Jan. 19, 2023Print | PDF
Professor Ling Chu is the latest faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics to be recognized by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario as a Fellow (FCPA). She joins colleagues Robert Mathieu and Allan Foerster who were recognized in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to Ling Chu for this exemplary distinction,” says Kalyani Menon, interim dean of the Lazaridis School. “This is a much-deserved recognition for her dedication to the accounting profession, and we are proud to have three faculty members recognized as Fellows, guiding our students and championing the quality of accounting education here at the Lazaridis School.”
Achieving an FCPA is the highest distinction accorded Ontario accounting professionals. Fewer than 1,600, or less than one per cent of the province’s nearly 100,000 practicing CPAs currently hold this title. Candidates are nominated by their peers, and selected based on their career and volunteer contributions to the accounting profession and their communities.
Chu was initially approached about being nominated by Foerster early in 2021. She was interested and began working with him on compiling a strong submission portfolio. In July of that year, she achieved another career milestone, that of promotion to full professor.
Although a busy working schedule necessitated putting the FCPA nomination process on hold for the rest of 2021, Foerster and Mathieu encouraged her to proceed. The required letters of support from former colleagues and students came in by the summer of 2022, allowing Chu and her colleagues to finalize the FCPA nomination application. “Allan (Foerster) was always encouraging me to submit the nomination package,” Chu said, recalling how he told her, ‘you have done a lot in your career—let's celebrate it!’
Selected FCPA candidates usually receive the news by early October. When half the month slipped by with no word, Chu assumed she hadn’t made the cut and was ready to move on. But then she received an unexpected voicemail from a CPA Ontario council member who is also a University of Waterloo professor.
At first, Chu didn’t suspect anything and simply returned the call out of professional courtesy. “We chatted about other things,” she explained, “and then he said the real reason he called was to tell me I'd been selected to be an FCPA along with 34 other (Ontario) nominees. It took me a while to comprehend how much of an honour it is to be recognized as an FCPA. This designation celebrates not only what you’ve accomplished, but what you’ve given back to the profession and the community.”
Chu’s journey to full professorship, and now to the status of an FCPA, has been both persevering and unique. After graduating from Montreal’s Concordia University, she worked at a Big 4 accounting firm as an auditor. But she soon realized that her passion lay in other areas as well. She made a career U-turn right back to school—this time to the University of Waterloo’s Master of Taxation program. It proved a much better fit for her talents and spirit of inquiry, leading to fulfilling public accounting positions, first with Arthur Anderson and then with Deloitte.
In 2003 Chu made another radical career change, into the challenging field of academia. She applied and was offered a lecturer’s position at Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. “My father and my grandfather were both engineering professors, and I always wanted to explore a career in academia too,” she said.
But like any farsighted professional, Chu had a backup plan. Her employers at Deloitte gave her a one-year leave of absence in order to explore this new career direction, a generous concession for which she has always been grateful. After one year on the Lazaridis faculty, however, Chu realized she needed more time to explore and develop her teaching and research skills and asked Deloitte for an additional two years of leave. To her surprise, they agreed. “I couldn't find any employer more supportive,” she emphasized.
During that formative time, life happened as well. Chu became mom to a second daughter and was about to challenge herself even further by enrolling in a PhD program. But then another opportunity arose.
“Laurier opened up a tenure-track position in accounting specializing in taxation,” she explained. “But instead of a PhD, they accepted a Master’s in taxation , since it is a very specialized field. I applied and (in 2006) was offered the position as an assistant professor in accounting.” Her career continued to ascend and in 2011, she was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor.
In her time as a Lazaridis faculty member, Chu has worked on numerous course developments, currently serving as the school’s Accounting Area Head, and member of the university’s Senate. She has given seminars and presentations across Canada, the U.S. and Europe, volunteered her expertise to help new Canadian entrepreneurs navigate our taxation system, and authored or co-authored dozens of papers published domestically and internationally in academic and professional journals including top tier journals. She also co-authored two white papers and one position paper. These are only a few of her career achievements.
She is also a multiple award recipient for her many contributions to taxation pedagogy and professional best practices, including the Glenn Carroll Teaching Fellowship and the prestigious KPMG Foundation Fellowship.
Chu continues to educate our next generation of accounting and tax professionals as a full professor and now as an FCPA. She noted that the recognition of herself, and colleagues Foerster and Mathieu by CPA Ontario, shows Laurier’s depth of experience and commitment to world-class accounting education.
It also shows the transformative power of individual and community support among fellow professionals in a demanding discipline. “To be in the company of colleagues like Robert and Allan, and all those who have mentored me throughout my career, is an inspiration,” Chu affirmed. “I can think of no better way to contribute back than by supporting others in the same way.”
And in the big picture, she added, “People in the accounting profession view the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics as a premier destination for aspiring Chartered Professional Accountants in Ontario and a strong supporter of the accounting profession through its excellent research and teaching. They've always regarded us highly. To have more FCPAs on our faculty consolidates that belief.”
When asked what will change after receiving her FCPA designation, Chu replied, “This is just another beginning…”
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