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Reflection on Work Placement Experience


Subject Business Pages 12 Style APA



The modern workplace is continuously evolving in a number of ways. According to bbb, businesses are consistently looking for new ways to add value, improve quality, optimize the customer experience, and maximize profits. As a result, they are investing in new processes and also improving their staff in an attempt to either create an uncontested ground known as a blue ocean or create sustainable competitive advantages. Firms that manage to reach either of the two levels are considered successful since they are more competitive and make more profit margins above the industry average. In my quest to be part of this corporate system that is competitive and differentiated, I managed to get a work placement opportunity with a company that I admired. CPA Brampton took me as an intern for several months. The experience was enriching and part of a learning process that has shaped my understanding of the workplace. This essay therefore presents my personal reflection and experiences during my work placement at CPA Brampton. The reflection is seconded by management methods, models, and theories, as well as personal recommendations on how the organization could improve its operations across different departments to optimize its productivity and profitability.

Organization Background

                CPA Brampton Harkirat Khangura, commonly referred to as CPA Brampton is a professional firm specialized in offering a wide variety of bookkeeping and accounting services to small and medium-sized (SME) enterprises or companies. The company acknowledges that the SME sector requires proper bookkeeping services and thus, tailor makes its products and services to meet each of the needs of these upcoming enterprises. The founder of CPA Brampton recognized the need to explore this market gap after realizing that the big accounting firms only focused on large multinational firms while ignoring the SME sector. Besides, this sector has reported intensive growth over the past decade. For instance, Canada has more than 1.1 million small and medium enterprises. These firms are characterized with their small scope of operations where 55% of the firms have less than 4 employees. The Canadian government has been supportive of this sector since it provides innovative solutions to societal problems. In addition, the government understands that this is sector that employs many youths and nurtures their skills in anticipation for a more competitive work environment.

CPA Brampton is therefore strategically positioned to offer the much-needed accounting and bookkeeping services to these firms. In particular, the company has been in operation for slightly more than seven years. It operates as a small company with three full time employees and two-part timers who work remotely and offer back-up whenever the company needs urgent staffing. These employees are led by one manager who is knowledgeable on all the company’s processes. Because of the small size of CPA Brampton, each of the employees was specialized in different area thus representing the departments, but collectively, they had common skills that made them adapted to performing any function, in case one of them was not present. Assuming that CPA Brampton grew overnight, then these employees would merit as the department heads for the units.

I worked with the company as an intern therefore, got an opportunity to interact with the various departments, understand the firm’s organization structure, appreciate its use of technology in supporting the delivery of accounting services, and at times, admire their commitment to automating repetitive processes so as to create lean processes that were less costly to the firm. As an intern, my main work was to prepare the QuickBooks, however, I also provided accounting services and helped with the provision of different financial services. According to bbb, QuickBooks refer to an accounting package or software geared towards SMEs to offer on-premise bookkeeping and accounting applications in addition to cloud supported services that enable management of payroll functions, remittance of payments, and management of pay bills. Given the small size of CPA Brampton it did not have dedicated departments, however, its organization structure allowed for a lot of flexibility. For instance, the employees are not specialized in one task as with the large organizations, rather, they possess multiple skills to enable them work on different projects or activities depending on the prevailing customer needs.

Personally, I had majored in accounting and QuickBooks thus focus was limited to these areas that I had perfected, but with time, I managed to learn through apprenticeship and could help whenever it was possible. Through this help, I contributed towards the realization of CPA Brampton’s mission and vision statement. According to the management, the organization has the mission of helping SMEs in their accounting and book keeping practices, while also helping them improve the management of their businesses thus enabling them avoid the headache of filing tax returns, uncovering fraud, and lessening the stresses involved in managing a business. The manta that we applied at CPA Brampton was to encourage the business owners to relax as we helped them prepare for their future bookkeeping and accounting needs.

