll our sleeves up and get the job done!
- We deliver the confidence that the task is completed, the problem solved!
- We like making a difference; we care about the outcome!
“Begin at the bottom, keep learning in the middle, stay humble at the top!”
– Nadia Landstad-Davis
Sr. Staff Accountant, RPB, Client Care, Tax Audit Advisor
Tel 604-688-7227 ext 110 | F 604-681-7716
Suite 1140 – 1185 West Georgia Street, Vancouver B.C., V6E 4E6