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Benji Sucher – Bringing Financial Intelligence to AI

"According to PwC, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will drive GDP gains of $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. I was excited to join Layer 6 and immerse myself within this transformative technology that will change our personal and professional lives."

Benji Sucher is all about bringing his financial intelligence to the world of artificial intelligence.

His career started as a “fact finder” (a.k.a. auditor) at a public accounting firm, where he gained experience working with companies of many sizes across various industries, including manufacturing, retail, and automotive. After earning his CPA designation, and achieving fluency in financial statements, he joined a private equity firm where he leveraged his accounting background to screen new investment opportunities, while honing his analytical skills and business acumen. This also taught him about ingredients that make for successful companies: financial discipline, strong market dynamics, competitive strengths, a defensible brand, and great people. His interest in public company investing led him to Constellation Software, where he acquired, managed, and built vertical market software companies around the world.

In 2017, he joined Layer 6 AI, a Toronto-based company that develops industry-leading machine learning systems. Layer 6 uses artificial intelligence to foster economic growth and improve the lives of Canadians. At the time, Layer 6 was an up-and-coming independent startup and, as its Chief Operating Officer, Benji conducted everything from sales to customer and project management to raising and managing capital. Since TD acquired Layer 6 at the beginning of 2018, his COO responsibilities have shifted to managing AI projects within the bank, budgeting and planning within his division, and maintenance of corporate culture.

Benji has “always been open to new roles and opportunities while weighing risk vs. reward”, and his outcome-oriented approach is a key differentiator in a fast-paced, cutting-edge industry like artificial intelligence.

Benji Sucher on…

On using CPA training day-to-day

“I rely on my training as a CPA to do my job effectively, which includes (1) team work and understanding that the output of a team achieves more than any individual contributor; (2) delegating responsibilities and tasks and empowering people to own their successes (and failures); (3) financial analysis to evaluate ROI, prioritizing projects according to capital constraints; and (4) strong work ethic: dedication and commitment to complete any task, large or small, while leading by example.

Being outcome oriented motivates me to continually reac (and achieve) successful results while my strong desire to learn drives me to improve personally and professional each day.” 

 

On a CPA specializing in M&A

“My involvement in M&A (mergers and acquisitions) ranks high among the many fulfilling experiences I’ve had as a CPA. I have led financial due diligence engagements on behalf of both M&A buyers and sellers. I’ve acquired, integrated and grown various companies around the world, and have even been part of a company that was itself acquired.”

 

On the value of the CPA designation

“With the CPA designation, I’ve been given the opportunity to own my career. I’ve established the financial fluency I need to make calculated business decisions. It has introduced me to a variety of job opportunities and roles, and provided me with a skillset that is transferrable across a breadth of companies, industries, and countries.”

 

 

On getting his CPA passport stamped

“The CPA designation has been my passport into almost every continent. Over the course of my career, I have worked across North America, South America, Australia, Africa and Europe.”

 

On advice for those considering CPA

“The CPA designation provides you with valuable and dynamic training throughout your career. The early training received while obtaining the CPA designation provides you with a solid financial framework to help jump start your career. The ongoing professional development after obtaining your designation will help you grow and advance your career. National and provincial bodies will help facilitate your development, so take advantage of the resources available.”

 

On a CPA’s life outside work

“I’m happily married with 3 children. I enjoy travelling and experiencing the world, from white water rafting down the Nile to sky diving over the Swiss Alps and bungee jumping in New Zealand. I’ve also completed a half-marathon and stay fit by going to the gym, playing hockey, and trying to keep up with my kids.”