By her own admission, 2022 was a whirlwind year for Emma Roszell.
She graduated from Brock University’s Goodman School of Business in the spring of 2022 with her Bachelor of Accounting co-op degree, followed by her Master of Accountancy degree at Brock’s Fall Convocation, where she was recognized as placing first in her program. Then an unexpected honour came in late November, when she was notified that she finished in the top one percent in Canada on the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Common Final Exam (CFE).
Still another highlight of 2022 for Roszell was her September engagement to fiancé Jimmy Yungblut. Roszell currently lives in Welland, but will be moving to Thorold once she marries in June.
“It was a crazy year,” she said, “definitely one to look back on.”
Some 4600 candidates successfully wrote the CPA exam across Canada in September, but only 59, including Roszell, were named to the prestigious National Honour Roll.
Growing up on a dairy farm in Wainfleet, Roszell attended high school at E.L. Crossley in Pelham. It was during her Crossley years that she commenced co-op work placements with Root Bissonnette Walker LLP (RBW), a Fonthill-based accounting firm, which she continued during her five-and-a-half years of study at Brock.
“I was actually in the Dominican Republic on vacation when the general release of CFE results became available,” she said. “I was with a group of friends, and we had all done the Master of Accounting program together. They were busy checking their results online, but I already knew that I had made the national honour roll, because [RBW partner] Andrew Walker had given me the good news the week before. I tried to appear surprised in front of my friends.”
The rigorous CFE examination represents an important milestone for CPA candidates, allowing them to use the internationally recognized designation of Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).
“The master's program at Brock involved a lot of writing practice cases,” said Roszell, “taking your financial accounting knowledge to the next level. I learned a lot about auditing. It was all specialized training for the CFE. Our professors [Associate Professor of Accounting Pascale Lapointe-Antunes, and Professor of Accounting Barbara Sainty] prepared us very well.
It was definitely intense, and not an easy program by any means. There were lots of late nights, and we studied all through the summer to get ready. But by the end, I felt very prepared to write the CFE.”
Roszell is still working with Root Bissonnette Walker, only now she is a full-time senior accountant with the firm. She prefers the small-shop environment at RBW to working at a much larger operation.
“At a firm this size, you get to see all the different types of scenarios in accounting,” she said. “I feel like I have had a really well-rounded experience at RBW, versus working at a big firm where you might just be working on one audit client. And I love the people here. Tax season is just starting up now, so there will be a lot of long days and late nights. But working with people who you like, and an employer that cares about you and tries to make it an enjoyable experience, is definitely a bonus.”
Faculty members in Brock’s business school lauded Roszell’s achievements.
“We were so proud to hear of Emma’s fantastic results on the CFE,” said Goodman Dean Barry Wright in a Brock News article, “and it’s great to hear that her talent will be staying in Niagara at Root Bissonnette Walker LLP.”
Living in Niagara, staying close to her roots, is clearly important to Roszell.
“My mom still runs the dairy farm in Wainfleet,” said Roszell. “My dad's actually an accountant. I think that from an early age, my parents saw that I wanted to work with numbers. It’s something I enjoyed, and was good at. That's what got me started in accounting. I took a few courses in high school, and I haven’t stopped since.”