Tax Manager Talk with Yembeh Moiba, CPA

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Tax Manager Talk with Yembeh Moiba, CPA

Yembeh Moiba, CPA is a Tax Manager at a CPA Public Accounting firm in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is a self described huge sports fan and a serious hiker. If he wasn’t an accountant he would be a chef.

Yembeh played university football at the University of Alberta where he also competed in track and field. When he isn’t working, you can find him on the sidelines coaching youth football.


Financial auditors examine and analyze the accounting and financial records of individuals and establishments to ensure accuracy and compliance with established accounting standards and procedures. Accountants plan, organize and administer accounting systems for individuals and establishments. They are employed by private sector accounting and auditing firms or departments and public sector accounting and auditing departments or units, or they may be self-employed. Articling students in accounting firms are included in this unit group.

Job Forecast

People working as a tax accountant have different job prospects depending on where they work in Canada.

Employment Requirements

Chartered accountants require a university degree and Completion of a professional training program approved by a provincial institute of chartered accountants and, depending on the province, either two years or 30 months of on-the-job training and Membership in a provincial Institute of Chartered Accountants upon successful completion of the Uniform Evaluation (UFE).

Certified general accountants and certified management accountants require a university degree and Completion of a training program approved by the Society of Certified General Accountants or Society of Management Accountants and several years of on-the-job training and Certification by the Certified General Accountants Association or the Society of Management Accountants.

Auditors require education, training and recognition as indicated for chartered accountants, certified general accountants or certified management accountants and Some experience as an accountant.

Auditors may require recognition by the Institute of Internal Auditors.

To act as a trustee in bankruptcy proceedings, auditors and accountants must hold a licence as a trustee in bankruptcy.

Licensing by the provincial or territorial governing body is usually required for accountants and auditors practicing public accounting.

Salary Range

$35.75/Hr. Median wage in Canada

(Visit the Canadian Website For Most Recent Numbers)

Full Length Episode:

Complete Episode Transcript

Today’s guest is Yembeh Moiba.

Here’s our job talk with the tax manager.

Welcome to the job.

Talk podcast, where we talk with people who love their jobs.

Our guests open up about their challenges, surprises and secrets to success in their industries through conversation and we explore their careers, past work experiences, and the education that got them to where they are now.

I am a 46 year old man and I still experience anxiety that I have a grade 12 math test coming up that I’m not prepared for or probably won’t put the work into it.

Whatever math dyslexia is, I have it it’s not diagnosed, but I have it.

So my high school experience, which has been well documented on this podcast, I didn’t put a lot of effort into it.

What was your experience like in high school? Oh, oh, okay.

That takes me back to Winnipeg – my high school, I think.

Well, you know that based on the people I was hanging out with, I think we weren’t very keen on the school part of high school.

I find, you know, now that I look back on it, I find that, you know, most of my days in high school was probably spent not not in the classroom, which which hopefully my mom doesn’t watch this and see this.

But I was I was an average student.

I had I did enough to make sure that I could get into university.


And but by no means was I at the library late trying to get things.

I mean, I think I finish with a 70 something average and and and you know, so I was an average high school student that spent a lot more time not in the classroom.

So, you know, I spent time, you know, playing tackle football outside of lunchtime or going over to my friend, my friend’s house who was closer to high school.

So I think that pretty much sums up my high school, my school days.

That takes us to your first post-secondary experience.

Where did you go and what did you take? So my first post-secondary experience was at the University of Manitoba when I graduated high school.

You know, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with school.

The only thing I knew was I wanted to play football but obviously my mom was not going to let that slide.

So she made me enroll at the University of Manitoba.

I was at University of Manitoba for about a month and then I realized that, you know, what do you have missed out for me? So that was initially my first post-secondary experience.

It was the University of Manitoba.

And then you moved to another post-secondary.

That’s right.

And then I moved over to Alberta.

Like I said, all I was trying to do at that point was play football.


So when you became Colin, they offered me a spot and a scholarship to come to the UofA where I was like, Well, I want to play football, but I have to go to school.

So so yes, that and that’s when I moved over to Alberta and I went to University of Alberta.


And the program that you went into at the University of Alberta was a Bachelor of Arts.

