It was after a long, hard summer day working with his dad on the family dairy farm that a young Paul Campeau (BMgt '04) first pondered the values that he would live his life by.
"I grew up with a good sense that hard work is required to achieve anything in life. I worked with my father and uncle and woke up at 4:30 in the morning to milk cows and then I would go work in the fields when I wasn't in school," says Campeau. "I remember going into the house for dinner late one day when my dad told me that although his job wasn't glamorous, he loved experiencing life every day, making his own decisions about what to do and how to best do it. That definitely affected my life. I tend to do things off the beaten path. I still work hard; I just do it my own way."
The co-owner and partner of the successful new accounting firm, Henderson Campeau Chartered Accountants LLP, also drew inspiration from his mother.
"My mom has always been supportive of everything I do," he says. "I watched her strength and love as she raised five kids. She enjoyed a beautiful life every day. I try to have a positive outlook and enjoy each day to its fullest too."
After high school, Campeau earned a business administration diploma from Red Deer College. Several years later, he applied to the University of Lethbridge Edmonton campus to complete his management degree with a focus on accounting.
"The University accepted my business diploma courses and offered the broad range of courses I was looking for. The practical, hands-on approach to teaching gave me the flexibility to be myself, express my ideas, participate in in-depth class discussions and have access to great professors, most of them industry professionals," says Campeau. "I believe that you learn so much from experience and the University's satellite campus had a great way of teaching that."
Campeau graduated in 2004 and began working on his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation while articling at Deloitte & Touche LLP in Edmonton. Two years later, with a CA designation under his belt, the lure of beautiful warm weather and a smaller firm had him jumping ship to Bermuda where he met his future wife, Carly.
"When I worked for Deloitte, I got a high level of education and experience but I always wanted to work for a smaller firm. The owners of the firm in Bermuda had a laid back attitude. They expected a lot but they also trusted that I would do what needed to be done," says Campeau.
Moving to Amsterdam with Carly in 2008, Campeau began working as a senior accountant for Align Technology. Living in the Netherlands further highlighted Campeau's desire to enjoy every moment of his life.
"In Amsterdam, your bike is your only source of transportation. They don't take things as seriously there as we do in North America. You learn that you can live a beautiful and uncomplicated life," says Campeau.
Spurred on by this same attitude, Campeau and his future business partner Will Henderson began laying the groundwork for an opportunity to control their own destinies; their accounting firm.
"When we were both students we joked a lot about starting our own firm. The timing was just right and everything just fell into place. We opened the doors in February 2010," explains Campeau.
Taking a different approach from more traditional accounting firms, Henderson Campeau is about high quality service in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. The TV in the lobby and couch in the boardroom are examples of this unique approach.
Campeau and Henderson are living life and succeeding on their own terms, balancing hard work, reliability, trust and excellent service with a passion for fun and a determination to savour every moment.
"We don't ever want to get too big for our britches that we forget to enjoy life. We want provide a high level of service for all of our clients. We want to make them comfortable and respond to their needs the same day. It is exciting to see our clients succeed, to know that you have added value to them and to the community," says Campeau. "Walking into work with your best friend, being able to trust each other, help each other out and watch TV over coffee is great. This isn't just a job, it is a lifestyle."
GET THE FACTS
· He still rides his bike – the one he had in Amsterdam – to work each day
· Campeau grew up in a French-speaking household and is fluently bilingual
· Henderson Campeau reached its projected three-year goals in the first year and a half of operation
· Campeau's firm is looking at creating co-op programs to mentor students
· Henderson Campeau (www.hendersoncampeau.com) was recently featured in the fall 2011 Spotlight magazine published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta
This story first appeared in the December 2011 issue of the Legend. If you'd like to see the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.