Grads in the News: Sylvie Gewehr

Sylvie Gewehr from Haines Junction, Yukon, is pursuing her DFA – Tax Services Specialist designation in her transition from bookkeeping to offering tax filing services. She shares how she started her educational journey with Knowledge Bureau, and her unique story about how the online self-study structure made it possible while living in a remote location.

“At first it was just about learning how to prepare tax returns, and having heard about the Knowledge Bureau before, made me decide that it was a good place to start. Very quickly, through my first course trial, I realized that I was going to learn a lot here, and not just theory, but practical knowledge to use and apply every day in my business.”

She said it was a natural career progression, with her bookkeeping background, to move into the tax filing professional realm: “Whenever I was telling people around me about my small bookkeeping business, they would ask if I was also offering tax preparation services. After answering ’No’ a number of times, I realized that this was something I should consider doing. I searched online for tax preparation courses and very quickly came across the Knowledge Bureau website. I had heard about the Knowledge Bureau before and had read one of Evelyn Jacks’ books, and decided to sign up for a course trial. It did not take very long after that for me to sign up for the full course and then to decide to work towards a designation.”
She pointed out the challenges in the transition, and how she’s benefiting from them: “When I started with my first tax preparation course, I think I found the vocabulary the most challenging. It was all new, and then there were all these new concepts I needed to grasp as well. But you know what? It turned out to be just right: it was challenging, but I needed that challenge to learn and grow in this field that was completely new to me.”

Sylvie responded to a number of questions about her educational path at Knowledge Bureau:
Did anything surprise you in the courses?

“I was very surprised at how applicable the course contents are. I have taken other online courses before, and though they were interesting, it was mostly just theory and I then had to figure out how this theory could be applied to my work. The Knowledge Bureau courses are a perfectly balanced combination of theory and practical knowledge.”
How did you feel when taking the courses?

“For the most part, I was having fun! All the knowledge I was acquiring, the practical exercises, the challenges of case studies and quizzes, and then the excitement when I received my mark. It felt just like being back in university again.”

What did your family think about the amount of time spent?

“I live far away from my family, so they do not even know how much time I spend studying. However, they are very happy that I do not have to drive to take my courses any more (the nearest continuing education facility is 160 km. away from my home).”
 Were you happy with the outcomes?

“Yes, absolutely. The courses I took made me feel confident about being able to offer good tax preparation services to my clients and I am a better bookkeeper now, too.”

What are your future goals?

“My goal for now is to obtain the DFA - Tax Services Specialist designation, then the DFA - Bookkeeping Services Specialist designation; and the MFA - Business Services Specialist designation interests me too. I live in a remote community, and acquiring these designations, and the knowledge that comes with them, will allow me to offer my clients the services they need, right here, where they work and live.”
What is the glimpse of wisdom you can share with our readers?

“From my experience, the Knowledge Bureau courses are the closest you can get with online courses that prepare you for your real life business challenges. At first I was afraid that some of the courses might be redundant or that they would not necessarily be as useful to me as I hoped, but I ended up realizing that the programs are very well built to meet the student’s learning needs. I have come to trust that the Knowledge Bureau courses and programs will give me the knowledge and skills I need to further my career and grow my business.”

Additional educational resources: Start your own journey by taking a free trial of a certificate course – you’ll earn 2 CE/CPD credits upon completion!


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