So the way it works, I knew at that point that I wanted to get into business, but if I remember correctly, I couldn’t get straight into business.

I had to take a few some prereqs so you could do that in any any faculty.

I believe you could be in open studies in arts sciences.

So I had to take, you know, the psych, sociology, calculus and a few English courses in order to get into business school for my first year at the University of Alberta.

I took those courses to be able to get into business school.

What’s it like playing sport at a high level? So you’re at the University of Alberta.

What is the league that you play in when you’re at the University of Alberta? Is that CI..

it used to be called.

CIS now it’s called U-Sport.

It’s called.


So that’s the college level or university level in Canada? Yeah.

And that’s a high level of football for our listeners that don’t know that.

And what position did you play? I was the receiver.

You were a receiver.

And did you guys have success while you were playing? Playing football at the University of Alberta? Unfortunately not.

Not in my first couple of years.

My in 20 I came in, in 2011.

And my first two years we did not win a single game.

We were only 16 two years.


So it was tough.

It was tough.

But it after that it my in my third and fourth year, we had a tiny bit of success.

Well, that’s character building.

The way I look at it, you learn more about yourself through losses than you do through wins, I believe.

And I’ve lost a ton through life, but I’m, I’m a better person for it.

What is it like being a university student with your studies and also playing the high level football? It it was busy.

It was busy.

And to add on top of that, I also competed in track for the year before university.

So on top of playing football, I was also on the track team So I mean, a typical, let’s say, a fall in the fall semester.

So September to December, that’s when football is going on.

I would have classes you know, from eight till 2:30 3:00 and then from 2:30 to say 4:30, I would be at school get, you know, get my assignments done.

I had to be at practice for around five, five, 5:00 until about 9 p.m.

every night.


So I mean that’s a typical fall, fall semester for us.

And then on the weekend, you know, would, you know, we’ll playing games either here in Edmonton or you know, going away to, you know, UBC U of M, U of R, it would travel.

And so it was a pretty tight, tight timeline for us in the fall.

And were you at the University of Alberta for four years or did you take a little more time? Four years.

I was there for four years, yes.

And OK, you graduate from the University of Alberta with what degree? The Bachelor of…


Did you know that you always wanted to go into accounting? No, I did not.

I did not hear.

Here’s what I knew when you know, I mean, this takes me back, you know, back to when I first moved to Canada, when my father when my family moved to English, you know, second language to me.


So I was trying to I was doing everything to avoid not taking any English classes.


My my dad was an engineer.

So from a young age, I think, you know you know, he I mean, he he he never would admit to this.

And I think he tried to sway me and my sister to go into engineering.

But for some reason, I did not want to do that.

So I knew I didn’t want to go into engineering.

I knew I didn’t want to write, you know, any long essays or anything that had to do with English.

So to be honest, business school was kind of a default for me.

Right? And when I got into business school, I took you know, I took it, I took accounting courses, I took the finance courses.

Accounting was the one that made the most sense to me.

It came natural.

I did well in them.

So that’s kind of how the journey into it into accounting started.

I asked you to be a guest on this podcast because when I asked you about your job, you showed so much energy and enthusiasm and positivity about being an accountant.

And I have some preconceived notions about accountants.

So I thought you just work with numbers and.

Yeah, and that’s it.

And you don’t have any human connection, but you did talk about your clients.

So this is what’s fascinating, and I love the fact that you came on this to talk about it.

So in order to become an and an accountant it’s a CSA.

Is that what you.

Is that your designation? A CPA? A CPA, OK, and you have to write a test to become a CPA and could you talk about how do you prepare to write…

is it called a CPA test? It’s called it’s called the the CPA it’s a common final exam, but it’s a CPA exam.


And are you only allowed to write that test twice? You know, I can look.

I believe so.

Yes, I believe so.

Yes, I believe you.

You get two cracks and it may be three.

I’m not certain, but but you you only get to a maximum three tries at it.

OK, that’s a lot of pressure.

The first question is how, how what advice can you give to somebody before they write the test? How can you get prepared for it? Well, so here’s here’s how the program works.

The program can be a two to three year program when you first start there, there are six parts.

OK, so every three months you are in a in in part one.