Regarding the nature of the accounting industry of which CPA Brampton was part, it was described as very competitive. An evaluation of the industry using Porters five forces model showed that the threat of new entrants was high. The industry has over the past five years attracted many new entrants since many graduates are taking up accounting courses and opting to employ themselves. This trend has led to fragmentation of the industry with many accounting firms emerging each year. The only advantage enjoyed by CPA Brampton’s, that has managed to keep it ahead of the competition is its reputation, build over the past seven years. Additionally, the industry is saturated, yet, some of the new entrants have diversified into providing specialized accounting and financial services such as consultancy, financial management, investment management, and tax management among others. This is unlike CPA Brampton which provides a range of services. These strategies have made it survive the saturated accounting industry in Canada.

Besides, the firm provides superior services to its customers. As evident in the firm’s success story, it is the current market leader in the provision of accounting and book keeping services in Canada. It has attained this position by combining experience, energy, and expertise. As a result, each of the company’s clients receives professional and personal attention. The company also uses technologies such as customer relationship management systems to maintain a close relationship with the customers thus thriving on feedback, and constant interaction with its growing pool of customers. The only challenge is that as CPA Brampton attracts more new customers, it risks reaching its optimum capacity which might force the management to expand the company. The outcome of such initiatives is usually unpredictable since a firm can sustain its success or lose customers after it expands its operations. However, the risk of losing customers is always high since aggressive growth often makes the firm to lose its focus on providing up-close services to its customers like it initially did.

Assessing Value Based Management at CPA Brampton and the Accounting Services Industry

At the time when I joined CAP Brampton, the Canadian accounting services industry was facing similar challenges. CPA Brampton was not an exception, in fact it was among the main victims facing challenges ranging from the constant tax reforms by the government, the automation dilemma, the question on whether to hire specialized or diversified employees, and the high cyber security risks arising from the continued transition of SMEs to automated and cloud-based accounting systems. These issues are addressed in detail by Conrad (2019) who explores the intensity and their potential impact on the small accounting service providers in Canada. In fact, the article cautions businesses against ignoring any of the four issues he discussed. At the time when I accessed and read the article, I relatively new at my placement. I was hardly three weeks old but, during the time I had been there, I had interacted with the employees and observed the challenges that haunted CPA Brampton. Therefore, as I read the article, I constantly envisioned how they could be plaguing my place of placement.

                The first issue discussed by Conrad (2019) related to the possibility of tax reforms through the tax cut and jobs act. It was anticipated that the reforms would affect small and large organizations operating in the country. Some of the takeaways was that the businesses would have to adjust their entertainment expenses since they could no longer be treated as deductibles. Exceptions were only made where the employer provided business-related meals. The second factor to consider in the new tax reforms was that the firms would have bonus depressions allowing the businesses to reduce 100% of their depression on business assets namely equipment, computers, and vehicles right away for the coming three years until 2022. Third, the reforms would require small businesses with annual revenues less than $25 million to be eligible to using the cash methods of accounting. Initially, this law was capped to small firms earning below $5 million of revenue. This means the government had expanded its net to ensure more firms used cash method of accounting. This method is simpler and less costly compared to accrual accounting. Conrad (2019) recommends that small firms such as CPA Brampton use accounting software to ease switching and adherence to these new tax reforms by the government.

                The second problem highlighted by Conrad (2019) that also touched on CPA Brampton is the need for automation and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as opposed to the traditional accounting practices. I quickly noted that CPA Brampton was a forward-looking firm and had already embraced these technologies thus reducing the need for more employees. Likewise, the business was already using technologies to ease the handling of complex accounting duties such as compiling data from transactions and generating tax returns, and financial statements for its clients. In most cases, the work of the human labour was to double-check the figures produced by the automated systems. The third challenge that I identified, but was being addressed was the need for CPA Brampton to employ people with diversified skills. The technological advancements in the industry had reduced the need for the traditional rule-based accounting skills, and instead, demanded employees who could easily switch between different tasks. The last problem identified by Conrad was the mounting risk of exposure to cyber security, espionage, and data theft. The author noted that securing an organization against cyber threats was expensive. For instance, more than $124 billion was spent globally on reinforcing information security in 2019. This risk affected firms with accounting information such as passwords, bank account numbers, and credit card information. These data are valuable to hackers.

