Yuki Fukushima, PCP
Finance & Administration Officer, Inclusion Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, NT
Looking for a fun adventure, Yuki Fukushima came to Canada in 2006 from Japan. Taking a short break from her career as a computer programmer, she planned to stay for just one year. Over 15 years later, she proudly calls Yellowknife, Northwest Territories home.
People often ask why she would choose to live so far north, “in such a cold climate,” but she loves it. While she admits the winters get cold, she says the summers are especially beautiful.
Initially, she began working in the tourism industry seeking out the Aurora Borealis – otherwise known as the Northern Lights. But before long, with a baby on the way, she knew she had to find a job that had more regular daytime hours.
She found that job working for a supermarket helping with their bookkeeping, little by little taking on more responsibility for the finances. She later transitioned to a role handling all aspects of the finances for an art gallery. As this was a small business, she found there she was responsible for everything – including payroll.
She learned payroll on the job, taught by her predecessor, but once she got comfortable in her work she started to uncover what she believed to be errors. However, she wasn’t totally sure, and didn’t really know how to go about fixing them. As the now only payroll professional, she didn’t have anyone to help or to show her how it should be done.
This was all during the pandemic — so, Yuki had some spare time. She decided to enroll with the National Payroll Institute and began working towards her PCP designation, which she completed in 2022.
“It was so nice,” she says. “My questions became answers, and I was able to learn so much. Because of that, I was able to fix some of the errors my organization was making. Eventually I got a call from Service Canada that I needed to handle and, while I was nervous at first, I was able to understand why they were calling and work through it with them.”
Now Yuki is working as the Finance & Administration Officer for Inclusion Northwest Territories, a non-profit organization that supports people with intellectual and other disabilities and their families.
The volume of payroll processed is much greater than she’s experienced in her past roles, but she’s enjoying it. Especially since she now works closely with her manager, Akiko Shimada, who has taught her so much.
Yuki really loves the precision of payroll – getting things perfect, down to the cent. Knowing she’s checked all the boxes and has everything in proper order gives her a great sense of satisfaction.
In the future she sees technology helping to make the lives of payroll professionals a little easier, and while she recognizes that some people may think that will take away payroll jobs, having worked as a computer programmer, she doesn’t agree.
“You’ll always need a person there,” she says. “When employees have questions or problems, they are going to want to talk to a real person. That isn’t going to change.”
In her spare time, Yuki and her two children have been working away at a garden plot they’ve rented. She enjoys teaching them how to take care of the land — from seeding, to harvesting their crops and using them in the kitchen. Despite the slightly cooler weather in Yellowknife, they’ve had success growing potatoes, carrots and beans so far. Never forgetting how far she has come, on weekends, she sometimes lets her kids stay up late and they’ll drive out to catch the Northern Lights, together as a family.