So you do part one and then you have a final exam for that part.

OK, so you do this five times after you pass all of those and then you become eligible to write the final exam.

OK, so in terms of how you prepare for the final exam at the end? Oh, well, hopefully throughout the, you know, the first two years of doing those, you know, the smaller exams, you know, you would have picked up some tips on how to get yourself prepared and so, you know, you can carry all of that into prepping for that final exam.

But in terms of how to prepare for that final exam itself, most people take about two months off of work.

All right.

I had to take about seven weeks off of work.

And you are basically studying from nine to four Monday to Friday for about two months.


That is and that is not exaggerated or anything.

That’s that.

I mean, if you were to pass, I mean, there are some people that can maybe do it in a month, but I only talk about seven weeks to get ready for it.

So, yeah, you get to the library or you get to school from, you know, nine.

I did nine to about 330 Monday to Friday.

And on the weekends, you know, I would do my weekend things and then get back.

Then when they do it for you know, five more days until it was time to write the exam and the exams.

The exam itself is a 12 hour exam.

It’s 12 hour exam, it’s.

12, 12 hours.


And it is split into three days.

So the first day is a, I believe a four, three hour and then the next day’s about 4 hours and then the last day is 3 hours or something like that or some something like that.


And what, what are some of the topics that are covered on the exam? Well, I mean obviously there is the, you know, the personal taxes, right? They may give you a case, the case based exam, so they’ll give you a 40 page case of a person who is married, have kids, a normal person, and they give you all the tax histories and now you have to file their taxes and make any kind of recommendation.

Right? So that could be a case or it could be a situation of a company who was trying to expand into the U.S., you know, to you have to do some research and you have to determine what kind of tax implications this may have, what kind of, you know, what kind of international tax reporting do we have so I mean, it could be anything or it could be something like an audit, right? So where they give you a company and you look at their processes, and you have to give them some recommendations on how to improve their internal processes.


So that that the range of things they can test you in is very broad so so, you know, you just have to be prepared and hope that what they test you on is something you had, you know, you like.

It is something you can answer This is all through the University of Alberta.

Still not so they so after you graduate or you graduate with your BCOM you have to go work at a CPA firm.

So you have to go get it.

You know, it’s called you know, it’s the same thing lawyers do when they graduate you have to go article.

So while you are articling at a CPA firm, that’s when you do those six little exams and then at the end you read the common exam.

So this was post University.

So the CPA is run by the CPA Institution of Canada.

OK, OK, so you’ve you finished that course, you graduate.

What is your first position? And I guess how long did you stay in that first position? So after I graduated university, I went and took an entry level job at a local firm here.

So you’re basically a staff accountant, right? So normally these firms will hire about five to ten people who are just graduated from university.

So you start with you know, seven to ten people and you guys are all in the CPA program and you called a staff accountant.

And then you’re in by the time you finish the CPA program.

So either in year three, you or you two or you three, you become a senior accountant, right? And then when you pass you will see the common final exam and you have earned all your hours, desires and hours required component as well.

You have to add basically our work experience.

You have to have once you meet all those things, then you become a CPA, then you can use a CPA designation.

OK, let’s talk about your position today and when did OK, the position that you’re in today, you’re called a tax manager.

Is that correct? That’s right, yes.

OK, and how many how many years have you been in your role as a tax manager? So I this will be my first year.

So I, I graduated first.

Well, I got into accounting in 2016.

Right, so right from 2016 to about now it was about six years, almost six years for me.

This September will be six years for me for when I got into the accounting world.

So no I mean normally that’s, that’s, you know, which between four of six years you go through all those levels and then you become a manager.

Ok can you take us through a day to day in your job from when you wake up in the morning and when you, when you finish your day.

It depends on the time of the year.

So let me take you know, I’ll say in April, that’s our crazy time of the year for all accountants.

So in April, I’ll probably get up at 6 a.m.

I you know, if I have to go to the gym to go to the gym by the office for 8 a.m.

and get to the office, have coffee, probably check a few emails.

And then because it’s April, are most likely working on personal taxes.


You know, so that could be, you know, a situation where you have a pro wall.

This is the one that comes to mind from this tax season.

