Rachael Mella, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA) and Brian Shea, CPA, CA worked together since 2000 and have been partners since 2014. Their company, Mella & Shea Chartered Professional Accountants, has offices in Charlottetown and Montague.
“There will always be a need for accountants and accounting technicians within the business world. It’s a career that offers a good living wage for PEI,” says Rachael.
Rachael has been in public practice since 1997, and earned her CA designation in 2007. Rachael’s area of practice includes accounting, auditing, taxation, personal financial planning, estate planning, business plans, management consulting, and advisory services. She is the lead partner of the audit engagements including municipalities, co-operatives, not-for-profits, and profit-oriented entities.
Brian is the founding partner and has been in public practice since 1975, and earned his CA designation in 1977. His area of practice includes accounting, auditing, taxation, personal financial planning, estate planning, business plans, management consulting, and advisory services.
About the staff
There are currently six full-time staff and one part-time staff who work year-round. “There is very little turnover with staff within our company,” says Rachael.
“We have on-the-job training students from the Holland College Accounting Technology program during the busier tax season, which runs from January to the end of June.”
- Senior Associate
- Senior Accountant
- Accounting Technician
- Administrative Assistant
Wages and benefits
“Wages depend on work experience,” says Rachael. “A recent accounting technician graduate could earn $13 to $15 an hour. A person with experience earns a higher standard wage.
“It can be a struggle for accounting firms to retain staff because some leave public practice for industries or government that can offer higher wages.
“Most accounting firms pay a salary but we pay by the hour. This provides our staff with flexibility. Also, we provide over-time during tax season.We retain staff by offering flexible working hours and health benefits.”
“When hiring, we stress practical experience more than education,” says Rachael. “For example, if an applicant does not have a university degree but has done bookkeeping for the last 10 or 15 years and people are satisfied with their work, that means a lot to us. A university degree will give you the theory but it won’t give you the practical experience.”
Rachael also says they are finding that with the increasing diversity of the Island, bilingualism in any second language is an asset.
“In-house training is continuous,” says Rachael. “Willingness to learn is very important to us.
”There are advancement opportunities for experienced accounting technicians to become senior technicians.”
“We don’t have strong hiring needs at the moment, but will as we grow,” says Rachael. “We accept resumés and hire as needed, especially during the busier tax season months.
“We look for people with practical experience and a willingness to learn and to work with our Island-wide clients to help them succeed.
“The most difficult positions to fill are for senior accountants with five-plus years of experience working in an accounting firm.
“The best way to get your foot in the door is through on-the-job-training,” says Rachael. “We will consider hiring student accounting technicians after they complete an on-the-job-training program.
“To stand out during the hiring process, people should highlight their work experiences,” says Rachael. “If they are fresh out of college or university and don’t have experience, we look at their class marks.
“We plan to continue growing the business Island-wide, which will result in new hires.”