by Victoria Hinde
Each year, the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) recognizes and acknowledges our distinguished alumni for the positive impact they have made on the profession, the School and the community. The 2021 School of Accounting and Finance Alumni Achievement Award recipient is Benjie Thomas, who studied in the BA/Chartered Accountancy program and graduated in 1998.
“It’s a really special honour, and one I never thought that I would ultimately achieve or visualize even qualifying for. I’m so honoured to be recognized for this award.” – Benjie Thomas
Thomas’ career began in audit as a co-op student and upon graduation, his experiences in audit led him to the growing practice of “transaction services”. Today, Thomas is the Canadian Managing Partner for KPMG’s Advisory practice, responsible for the business' operations and growth. As a transaction services adviser, Benjie has over twenty years of experience assisting Canada’s most prominent private equity funds and strategic buyers. Benjie has advised on some of Canada's largest transactions with a consistent track record of providing sought-after advice and innovative solutions to create success.
Thomas reminisces about his time at the university with fond memories and highlights the lifelong relationships he established from his time being on campus. He is grateful for the support he received from the SAF alumni network, the professional and personal connections he’s made and leveraged stem from a foundation of shared experiences at the University of Waterloo and particularly the School of Accounting and Finance. This strong connection to the university has contributed to Thomas’ dedication and passion for giving back to his alma mater.
“By providing market based insights from our careers to the faculty, we’re able to collectively chart a relevant and impactful future for the School of Accounting and Finance allowing it to continue as a premier market leading institution.” – Benjie Thomas
The School is grateful for Thomas’ continued commitment and support. He describes his engagement and involvement with the university as starting small, focusing on giving his time as an early graduate to eventually making financial contributions as he became more established in his career. As a student, Thomas played for Waterloo’s varsity football team as a wide receiver. As a varsity athlete, Thomas acknowledges the tremendously positive impact it had on his university experience. These experiences led to Thomas establishing three scholarships for SAF students, with two scholarships specifically meant for students who play for a Waterloo varsity team.
PRO TIPS FOR ASPIRING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
“Align yourself with your values, understand what those values are and what drives you,” notes Thomas, to which for him, those values have always been tremendous work ethic, always do the right thing above all else and lastly, be generous with your time and your money. Thomas emphasizes the strength and advantage of a strong alumni network and encourages young alums to leverage the network and to continue to find ways to stay connected with one another.
“When you operate with low self-interest and always help others, it pays back much further down the road.” – Benjie Thomas
Benjie is the Canadian managing partner for KPMG’s advisory practice. Benjie is responsible for the firm’s advisory business, comprised of over 2,000 professionals across six geographies and three business units: deal advisory, management consulting and risk consulting.
As an adviser, Benjie has more than 20 years of experience assisting Canada’s most prominent private equity funds and strategic buyers. Benjie has advised on some of Canada's largest transactions, with a consistent track record of providing sought-after advice and innovative solutions to create success. With a history of building strong, trusted advisor relationships with clients, Benjie demonstrates a vibrant personal approach as a leader that inspires and engages people and teams.
As a University of Waterloo alum, Benjie is committed to programs and priority projects that are essential to the School’s mission and success. Benjie established an endowment fund that annually provides three scholarships to students in the School of Accounting and Finance.