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BComm Spotlight

Accounting major Fidelia De Souza on being inspired and finding her path at Asper

March 8, 2024 — 

Fidelia De Souza has always known that a CPA designation is her dream destination, and she’s started on a number of paths to getting there, always applying a more exploratory than prescriptive approach, but guided by a true passion for the practice of accounting.

Where did your passion for accounting come from?

“I think it comes from my parents. When my mom was back home in Ghana, she worked in business HR for companies like Deloitte and EY. I remember being a kid looking at financial statements in my dad’s office and my mom explaining what revenue is. I would play and pretend that I had a revenue and expenses, and all that.

“I have nephews and nieces, and I always try to engage with them the way my parents engaged with me, responding to their curiosity and expressing interest in what they are doing. My parents were obviously instrumental in exposing me to that kind of learning environment and building that passion for me.”

For De Souza, accounting is about more than numbers, and the profession offers opportunities to connect, not just within her own family, but with clients, colleagues and partners. While she first had her sights set on Big 4 firms, she has recently discovered an interest in small- to -mid-sized organizations, seeing the value of more autonomy and relationship-building early in her career.

She’s gaining good practice at Asper and UM, joining a variety of student groups including the Commerce Students’ Association (CSA), the Asper School of Business Accounting Association (ASBAA), the Black Student Empowerment Society (BSES) and the Ghana Students’ Union of Manitoba (GSUM).

What inspired you to get involved in Asper and UM life?

“I completed my first year at UM in the Faculty of Arts before switching into Asper for my second year. I’ve always known the value of getting involved and community-based initiatives, but it can be intimidating. Even though there were opportunities to get involved, I couldn’t find that motivation in my first year.

“Once I switched into Asper, it just felt easier. I had friends and cousins at Asper encouraging me to get involved, so I finally went for it and joined ASBAA. Then a CSA opportunity came up, and I went for that. With every new opportunity I tried, I became more confident the next time one came up.

“Seeing other business students get involved and take initiative made it feel more possible for me.”

De Souza acknowledges that it can seem like Asper students are doing it all, but she doesn’t feel the need to compare herself and her goals to other students and their goals.

“There are so many different opportunities at Asper that there is something for everyone. Maybe you struggle with one type of knowledge, but you might be really skilled in a different type. You can apply yourself in your own way and still get where you need to go.

“At Asper, there are different ways to succeed and celebrate that success (like the Business Banquet or The Commerce Week). Those moments to celebrate remind us that we are actually doing alright. There might be paths that you’re not comfortable with or good at yet, but it is another path that will help you get exactly what you want.

“Asper is inspiring because you see all the different ways people can succeed by pursuing what they want.”

De Souza’s path to and through Asper has been unconventional, as she opted not to take her Direct Entry offer to complete a year of Arts first (“I’m glad my application was successful although it was harder to get in that way,” she admits). But, while she observes the many ways that students can find and start building success at Asper, she has realized that unconventional journeys are not so out of place.

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