During busy tax time, Nicole Watson is there organizing in-office, lunch-time yoga and boot camps.

Watson, 36, one of the busiest at KPMG Kelowna because she’s a chartered professional accountant with a tax specialty, wants to make sure both herself and co-workers get some much-needed exercise to improve their health and well-being during stressful tax time.

Watson also plays indoor and outdoor soccer, is a mom of three, works tirelessly for her clients and still finds time to volunteer with groups as diverse as the Kelowna Estate Planning Society and the Glenmore Recreation After-School Care Program.

“As a young professional working mother, Nicole inspires us all to pursue our interests while maintaining the priority of family time,” said new KPMG accountant Jamie Schram, who nominated Watson for Top Forty Under 40.

“Her commitment of mentoring younger staff in the office is inspiring. And I list myself as one of those who have been inspired by her.”

Balance is the key, according to Watson.

“I work long hours by choice. I want to do my best for myself and my clients,” she said.

“KPMG is an understanding and supportive firm. It leaves it up to me how to figure out how to get the work done. That gives me the flexibility to volunteer at my kids’ school, be at school fairs and accompany the kids on field trips.”

Watson’s children are aged 11, eight and six.

They attend the Glenmore Recreation After-School Care Program, which is how Watson became the treasurer for the group.

Watson’s list of volunteering also includes work for Kelowna Estate Planning Society, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Kelowna General Hospital’s Giving for Giggles children's program.

At work, Watson considers herself accoun-sultant.

“For the most part, the math portion of accounting is done by calculators,” she said. “My clients want problem solving and tax-and-financial planning.”

Watson likes to work as part of a team made up of herself as the accountant, a financial planner and lawyer to help both personal and business clients.

“Most of my clients are small businesses, owned by individuals, so solutions are often one and the same to help both the business and the individual,” she said. “Tax planning isn’t just figuring out how to pay taxes efficiently, it’s also about business objectives, cash flow and estate planning.”

It was a high school teacher in Watson’s hometown of Kamloops, recognizing both her math and problem-solving skills, who recommended she consider becoming a chartered professional accountant.

After starting studies at Thompson Rivers University, she won a $1,000 KPMG scholarship.

Someone on the scholarship panel mentioned Simon Fraser University in Vancouver was a good school to get a business degree with with a specialty in finance and accounting.

So, off Watson went to earn the degree.

While she loved the school and the course, big-city life didn’t agree with her.

So she landed a job at KPMG in Kamloops, where she had worked as a co-op and summer student.

Within a year, a transfer to KPMG in Kelowna became available and Watson jumped at it.

“I’ll always remember when I moved to Kelowna because it was a day after the Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire started in 2003,” she said.

“I managed to find a room at the Capri Hotel when there was lots of demand for hotel rooms because of the evacuations. It was a devastating and disruptive time for Kelowna, but it also meant people talked to one another and helped one another. So, the city was actually very welcoming in that way.”

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