Making the switch: From science to clients 

By Michael Johnson

Analyst | Tax

University graduates often reach a crossroads where they must pursue an alternate career path than what they had originally planned. I understand for most accountants it’s what they’ve envisioned for years, but for me the path was much different and a bit more unclear.

At a crossroads

Although I come from a science background, I’ve always had a knack for numbers. Once I realized the life sciences was more of an interest rather than my future career, I began to think carefully about what I wanted to pursue. After discussions with friends and professors, I was able to make a well-informed decision. I decided that I wanted to be an accountant and find a way to use my unique background, which I hoped would be a valuable asset.

Making the switch

Jumping from science to accounting was interesting and took some getting used to, but in the end it was manageable. I knew I’d lack some knowledge relative to the other new hires at Deloitte since I just came out of a science program, so I made sure to network and see what opportunities were available for someone with my qualifications.

I was hired into the Tax group and quickly networked with colleagues from other provinces who specialize in Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) government incentives available for Canadian businesses. Roughly a month into my role and I had already worked on interesting SR&ED planning for clients and preparing technical, scientific reports to help more businesses around the country save money while they pursue important research and development projects. Pretty cool stuff for a guy that thought he might start out as a black sheep in the accounting world!

Finding your place

As a new hire at Deloitte, getting comfortable may take some time. However, one thing I’ve learned is that there are countless career opportunities for people of all disciplines. I was able to leverage my science background and apply it to a new career in accounting, which has helped me settle in comfortably.

My advice to other students who “make the switch” is to play to your strengths. Accounting is a vast world with seemingly endless streams of service, so you will almost certainly find a career that lets you hang on to your personal interests and the knowledge you gained as an undergrad to help you become a unique and valuable asset to Deloitte.

Michael graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Science, Honours Biology. He is currently a Tax Analyst at our Saint John’s practice.

Mike Johnson
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