Interview with In.Business Mentor, Kyle Sangret

This month, I chose mentor Kyle Sangret for the Mentor’s Minute and decided to interview him about his career as an accountant. Kyle is a partner in the accounting firm Birrer Sangret LLP in Cobble Hill, British Columbia.

Why did you choose to study accounting?

Originally, I was enrolled in a Management Diploma program because I really enjoyed studying business in high school. But, once I learned about investment returns in an introductory accounting class I started running the numbers. The decision to pursue Accounting was based partly on the expected return from a 4-year Accounting Degree program compared to an expected return from a 2-year Management Diploma program.

That said, I used to be an action sports athlete and would continuously injure myself. So, the prospect of a career that would allow me to work on Monday if I dislocated my shoulder on the weekend was also a major factor in the decision as well.

Where did you study?

I studied at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC.

What did you like about studying at Vancouver Island University?

The faculty of business made studying accounting and business fun, if you can believe that. VIU has an exceptional accounting program with some of the best professors in the industry. In fact, Chris Burnley has been teaching at VIU since 1998 and recently earned the FCPA, FCA designation, which is awarded to those who have rendered exceptional services and brought honor to the profession.

What would you say to a youth that wanted to know more about accounting, but were unsure about committing to a 4-year degree?

If you are unsure then I would do some research including:

  • Make an appointment to see an Education Advisor at a post-secondary institution
  • Talk to an accounting professional about the benefits of being an accountant
  • I would tell them there are great opportunities for career growth and job stability because there will  always be accounting jobs unlike other industries that are impacted by downturns in the economy

If you do decide to study accounting, it will be one of the best decisions of your life and the shortest 4 years of your life.

When did decide to start your own accounting firm?

I had a couple opportunities to buy into established firms. In one case, due diligence revealed the firm was significantly over-valued; and, the most recent opportunity evaporated when a big firm from Vancouver took over the company. I was tired of being led along and decided the time was right to start an accounting firm and partnered up with a long-time colleague and fellow VIU Alumni to start Birrer Sangret LLP.

How long did it take it get up and running?

I gave my notice on November 30, 2015 and we had both offices renovated and fully operational by January 25, 2016. This was a mammoth accomplishment, and looking back now I’m still surprised we pulled it off in such a short time frame.   

How long have you been in operation?

The partnership was registered on December 15, 2015 but we officially started operations on January 4, 2016.

How long did it take you to get your first client?

I was referred a client by my landlord in the first week. Plus, I was quickly approached by many of the clients that I’ve been working with over the years. In fact, I’ve been working with some of my current clients since as far back as 2009.

What services do you offer?

We offer Professional Accounting services which includes financial statement preparation, tax return preparation and consulting.

What advice would you give to a youth about starting their own business?

Stick to the plan!  As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail”.

– Koren Bear (KB), Pacific Regional Manager