When it comes to the Common Final Examination (CFE), students from the large firms dominate the National Honour Roll. The Big Seven have the numbers. They have the resources. And their students grab the gold medal honours.
Forty-four of the 53 students who placed on the National Honour Roll for the September 2016 CFE came from the Big Seven. Thirty-five of the 44 came from the Big Four, as did all four gold medal recipients, including the Governor General’s gold medal winner.
Just eight came from an SME firm, two of whom — Alyce [Ah-lease] te Bokkel [like “vocal”] and Steven James Enns — work at the small Ontario firm of Bridgman & Durksen Chartered Accountants.
How did B&D beat the odds and place two students on the CFE National Honour Roll?
“It’s all about the wheel, not the pyramid,” says Vic Durksen, CPA, CA, of the workplace culture at Bridgman & Durksen. “A wheel has many cogs but at the centre is the customer. I’m just one cog in the wheel.”
Cogs, for those who aren’t engineers or gearheads, are the tiny teeth that interlock to turn a wheel. Only a few cogs interlock with the centre at any one time.
“If the needs of the client change,” says Durksen, 54, “and if we need to rely on different cogs, or people, to serve that customer, that’s fine.” And that, according to Durksen, includes junior employees such as Alyce and Steven. Adds Durksen, “The client is the only priority.”