Amanda Burns, SunRype
Amanda Burns views accounting as a way to make sound business decisions
As a youth, Amanda Burns imagined that one day she would break into the business world and attain a position of influence, formulating strategies that would propel her colleagues to greater levels of success.
Burns, now 40, is living that dream as the CFO and vice president of finance for SunRype, which she joined six years ago. “It’s wonderful to work for such a well-known brand, and one of my favourite duties is to participate in the company’s innovation sessions, in which potential new products are identified, assessed and sometimes taken
to market,” she says.
When asked how she got her foot in the door of the business world, Burns unhesitatingly replies: “Being influential, or making a difference, was important to me, and I quickly determined that becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant was the best way to reach that goal because it would give me the strong business skills required to make good business decisions.”
Burns elaborates: “As a CPA, you become intimately acquainted with the fundamentals of any business. You see where investments are made and why, and you learn the strengths and weaknesses of the business at a forensic level, allowing you to facilitate strategic decisions, forecast trends and help move the business forward.”
In 2012, Burns and her husband moved to B.C., and soon after, employment at SunRype—and life in sunny Kelowna—beckoned. “SunRype had a vacancy to fill and, after meeting with its team, I felt like it would be a great fit based on the culture and products,” she recalls.
At SunRype, Burns’ accounting skills are inextricably linked with the creative disciplines that inform the beverage and snack manufacturer’s product development. “During the innovation sessions we brainstorm on how to put our manufacturing facilities to best use to deliver on-trend innovation, and when a new product is considered I assess its cost versus profitability and other financial elements,” she says.
Burns also credits being proactive in adapting to change for her career trajectory. “I’m responsible for IT at SunRype, and the fact that tech evolves so quickly demands that you’re proactive in making the most of all the tools at your disposal,” she says. “At SunRype, this translates into me taking all incoming information from retailers, promotions, and other sources, and using different methods to tell a story about this information—thus disseminating it effectively to our sales and marketing teams.”
Perhaps most satisfyingly, Burns has never once in her career been thought of strictly as an accountant. “Maybe it’s because companies like SunRype have such a dynamic mix of professionals who aren’t inclined to view a person’s skills so narrowly,” she says, laughing. “Whatever the case, I’m grateful to be thought of as someone who provides solutions.”
with Chartered Professional Accountants