You know, it was that person who was you know, they spend half their time here and in Canada.

It’s been half the time in the U.S.

So you have to deal with all those tax obligations and more countries and things like that.

So a typical day in April for me is pretty much that, you know, get up gym work, do some personal taxes, come home, or go coach football.


And we’re going to get into what you like to do when you’re not working.

What do you what do you love about your job? I like I love everything about my job.

Obviously, there’s there are some things that I may not love, but I love I love everything about it.

And specifically, I think I think, you know, we’ll probably get into this.

But, you know, the notion that people have of accountants….

we just sit in the back of the room and we just type and we do numbers.


Well, but but to be honest, that’s not how the accounting world.

I mean, there are still if if you’re that type of person and you still want to do that, there’s a place for you.


But at most, in most firms and most with most accounts now you have to be able to take, you know, the hard numbers stuff.


And and you have to be able to convey that to a person who may not have that tax knowledge or accounting knowledge like you have because they go to school for it.

So the best part of my job is being able to take those hard numbers and all the tax act and tell it to a client and say OK, this is what all that means and this is what you have to do.

And the relief that you see on their face, you know, to me that that is still the best part of my job.

I love it.

What are some of the glaring challenges in your job? I’m sure there are a few.

I think one is I mean, this is no knock on the Sierra and or anything like that.

But, you know, a part of my job sometimes is to basically act on the client’s behalf, what they see.

All right.

So let’s say a client, you know, is the CRA sent a client a letter and they have to provide a bunch of things to the client.

The client will engage us and we will act on behalf of the client.

And, you know, most times that process can be dragged out right that it can be up to a couple of years to respond back, to hear back from the CRA and things like that.

And it’s not all their fault, especially in the last couple of years with COVID and all that.

You know, if people are working for work, well, sometimes that can be, you know, that department about my job I of love is that that wait you know to hear back from the CRA and go back to the client and most times the client or understand that they think it’s us not doing the work but you know we do the work as soon as we can send it off to the c.r.a..

But unfortunately they don’t always get back to us.

As soon as possible, for for many, many reasons not to just leave everything on the CRA.


Has there been any surprises that stand out to you of being a tax manager? I mean, so that tax manager role is brand new, so I’ve actually not, you know, so I guess I’ll talk about, you know, any surprises in accounting in general? I think the very first thing that surprised me was how little you make they said how much hours you work earlier.

All right.

So so that definitely surprised me.

I thought I was an accountant.

I’m going to be rich in five years, but it’s certainly not how it is.

You have to pay your dues.

You have to, you know, put in the hours get you CPA and grind.

So that’s really surprised me in my first few years.


Did your dad come to terms that you didn’t go into engineering, do you think.

On paper? Yes.


I consider us having conversations and I mean, I feel like I mean, this may be just a me thing, but I feel like engineers.

Well, my dad you know, my dad felt that engineers were the cream of the crop, like they he thought he thought it was the best thing you could do.

So, you know, sometimes when I’m having conversations with them, you know, I don’t want to say he will look down on account, but if it is had he probably thought, you know, I could have done better or something like that.

But there’s always that back and forth with him.

I was like, hey, well, if you look at all the big companies world, I was like, who is the boss of your company? It’s probably somebody with a numbers background, a financial accounting.

So technically, we are the bosses of you guys.

So so I always have that back and forth with him.

Do you do your dad’s taxes no.

I never got a chance to do my dad’s taxes.

No, I did not, though.

Not not because he didn’t trust me anything, but he he he he didn’t live in Canada.

Here with us.

So he, he he had you know, he worked with the U.N.

for many, many years and it took care of all that for him.

So I didn’t get a chance to do his taxes.

OK, that’s that’s fascinating, though.


What advice would you give to a university student that has graduated that is considering becoming an accountant? What why why would they why would you recommend accounting to someone? Well, the biggest one is flexibility.

And job security to me, I didn’t even know this back then.


But now that I’m in it, just think about it, know the matter and what what the situation is in the you know, in a business, it doesn’t matter if they’re making money or losing money.

The accounting has to get done right.

So that you know, the job security in accounting is amazing where you once you get your designation, you’re probably never not going to have work – so that’s one.

And the second thing is flexibility, especially with a CPA designation.

