What is a chartered accountant?

Posted by Fed Finance Canada in Our employment advice
Posted at 23/01/2023
What is a chartered accountant?
The accounting sector includes many different professions and a chartered accountant is among the most highly qualified of them all.

Are you considering a career as a chartered accountant? In this article, the experts from our Montreal finance recruitment agency will tell you everything you need to know about this sought-after profession.

Chartered accountant responsibilities

A chartered accountant is responsible for supervising, compiling, analyzing, verifying and preparing financial records for a company, legal firm or other type of organization.

Depending on the size of the accounting firm where they work, an accountant's primary responsibilities will differ. For a small company, they usually perform a variety of tasks themselves. In large accounting firms, they may work within a team of lawyers, tax specialists and computer specialists.

The role of a chartered accountant goes much further than keeping track of the accounts for a company. Chartered accountants act as advisors for legal, fiscal, social and accounting issues.

A chartered accountant's responsibilities may vary depending on their employer’s needs, or if they are self-employed. In general, they are responsible for the following tasks:

  • Bookkeeping – Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records of their clients' finances, including expense, revenue and tax accounts
  • Tax filing - Preparing and filing tax returns for clients, and ensuring that all information is accurate and in compliance with tax laws
  • Cost accounting preparation - Preparing financial statements for clients, including balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements
  • Financial statement review - Auditing financial statements to ensure compliance with accounting and tax standards
  • Tax strategy consulting - Helping clients plan their tax strategy to minimize tax payments and maximize tax benefits
  • Management consulting - Advising clients on managing their finances, including investments, loans and business decisions
  • Training and career development - Providing training courses and seminars for employees and accounting students to help them develop their skills and advance in their careers

Accountant vs chartered accountant: what is the difference?

In Quebec, there are two types of accountants: an accountant and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). You will not encounter the term "public accountant" in this part of Canada. A CPA belongs to the Ordre des CPA du Québec.

An accountant and a CPA will have different levels of education and professional responsibilities. The services offered by an accountant are similar to those offered by a CPA,  but a chartered accounted is considered to be more reliable due to their more advanced and specialized professional training.

Chartered accountant qualities

If you would like to find a job as an accountant, it is important to be comfortable with numbers and enjoy doing analytical work, such as accounting and data analysis.

To practice this profession effectively, you must also be a good listener since you will often be interacting with employees and business leaders. Understanding the needs of a customer is essential in order to advise them appropriately and listening plays a large role in developing such an understanding.

Recruiters also frequently look for someone who knows how to manage a team. Leadership, communication, decision-making and crisis management are other skills a chartered accountant must master. The qualities of a good accountant are numerous!

Becoming a chartered accountant in Quebec

To become a chartered accountant in Quebec, you need to follow these steps:

  • Obtain a university degree in accounting or business administration with a specialization in accounting. Quebec universities offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in accounting.
  • Pass the certification exams to become a chartered accountant (CPA). Students can begin preparing for the certification exams while still in university by taking exam preparation courses.
  • Complete a professional internship. Students must complete a 2-year internship in an accounting firm or business to gain practical accounting experience.
  • Obtain professional certification. Professional accreditations are issued by the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec (CPA). Certification is required if you wish to become a chartered accountant.
  • Continue to develop your skills by taking professional development courses and participating in professional activities. These may be required to maintain your professional accreditation.

It is important to note that requirements may vary depending on the university program and the professional accreditation you wish to obtain. It is therefore advisable to check the requirements with the Ordre des CPA and your university to ensure that you are doing what is necessary to become a chartered accountant in Quebec.

Chartered accountant salary in Quebec

It is very difficult to give a precise figure for an accountant’s salary in Quebec. An accountant’s salary will differ depending whether they work as a freelancer or within a company. Salaries also differ between accountants and chartered professional accountants.

In Quebec, a chartered accountant’s annual salary can range from $40,000 to $60,000. It is also possible to find accounting positions in excess of 6 figures, depending on the company that is looking to hire.

Find a job as a CPA with Fed Finance

The accounting profession is rewarding and chartered accountants are always in high demand in Quebec! If you are looking for a job in this sector or any other field of finance, contact us now.

At Fed Finance, our specialized recruitment consultants can provide you with personalized support in your job search.