As part of our Careers in Mining series, this post looks at the job of Senior Accountant with Andrew Malashewsky of JDS Energy and Mining Inc.
Andrew is a senior accountant with JDS Energy & Mining Inc., in Kelowna, B.C. After completing his Bachelor of Business Administration at the Okanagan School of Business he pursued his Chartered Accountant designation in public accounting. After time in Kelowna and Calgary he moved into private enterprise with JDS. Outside of work Andrew enjoys spending time outdoors, golfing, coaching and playing hockey. He is also involved in various capacities with several not for profit organizations.
What is your main role as senior accountant?
As a senior accountant with JDS Energy & Mining Inc., my responsibilities are varied. As one can imagine there is a significant accounting component, which involves the day to day accounting for the company. This can range from ensuring accurate invoices are distributed to clients, to making sure our vendors and staff are paid on time. What the title accountant might not give away is I also am responsible for ensuring the company is insured for its risk exposure, developing a corporate and reporting structure for expansion internationally and negotiating lease agreements.
What came first - a desire to go into mining, or the desire to become an accountant?
My journey into accounting in the mining industry started in University, where when working on my business degree I found I had an aptitude for finance and accounting. I decided to pursue my CA designation and articled with a firm in Kelowna, BC. My 7 years in public accounting exposed me to a broad range of companies and industries, where I found I enjoyed working with resources and large-scale construction companies. Leaving public accounting, the attrition to a company in the resources space was natural.
Is your job mostly office based or do you spend more time at mine/exploration sites?
I spend the majority of my time in the head office with occasional trips to our satellite offices. Part of my job entails managing project costs or project corporations, so the opportunity to spend some time on-site is there. JDS also provides project costing controls and economic evaluations, which again could mean more time on site.
Has your job allowed you to travel? If so, where to?
As an accountant I spend the majority of my time in the office. However, working in an industry and for a company in a global marketplace has allowed me to travel. I’ve spent time at our satellite offices in Canada, the US and Mexico. Working on projects around the world, there is the possibility for travel.
If you are away from home for extended periods, what makes you the type of person that can do this successfully?
I usually don’t spend time away from home for extended periods. However, I find staying plugged in with home and keeping on top of things, from a work standpoint, is essential to successfully spending time on the road.
What does your average day look like?
One of the things I enjoy most about my work is I really don’t have an average day. It varies depending on the time of the month or year and what’s happening with JDS. In saying that, I normally try to start my day by looking at the past day of financial activity and updating our financial position. From there, I generally deal with some project inquiries, assemble reports and work on a project of sorts from there. These projects range from assembling monthly financial statements, working with auditors and external accountants to setting up foreign entities and the administration which accompanies them.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been a few milestones in my career thus far; finishing the CA designation, promotion to management, leading a client through an international acquisition. However, I would have to say the highlight of my career is finding a growing entrepreneurial organization (JDS) where I can tap into my education and experiences where I am relied on to make decisions which affect the organization on a macro level. Finding this opportunity in the mining sector makes it really special with the global reach and the size of the projects we are working with.
What do you love most about your job?
I think this ties into the highlight of my career; the opportunity to apply my skills and abilities to a global industry is what I appreciate the most about my current position. The skills I bring to the table really allow me to feel like I am adding value, not only in accounting and finance, but to the company as a whole. From a personal perspective, the breadth of the industry provides the opportunity to learn more about an important market.
There must be aspects of the job that you don't enjoy so much. What are they?
Two aspects of my job that I could live without would be the compliance side of accounting and finance and the volatility of the mining sector. Review or audit compliance by external accountants gets a little dry sometimes. A key reason for leaving public accounting was to get away from historical financial information and focus on working with a company on forward looking results.
Volatility in the mining sector, from an accounting and finance means you need to focus more on clients and projects to make sure you get paid for the work you do compared to steady demand in a static environment. The cyclical nature can also tighten up liquidity in capital markets, making it more difficult for companies to get projects off the ground. In saying that, it also provides opportunities to pick up projects at a discount and forces companies to streamline operations to maximize efficiencies.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow a similar career path?
It sounds a little cliché, but make sure you pursue something you’re passionate about. I feel very lucky to have found a position where I get to do something I love for a company in a market with steady demand. Additionally, be willing to put the hard work in now for a return down the road; you will undoubtedly have to jump through a few hoops to get there, but when you do you appreciate it more. Lastly, think big picture, position yourself for success down the road - for me, I believe the mining sector is just that.
For more interviews with mining professionals in different jobs, have a look at our main Careers in Mining post.
Header photo: aerial seeding at Highland Valley Copper. Image courtesy of Teck Resources Ltd.