Accountants and financial auditors organize, review and manage financial records and transactions for companies and people. They make sure that information is accurate and meets established accounting standards. This group includes articling students in accounting firms.
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a chartered professional accountant is like.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 11,160
In general, accountants and financial auditors are responsible for a variety of financial, tax and business-related work. This could be for a company or if the person works for an accounting firm, it could be for several client companies.
Financial auditors doing assurance work may:
Accountants and financial auditors can work for small, medium or large organizations in the private or public sectors. They can work for auditing or accounting firms, for a company or they can be self-employed as consultants.
Government and larger businesses may hire their own full-time accountants and have fully staffed accounting departments. Smaller businesses may contract an accountant—either one who is self-employed or through an accounting firm—for shorter terms or specific projects.
Compared to other jobs, this group has a higher-than-average number of self-employed workers. Demand for accountants and financial auditors may rise and fall with the economy. However, this profession tends to be protected from short-term recessions because accounting is an area that most businesses must continue to do as a part of their operations.
Source: 2016 Census
To qualify for the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, those in this career must hold a bachelor’s degree in any subject from a Canadian or international university. In addition, there are requirements to pass specific examinations as well as having completed practical accounting experience.
If a person’s undergraduate degree doesn’t include everything needed by the Charted Professional Accountant Professional Education Program (known as CPA PEP), they can complete them at any post-secondary institution or through the CPA profession by taking its preparatory courses (known as PREP). If the person has the education needed, they can apply for entry into the CPA PEP which is offered directly through the CPA. The CPA PEP is made up of six accounting subject areas and can be completed in 24 months of part-time study. Once the CPA PEP is completed, the next step is to take the nationally administered Common Final Examination (CFE).
To earn the CPA designation while working on completing the academic requirements, the person will also have to do a minimum of 30 months of relevant practical experience.
CPA is the designation created in 2013 for professional accountants across Canada. In 2015, B.C. passed legislation to bring its three professional accounting bodies—Certified Management Accountants, Chartered Accountants and Certified General Accountants—together under the one designation. The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the province’s regulator for CPAs and is part of the national Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).
For more information about the CPA designation, visit www.goCPAbc.ca.
CPAs holding positions as financial auditors and other public accounting experts may be expected to have additional credentials, including:
People who have not obtained a CPA designation, but who work in unregulated financial positions may need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or accounting science, a university certificate in accounting or administration, or a diploma of collegial studies (DEC) in accounting and management technology. Other requirements may include:
If a person chooses not to go for the CPA designation, the CPA has an Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) that can help them be eligible for mid-level accounting jobs.
Financial auditors and accountants who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
Technology has changed the accounting profession. As more accounting functions become automated, auditors and accountants can spend more time understanding financial information and creating management strategies. In addition, things like blockchain, cryptocurrency and other changing areas of focus require people in this career to continue to learn both through formal training and by keeping up to date through media, lectures and industry conferences.
The role of an accountant is expanding and as a result, people in this profession are taking on new responsibilities, such as:
Many of the higher-level roles are better suited to Chartered Professional Accountants rather than undesignated accountants. More and more, financial auditors work with systems, rather than the data itself, to make sure that the systems work and that the data is kept confidential. In the past, this role was limited to financial auditing, but in today’s world, their duties are growing, and financial auditors are being asked to create company-wide financial plans.
Accountants may be asked to give their opinions on the security of the company’s financial information, its financial health or how well its systems work. In addition, they may be asked to review and show any potential risks to the company’s financial health.
Some employers may want to hire financial auditors or accountants that have skills that are not specific to financial work. This could include being able to work in diverse groups and to present ideas to others. A person in this role might also need to have public speaking or leadership skills. They should also be able to actively listen to co-workers and clients, and to connect with clients and to help build professional relationships.
In many cases, professional accountants in Canada follow international standards of practice. With the increase in trade between Canada and other countries, new opportunities are coming up for accountants and financial auditors who speak more than one language. More employers want accountants and auditors with international experience and knowledge, including how to handle foreign exchange management and sales tax issues.
Financial auditors and professional accountants can become senior managers after five to 10 years of work experience, depending on the organization. With additional experience or education, professional accountants and financial auditors can move into partnership roles or executive positions.
A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation is well-known and respected around the world. Having this opens up a wide range of career opportunities in finance, audit, tax and financial reporting. While accountants do not have to have a CPA designation to get a job in B.C., for those who want to move into more senior roles, it is important. A CPA is required for those who will provide regulated accounting services, such as tax advice, tax or statutory filings, forensic accounting, and financial investigation.