                After collecting and documenting these issues, I prepared a SWOT analysis, PEST analysis, and risk analysis which I presented to the management at CPA Brampton. I presented the document to the management and we reviewed it together. The manager was impressed by my abilities to document these challenges but challenged me to identify how best the firm could safeguard itself against the threats, weaknesses, and all the unfavorable factors in the external environment as presented using the PEST analytical framework. The manager also wanted a risk assessment for the risks I had identified such as cyber security risks. I did more research and presented the updated document to his desk in a week. The firm begun implementing the proposals I had made on the best way to maneuver the challenges. The manager also sought the services of consultants to approve the recommendations before adopting the recommendations. In particular, I was amazed to see the management introduce new cyber security measures that I had proposed such as restricting access and use of the company’s network. The management created a new system architecture that safeguarded the main internet system serving the firm. It then installed firewalls to ensure that the system is impenetrable from the outsiders. Secondly, the company purchased more space cloud to store back up information thus, achieving greater security of its client’s data.


Despite having three full time employees, one manager, two part time workers, and an intern, CPA Brampton was meticulous in its management of diversity. As I worked with these employees, I noted that each of the each one of them had a different ancestry or country of origin. There was an Indian in charge of IT and automated accounting, an American in charge of human resource, and the accountant was of African American descent. The manager was a Canadian but his maternal grandparents were Latinos. Another key observation is that the employees had cognitive diversity. This point refers to the differences in characteristics such as experiences, perspectives, and expertise. This level of diversity presented opportunities and challenges.

                Whereas the cognitive diversity paradigm argues that diversity benefits organizations, the similarity-attraction paradigm notes that diversity could have negative outcomes. Research by Hofstede as evident with the Hofstede cultural dimensions evidences that citizens from different countries have varied cultural beliefs which might impact their willingness to work in teams. In particular, Hofstede argues that employees from countries with low power distance are egalitarian while those from countries with high power distance accept hierarchies. Regarding individualism versus collectivists, the employees from individualist cultures tended to be more focused on themselves, while those from collectivist cultures preferred team work. Employees from countries with low uncertainty avoidance indexes were more comfortable with uncertainty, while those form high uncertainty avoidance index were uncomfortable with uncertainty. Regarding masculinity and femininity, employees from countries with high masculinity valued power while those form the high femininity are nurturing. The employees from countries with short term orientation adhered to traditional while those from countries with long-term orientation were futuristic. The last element discussed by Hofstede relates to indulgence and restraint. Those employees from indulgent cultures valued satisfaction while those from the restraint cultures preferred normative repression. These sentiments are seconded by the similarity-attraction paradigm which argues that people are most likely to collude or algin with those that they perceive to have a similar origin or cultural believes.

  • Diversity in your workplace
  • Ethical dilemmas in your workplace
  • The phenomena of Leadership in your place
  • Analysis of risks your organization must deal with
  • Information Technology at your workplace
  • Human resource challenges at your workplace
  • An analysis of the marketing strategies your organization was deploying
  • The role of negotiation in your workplace
  • Accounting systems in your workplace




  • Small company (3-5 employees)
  • Offers Accounting services
  • Was an intern (role)

More information about the company here https://www.cpabrampton.com/


Also, the main work we did was on a program called Quickbooks, this is very important to mention and we also did other small accounting work. Just contact me for more information if needed.





Description and Context of Placement (out of 35)

–          Key facts about the organization

–          Student’s role within the organization

–          Account of organization’s industry and main competitors

[5-7 pages]



Conclusion (out of 5)

–          What are the overriding insights gained from the placement?

–          Any recommendations for the organization with respect to the problem/issue analyzed?


[1 page]



Conclusion (out of 5)

–          What are the overriding insights gained from the placement?

–          Any recommendations for the organization with respect to the problem/issue analyzed?


[1 page]



Grammar/Style (out of 10)

–          Are grammatical errors avoided?

–          Is the writing clear?

–          Does the writing flow?

–          Are all sources there and properly cited



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