You know, I’m somebody who although I haven’t done yet, but I would like to travel someday and go live in a different country.

And with a CPA designation, I could go to places like the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and it would be a fairly smooth, you know, a smooth thing for me to get a job in those places with my designation.

So I think those two things are probably the biggest attractions attraction into getting into the CPA program.

What are some misconceptions? And you may have covered it a little bit, but what are some misconceptions out there? About accountants? And I probably had it when I was talking to you about becoming a guest on the show.

I wasn’t trying to be insulting to you.

What are some misconception things that you would like to help people understand about being an accountant? Sure.

I think I’ll I will touch on to I think the one I kind of briefly touched on it earlier is that account in the CPA program or in accounting? No, you don’t.

You know, you don’t have to be somebody who is that, for instance, that introvert who just sits there and does numbers.


There is room for people with outgoing personalities.

There is sort slip, too.

So that’s one.

And then the second thing is you don’t have to be genius at math.

I think that’s kind of the other way, ways that all you have to be brilliant at calculus, this and that.


You may have to take a calculus course to get into business school, but once you get in, once you become an accountant, a CPA, I’ve never had to use calculus that I in accounting I have in tax, I’ve never had to, you know, find the limit of something or that kind of thing.

So that is a total myth.

You really have to be greater math.

You may have to take them out to get into the program.

But, you know, tax I mean, it’s specifically tax because that’s the area I work in.

It’s all laws, right? Because you get a tax act that’s in by lawyers.

You just have to be able to take that act and make it make sense to a client.


So I think those two things are probably the biggest missed conceptions about a cloud is that you have to be great at math.

And and and the second one is you cannot be somebody who is an extrovert who likes, you know, meeting people and then excellent.

When you’re not at work.

What do you love to do? When I’m not on work, I mean, I, I love to cook.

Cooking is my passion.


If, if I could cook for living, I think that is the only other thing I would leave my tax for and go do.

It would be cooking.

Apart from that, you know, I know sports is my passion as well.

I grew up in sport and now I’m coaching all my free time.

And I didn’t think and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I probably enjoyed that more than I enjoyed playing and I’ve only been coaching for, you know, just over a year now.

So, you know, when not I want you can find me in the kitchen or coaching and do things like that.

What is your signature dish, do you think? What do you what do you make best? What do I make best? I hmm.

So here I have I have two things I make really good.

I think today that people have told me that I make really well one, I make really good meatballs like a pasta meatball I think.

I mean, if you’re just talking about red, I think I think I may have to make it this because I’m craving it right now.

And and then my second thing is my potato salad.

I’m a big fan of potato salads, and I’ve been told I can make a pretty good potato salad.

That that’s the culinary side of things.

What is the biggest reward you’re finding with being a youth coach for football? Oh, oh, my goodness.

I mean, it’s I mean, it’s it’s all amazing.

But I think the biggest reward oh, I didn’t think of that.

I think the biggest reward is, well, OK, so take last year, for instance, the way my season started things any more great.

We lost a few games and kids were down.

But, you know, we we you know, we stuck with it.

We stuck with it and towards it.

Towards the end of the season, things turned around won a few games, made it to the playoffs.

But all that being said, I think the biggest reward was seeing kids that have never played football before because, you know, probably 70% of the kids last year it was their first year, it was their first year playing tackle football.

So seeing from when we started in, you know, in June-July too, when the season ended around Halloween day, November, the progressions these kids that made.


I mean, some kids didn’t even know the difference and know the different you know, spots they could play on the feeling they want to now where kids have football conversations with them as a kid, you’re playing Mac or you’re the middle linebacker or you’re safety.

So I think for me that’s that’s been the biggest reward is just teaching these kids the fundamental fundamentals of football at a very young age, which I think is very important because that will build a base.

And so if a kid you know, after doing that, if they end up loving football, at least now they have some fundamentals they can build off of going into bantam in high school or, you know, even the university level.

Well, your positive energy for your career and your job and your positive energy towards being a youth coach is inspiring.

I just want to thank you for joining us on this podcast today.

Thank you so much.

You’re very welcome.

Thank you for having me.

Thank you for tuning in to the Job Talk podcast.

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