Meet Todd Zeng, CPA, CGA
Why I Do What I Do
I grew up in China in a Doctors' family. Both of my parents were doctors and worked in the same hospital. Our family lived in the dormitory provided by the hospital. When I was 3 years old, I was very sick. Fortunately, my home was close enough to the emergency room and I was saved by a doctor, my father's colleague. When I was in grade 4 in 1972, I was sent by my parents to a school 15 km away from home because this was the school where students could learn full time in the classroom (in 1972, most students in China only have half of their studying time to study in the class rooms). In this school, I not only studied, I also had chance to perform on the stage. This was the first time in my life that I played a role on the stage in the front of so many students and teachers.
In 1974, I moved to the village middle school closed to my home. This was the year that the movement against teachers in the schools were all over the China. In this village school, we studied half day in the classroom and half the day we worked in the field learning how to do the farming work. I was almost the smallest kid in the class. It was very hard for me to do the farming work at the beginning. I told myself that I could work as well as these big kids. Eventually, I was able to handle all the tasks assigned to me. This is why I am not afraid of a challenge and learning new things in my life.
In 1976, I was accepted by the high school in the town with the help of my parents' friend. The school needed some students who had good dancing skills and I was one of them. When I compared the study book used by the village middle school and town middle school, I noticed there were huge content gaps between the two school systems. The village middle school was a two-year term school and the town middle school was a three-year term school. I didn’t learn enough in the village school! I decided to catch up through self-study. I spent the whole summer vacation studying the books used by the town middle school students. This is why I have strong self-study skills today.
The year 1977 was a remarkable year for all Chinese students. In this year, all Chinese people had chances to go to universities by taking the national university entrance examination. I was selected by the high school to attend this first exam. After this year, the whole education system was changed in this county. All the best students in different high schools got together in a new high school and received seven months of intensive training and education. I finally received good marks and it opened the door to the University.
To my surprise, I was accepted by a university I never applied to. This university was 4,000 km away from my home and the name of the major with a scary word: "nuclear". In those years, nuclear was a secret to the majority of Chinese people. Believe or not, only fewer university candidates can pass the background check to be selected by this university for this major. Unfortunately, I was one of these kids selected and we couldn’t say no. I celebrated my 16th birthday in the University.
The four years of study went by quickly and I graduated in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in engineering. I was then sent to a shipyard to be an instructor and taught physics and mathematics in the classroom to workers who didn't get enough education during middle school. This job and this shipyard had nothing to do with "nuclear". I decided to go back university and continue my study.
In 1985, I passed the national postgraduate entrance examination and went back the same university. The name of my major this time has an even scarier word: "reactor". Without surprise, I graduated and obtained my Master of Engineering Degree in 1988. I found a job in the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station and then received two years full time training in English in order to understand the operation of the nuclear power station. After completion of the training, I was sent to France to receive the on-the-job training in the EDF's nuclear power stations.
I was appointed as a Reactor Engineer after I came back from France. I met my lovely wife and got married in the middle of 1992. Starting in 1996, I was trained to be the Licensed Reactor Operator. I got my license 1.5 year later. I was selected by the company and sent to the Koberg Nuclear Power Station managed by Eskom in Cape Town, South Africa to be trained as a Simulator Instructor.
In 2000, I was licensed as a Senior Reactor Operator. At the end of this year, I became a student of the Certified General Accountant (CGA).
In 2004, I got my first accounting job with Best Buy Canada. It was so amazing to start a brand new career. In 2005, I got my first job in a accounting firm. I left this accounting firm and opened my practice in 2008.
When I look back, I find that I haven’t had one year where I didn't learn something new. Studying and learning have become part of my life. I keep asking myself: why do I love studying and learning new stuff? The answer is I want help others.
In my life, I have received so much help from different people and organizations. Without a doctor's help when I was 3 years old, I wouldn’t be here today. Without other people’s help, I wouldn't be able to move from a village middle school to a town high school. Without the support from the company in China, I wouldn’t be able to receive so much training without paying penny from my pocket. Now it is the time for me to help others.
As a professional accountant, the best way to help others is to assist them in overcoming the financial difficulties they meet daily. This is WHY I do what I do. I want to help others find financial freedom and become worry-free about their tax and accounting issues. I have been able to take my life experience and professional knowledge and turn it into something amazing and successful. It motivates me to assist others in finding success and happiness.