Courted in all sectors of activity, the CPA (Certified Professional Accountant) flaunts their acronym with pride. And for good reason!
At the crossroads of accounting and management, CPAs are accountants “to the tenth power”. With a bachelor’s degree and advanced graduate training, they have spent two years in an internship and passed the cross-Canada exam that opens the door to accreditation by the College of CPAs. A high-flying career.
“The CPA title brings great credibility. For the client, it’s a sign of confidence. He is certain to be dealing with a professional with a sharp critical mind who has a global vision of business issues,” explains Dominic Clément, partner in the Clément Del Vecchio firm. Unlike “simple” accountants, CPAs are the only professionals entitled to sign financial statements and carry out audits.
Guarantors of independence and integrity for their clients, they are also the best off when it comes to talking about salary and career prospects. No wonder some accountants decide to go back to school to add the 3 magic letters to their business card! According to Dominic Clément, it is an increasingly frequent phenomenon.
Regarding training, candidates have a choice. After their bachelor’s degree, usually in administration (accounting profile), they will be able to continue their career with a graduate degree or follow the training program offered by the College of CPAs. “I see both types of profile in the firm. The approaches and training are different, but the exam that sanctions the course is the same,” notes Dominic Clément.
No matter how they got their title, CPAs are found everywhere in Canada. Caroline Lafond was hired in the firm where she had completed her internship towards accreditation, a widespread practice as the workforce is scarce and valued. At Clément Del Vecchio, future CPAs are spotted during their undergraduate courses. “The internship coop system at the Université de Sherbrooke lets us recruit students even before they begin their accreditation process. They do all their internships with us, and then they are hired.”
At the end of the day, CPAs have a choice. They can pursue a career in an accounting firm, in the public sector or in a company, where they can act, in particular, in the finance department. Caroline Lafond chose auditing in a firm. “It’s a job with a lot of variety that lets me meet clients in all areas,” she says. Other CPAs will work on their own, or, like Premier François Legault, will make their mark in the private sector before flying on to other horizons…