Accounting Careers Overview
Accounting careers involve the preparation and review of financial records. Accountants and auditors examine financial documents to ensure that they are accurate and that tax obligations are paid correctly and on time. Accounting professionals also work with organizations to make their financial operations more efficient. Duties of accountants and auditors might include:
- Checking financial records for accuracy and legal compliance
- Identifying ways to lower expenses, raise revenue and boost profits
- Tax planning and preparing tax returns
- Organizing and maintaining financial documents
- Reviewing books and bookkeeping systems for efficiency and best practices
- Specific accounting careers include accounting clerk, tax advisor and forensic accounting jobs.
Accounting Career Education
The most marketable credential in accounting is a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) designation. According to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, to become a CPA, candidates need specific education and work experience. Most accounting professionals obtain university degrees in business studies, although any discipline is acceptable.
The next step is to complete a student professional program that offers graduate-level courses to equip candidates with the requisite competencies for CPAs. Once your education is complete, you will gain work experience in a CA training office where experienced CPAs will supervise you. Finally, CPA candidates must pass the Uniform Evaluation (UFE) to obtain a license.
Remember that you can also find many careers in the accounting profession that do not require post-secondary education. For example, bookkeepers, accounting and auditing clerks only need a high school diploma and on-the-job training to qualify for positions.
Accounting Career Job Market
According to CPA Canada, there were approximately 70,000 CPAs in the country as of 2013. The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) estimates that auditors, accountants, and investment professionals as a whole total about 403,339 in Canada. Unemployment in this sector was 3.9 percent in 2012, which was substantially lower than the Canadian average of 7.2 percent. Because Canadians in accounting positions tend to be older than other workers, COPS predicts many retirements in the profession in the next decade. This will mean that job openings in the industry will slightly exceed the number of job seekers.
Accounting Career Salaries
CPA Canada reports that the median salary for CPAs in 2013 was C$105,000, and the mean salary was C$141,000. The highest-earning 25 percent of accountants made C$152,000, while the lowest-earning 25 percent made C$80,000. The highest-paying provinces for accounting jobs in Canada are Alberta (C$134,000 median salary), Ontario (C$108,000), and Saskatchewan (C$105,000). Accountants working in the oil and gas and holding/conglomerate business sectors have the highest median salaries of C$157,000 and C$150,000, respectively.