Cyndy Baerg, CGA
Crash test accountant
Accountant with Innovative Vehicle Testing
“We’re in the enviable position of not having competition anywhere in the world for the services we provide in the area of multi-axle commercial vehicle brake testing.”
It’ s true that CGAs see more than numbers. But Cyndy Baerg, CGA, sees more than most. A CGA with Innovative Vehicle
Testing (IVT), a Delta company that tests large commercial and industrial vehicles to ensure they meet national safety standards, Baerg oversees all the financial elements of the business. But
she’s also just as likely to be finding ways to streamline business processes or out on the track recording data.
IVT conducts research programs for its clients that include vehicle crash and rollover tests, brake testing 18-wheel oil service rigs, dynamic performance testing and ensuring that taxis modified for handicapped passengers meet safety standards. It’s a business that often requires its engineers to design and build specialized testing equipment, ultimately giving the company a unique niche in its market.
“We’re in the enviable position of not having competition anywhere in the world for the services we provide in the area of multi-axle commercial vehicle brake testing,” says Baerg. And while some engineering companies may provide comparable testing and research services in other areas, IVT distinguishes itself through its long-term relationships with clients and trusted reputation with government agencies.
IVT is also part-owner of the Hanna Test Centre in Alberta, which includes a nearly four-kilometre oval track specifically designed to test large industrial and commercial vehicles travelling at high speeds. Baerg was instrumental in developing a business plan for the facility, which is currently expanding to include a 2,400-square-foot shop, an off-road track and other training venues.
“What I most enjoy about my job is being involved in virtually every aspect of the business,” she says. In addition to her occasional duties as an assistant on vehicle tests, her primary role is what she laughingly refers to as being “the accountant who has to make sure the engineers make money.” Streamlining the proposal process and assisting with costing are two ways she keeps IVT on track financially.
Her CGA designation has been very beneficial, giving her a big-picture business perspective on the company. “The program itself combines the theoretical with the practical in a way that is quite different from the accounting education you find elsewhere. And the ongoing professional development requirements keep me up to date with a wide range of business, legal and accounting issues.”
Baerg came to the CGA program after completing a diploma in business management at Fraser Valley College in the late 1970s. While working at a credit union in Chilliwack (where she was hired to set up the audit function) she was encouraged by the controller to pursue the CGA designation. “My interest in accounting grew out of my interest in business,” she states. “I wanted to better understand how business worked.”
One of IVT’s two partners is Randy Baerg, Cyndy’s husband. Cyndy joined IVT in 1996 after the company she worked for moved its personnel department to Quebec, leaving her with a severance package and the need to find a new job. Working with her husband has meant a certain fluidity in the division between work and life, but it has also presented unique opportunities for professional collaboration and innovation.
Like many other businesses, IVT was affected by the economic downturn as oil service projects were put on hold and companies imported or manufactured fewer vehicles. But things are picking up, and there is continual demand for the highly specialized testing services IVT provides.
Baerg finds deep satisfaction in contributing her expertise as a CGA to the company. As she puts it, there’s a “definite feeling of accomplishment in helping to build something from the ground up.”