Career Profile: Accountant
If you have an interest in understanding how the business and financial worlds work, or are good at mathematics and detail oriented, then being an accountant might be a good career path.
Known as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in Canada, this career is in high demand across the country. Nearly all businesses, non-profits, and government organizations will need the services of an accountant at some point. Accountants keep track of finances, spending and payments, organize and run accounting systems or departments, handles taxes for individuals and corporations, and perform financial audits.
An accountants responsibilities include many detail-oriented tasks, such as data entry, maintaining financial transaction ledgers, organizing and updating financial files, performing audits, preparing tax returns, and communicating with banks. Depending on the size of the company or organization you work for, you can be responsible for all the accounting and financial tasks of the business, or you can be part of a team and only in charge of one type of task. You will also need to ensure best practices and compliance with national and provincial regulations, and create and communicate financial reports.
In order to work as an accountant in Canada, there are several educational and professional requirements. Number one is a degree in accounting, mathematics, finance or a related field from an accredited Canadian university. Next you will need to complete a professional CPA training program, including two years or 30 months of on-the-job training. Lastly, you will be required to register with your province’s Chartered Accountants regulatory body.
Most accountants will also specialize in a certain aspect of accounting, such as taxes, auditing, bankruptcy, or public accounting.
With a career as an accountant, you will have the opportunity to work in any industry, from healthcare to manufacturing to small business, so you will always be able to work in a field you are interested in and that you find meaningful. In some cases you will even have the opportunity to travel, as professionally trained CPAs have skills that are useful everywhere.
Since accountants are highly skilled professionals, they are able to earn a very comfortable salary in most positions and locations. Entry level and early career accountants’ starting wages begin around $18 per hour, and with experience and positions with more responsibility can reach $50 to $60 per hour. This makes for a yearly salary ranging from $45,000 to $90,000 on average, with some positions in specific private industries or government earning upwards of $100,000 per year.