June 19, 2024

Advancing Business Journey

Empowering Business Excellence

‘I like the feeling of contributing to something bigger than me’

6 min read

Nathalie Rochecouste, Erik Niemi and David Bunn From left, CPAs Nathalie Rochecouste, Erik Niemi and David Bunn (Images provided)

April 16 to 22 marks National Volunteer Week—a time to honour the invaluable contributions of volunteers across Canada. To commemorate the occasion, we spoke to three CPAs who volunteer their time and expertise to CPA Canada in different areas:

  • Nathalie Rochecouste is a consultant who works with some of the largest financial institutions in Canada through her company, Services-conseils NR. She’s also a certified business coach and certified professional trainer in the workplace. For the past six years, she has volunteered with CPA Canada as a media spokesperson and webinar facilitator for financial literacy.
  • David Bunn is an international tax partner at Deloitte, advising Canadian and foreign-based multinationals on various cross-border tax matters. He has volunteered with CPA Canada for almost seven years as a member of the Joint Committee on Taxation, a collaborative effort between CPA Canada and the Canadian Bar Association.
  • Erik Niemi is a KPMG Canada partner and global leader for System and Organization Controls (SOC) attestation and technology assurance services, who specializes in information systems auditing, technology assurance and risk consulting. A volunteer since 2016, he has participated in several advisory committees and working groups.

CPA CANADA: What are some of the activities you engage in as a volunteer for CPA Canada?
Nathalie Rochecouste (NR): I facilitate about one or two webinars a month on financial literacy topics, and also act as a media spokesperson for CPA Canada’s financial literacy program when press releases on our consumer research are issued.

David Bunn (DB): As a member of the Joint Committee on Taxation, I provide feedback to the Department of Finance on the technical aspects of new tax laws, and also offer input on how to improve and simplify existing tax legislation.

Erik Niemi (EN): For the past five years, I’ve chaired the Audit and Assurance Technology Committee (AATC). I also chaired the Data Standards Assurance Committee and participate in the Crypto-Asset Auditing Discussion Group, the System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Working Group and SOC 1 Task Force. For the past two years, I’ve also served on the advisory committee for THE ONE national conference.

CPA CANADA: How did you start volunteering for CPA Canada?
NR: I started volunteering in 2017. I had just finished my training in business coaching and thought that facilitating webinars for CPA Canada would be a nice way to apply what I’d learned and help people.

DB: I’ve been volunteering since 2016, when a managing partner at my firm asked me to become the Deloitte representative on the Joint Committee on Taxation. I became vice chair in 2018, and then moved into the co-chair role in 2020. I’ve been in that role for almost three years, but will be transitioning to past-chair shortly.

EN: In 2016, another partner at my firm who served on the AATC contacted me about joining the committee. Given my national role and expertise, it seemed like a good fit. I’ve been wearing a bunch of volunteer hats since then.

CPA Canada: What are some of the highlights of your volunteer work so far?
NR: Last year, I facilitated some webinars for women for International Women’s Day. I’ve also done webinars for Québec’s ministry of justice and jointly with the Canada Revenue Agency. Recently I facilitated a webinar on retirement planning that had 300 attendees.

DB: Early in the pandemic, the committee provided input into measures related to COVID-19, which provided relief from various tax filing and payment deadlines. Most recently, we provided input into the proposed excessive interest and financing expenses limitation (or EIFEL) rulesnew legislation that will significantly change the way interest deductions work for corporate tax purposes. Last year, we compiled our feedback in a 60-page submission to the Department of Finance, and we just finished our submission on the second draft of the proposed rules. It’s been a great opportunity to provide feedback on what will be a considerable change in tax rules for large corporations in Canada.

EN: I’m pleased with CPA Canada’s current set of system and organization controls (SOC) guides. SOC 1 is about reporting on a service organization’s controls relevant to user entities’ internal control over financial reporting whereas SOC 2 is about reporting on a service organization’s controls relevant to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. There is also a SOC for cybersecurity guide for reporting on an entity’s cybersecurity risk management program and controls. We spent a lot of time getting those right and they are something to be proud of in terms of the work and its impact. I’m also excited about the refreshed SOC 2 guide we are working on now. And last year was my first time planning The ONE conference, which took place in Vancouver. This was the first annual CPA conference to be held in person since the pandemic. It was really rewarding to see my fellow members take away valuable ideas and perspectives from the conference.

CPA Canada: What do you find most rewarding about being a volunteer for CPA Canada?

NR: I like the feeling of contributing to something bigger than me. I enjoy helping peopleespecially womenand seeing them develop to their full potential. Helping people gain access to information and feel empowered to reach their objectives—that’s what I find rewarding about this work.

DB: For me, there are two pieces: there’s the opportunity to offer meaningful input that helps improve Canadian tax legislation, but there’s also the “people” aspect. The committee is composed of individuals from a variety of accounting and law firms, so I get to know and work with professionals I wouldn’t interact with otherwise.

EN: I enjoy interacting with CPA Canada staff and colleagues from across the country. I’ve also gained a lot from discussions with my peers about various matters affecting the profession. We’ve all benefited from sharing our knowledge and debating the issues.

CPA CANADA: Do you have any advice for CPAs who are considering volunteering?
NR: Presenting webinars or even in-person sessions in your community is a great way to help people, meet prospective clients and above all, have fun. Plus, the best way to learn something new is to teach it. CPA Canada arranges all the details. It’s easy and hugely rewarding!

DB: When opportunities come up, take advantage of them. Volunteering is a wonderful way to meet people, build your network and grow your connections. It may seem like you’re taking on additional work, but it might be something you enjoy. Plus, it’s always great to give back. We’re very fortunate in the CPA world to be able to use our skills to make an impact.

EN: Start small! It’s fine if you can only commit a little time right now, as everything helps. But who knows? It might lead to something bigger.


CPA Canada remembers and honours the late Brian Friedrich, a dedicated member who made significant contributions to advancing the accounting profession in Canada and internationally.

“I had the good fortune of working with Brian and his wife Laura over the years,” said Gord Beal, vice president with CPA Canada. “He believed that through his work and volunteerism, he could make a positive difference.”

Among other volunteering roles, Brian sat on the CPA profession’s Public Trust Committee and the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA). As such, he brought a critical voice to the table that influenced global ethics standards.

“His leadership in ethics as a foundation of the profession was incredible,” said Beal. “He was a rare individual, deserving of recognition.”

Brian will be deeply missed by his colleagues and the accounting community. His dedication, expertise, and leadership serve as an inspiration to all who knew him, and his legacy will continue to guide the profession for years to come.


Learn more about volunteering with CPA Canada and how you can get involved. And find out more about volunteering for the financial literacy program.


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