AICPA Certificates Wall of Fame: Ross Kelly

Ross Kelly

Ross Kelly, CPA, CMA, MBA

CFO, Saveria Transport Group (STG)
Edmonton, Alberta
COSO Internal Control Certificate


Ross’ life as a CFO

STG focuses on a number of industries, including retread manufacturing, commercial / retail tire sales and service, commercial real estate, aviation and outfitting, among others. My time is split equally between general management, financial management, and mergers and acquisitions.

I’m also looking at business opportunities, evaluating the businesses, and trying to figure out if they fit within our group of companies.

His motivation to earn the COSO Internal Control Certificate

My rationale and reason for earning the COSO Internal Control Certificate was very simple.

I needed to have a tool that was a gold standard and was widely accepted in industry, something I could incorporate in the businesses I currently look after.

The certificate helped to make sure that we standardize the controls and the focus of the business. We also use the tool on any potential acquisitions, so we understood what we were getting into as well as what the risks are.

It became a mode of due diligence, and I found the certificate very applicable for that step.

Thoughts on the learning experience

The sessions are intensive – and that’s a good thing. I found the instructors to be very experienced people who have added perspectives from their own careers.

So you not only get the value of the certificate and the details of the certificate, but you also get the value of an expert who has worked a number of years in that area.

The career-defining advantage of certificates

In today's competitive business market, people can no longer rely on simply having a designation or even a master's or a doctorate degree.

What you really need to do is have a toolkit of expertise. The way to achieve that in an evolving marketplace is to participate in AICPA's programs.

His advice to young professionals

Let’s say you are three to five years post qualification. If you’re looking at a senior management career, either within public accounting or industry, the only way you can differentiate yourself today is by acquiring a number of certificates.  

The COSO Internal Control Certificate is an ideal one to have on your resume.

I also emphasize the need to develop your soft skill side, which is very hard to do within a traditional accounting program.

I think the way you differentiate yourself in this day and age is to look at programs, such as the certificate programs offered by AICPA.

Try and plan for the next five to seven years of your career, and add in the key components through the certificate programs that will develop your soft skills.