"It was challenging, and I still can’t believe I did it. I’m so grateful that I could pursue my education; it came through for my family and me during tough financial times. I want the women out there to know that if they are resilient, they can achieve anything."- Kal Grewal, Founder of Realtime CPA Inc.
After working for almost two decades in the finance department of some of the largest enterprises in Canada, Kal Grewal realized that she doesn’t need to work for other brands – that she possesses the knowledge to be a brand herself, a name to reckon with in the accounting industry in Canada.
Daughter of immigrant parents who came from Daulatpur, Punjab, India, in the 1970s and made Nanaimo, BC, their home – Kal built her career from the ground up through sheer resilience and hard work. While growing up, the odds were not in her favour. For instance, she could not attend a university outside of Nanaimo as her parents weren’t comfortable sending her to another city which restricted her study options to what was available at the local college. Moreover, as a woman, she was expected to prioritize marriage over her career. Fortunately for her, at 21, she married a man who supported her ambitions.
Determined to succeed, she enrolled in the CGA program and started juggling a full-time job, school, and a newly married life, along with becoming a mom to her first son at 23. “It was challenging, and I still can’t believe I did it. I’m so grateful that I could pursue my education; it came through for my family and me during tough financial times. I want the women out there to know that if they are resilient, they can achieve anything,” she says.
By the time Kal completed her certification, she had already worked with companies like Jim Pattison, Teck, and Saputo. She ran her husband’s business for the next few years and joined Intrawest in 2006. She grew from Assistant Controller to the Director of Finance and even started teaching Accounting at the Vancouver Community College. Her next challenge was Boston Pizza, where she led IT project that focused on cloud based paperless workflows.
Here, she had an epiphany – she realized she could leverage her vast, progressive experience with large enterprises to create full-service, cloud-based accounting firm for small to medium sized businesses. She understood that AI technology created a level playing field for SMEs to get real-time reporting without investing substantial capital into the financial reporting infrastructure.
In 2018, Kal started her venture, Realtime CPA, intending to provide full accounting support and business advisory to small and medium businesses. From a girl who started with zero connections in the industry, Kal today has represented clients such as Glowbal Restaurant Group, Nuba and Riversol Skincare. She empowers businesses by offering fixed-value pricing that includes advisory, financials, tax, back-office support, and more. Soon, she aspires to lead workshops and seminars to help individuals learn accounting basics, including bookkeeping and setting up cloud-based accounting systems.