Five Reasons to Consider a Career in Accounting
August 25, 2022
If you want to work in an important and respected position within an organization, accounting might be a career path that you consider. Whether you’re looking to pursue post-secondary education for the first time or wanting a career change, the accounting profession is in demand and provides a stable and secure career path. In this article, we’ll discuss the five excellent reasons why you might consider a career in accounting.
You might also think about working towards your Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, which we’ll get into a bit later in this article. While all CPAs are accountants, not all accountants are CPAs. Having said that, there are advantages to becoming a CPA when it comes to your career options, hireability, and earning potential, so it’s important to explore all your choices.
But first, why might someone consider a career in accounting? We spoke with Larry Yarmolinsky, Instructor in the Accounting Department at Toronto Metropolitan University and The Chang School accounting courses to find out. Here’s what he had to say.
1. Numerous Opportunities and Different Careers
Accountants and affiliate roles are in high demand in the country, almost returning to hiring levels the industry saw before the pandemic, according to CPA studies. For professional CPAs either currently in a position or searching for one, the findings by the CPA brings promising news for those looking to change roles for a promotion, or seeking opportunities in new sectors.
And, with the variety of roles available, there are many different opportunities within the field itself.
“One of the many benefits of accounting is the diversity in roles,” Larry says. “You can pursue a career as a public accountant, chief financial officer, controller, forensic accountant, internal auditor, government auditor, or Canada Revenue Agency auditor to name a few.”
2. Career Growth
Accounting professionals can find plenty of growth throughout their careers. “With time and experience, a student working for a public accounting firm can move their way up and eventually become a partner,” says Larry. “A staff accountant working in the private sector can move their way up and eventually become chief financial officer.”
3. Profession Known for its Integrity and Ethics
Accountants are respected business professionals with accounting widely recognized as one of the most trustworthy professions. “You will become a trusted advisor to others where you work and your opinion will matter in making business decisions,” says Larry.
4. Job and Financial Security
CPAs are in demand in all areas, including government, not-for-profit, academia, accounting, finance and public and private enterprises all around the world, according to CPA Ontario.
“Accountants are in demand, especially those who are CPA,” says Larry. “Everyone needs an accountant.”
Also, if you’re interested in working abroad, Mutual Recognition Agreements allow Ontario CPAs to work globally, in places including the United States, UK, and Hong Kong.
“Accountants are well paid, especially those accountants who become senior executives in public and private companies as their remuneration is based on salaries and bonuses, which can be very lucrative,” says Larry.
According to Randstad Canada, job postings that ask for CPA designation have salaries ranging between $60,000 and 150,000 depending on the type of position.
5. Benefits for Your Personal Life
While we’re not talking about “bringing your work home with you,” knowledge of how to prepare budgets, analyze information to make good decisions, and maintain good records, goes a long way. “These skills will help accountants in their day-to-day personal lives for big life events, such as buying a house or planning retirement,” says Larry.
Steps to Earning Your CPA Designation
- As part of the CPA preparatory courses, you are required to take prerequisite courses. You can complete all the prerequisite courses through the Chang School’s Accounting Certificate Series at the Toronto Metropolitan University.
- Candidates could enrol in the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP), which comprises six modules, including two core modules, two elective modules, and two capstone modules.
- The final hurdle is the Common Final Exam (CFE) which is three days of exams (13 hours in total).
Each prerequisite course is about three hours each week (13 weeks in total). You will need to spend about 4-6 hours each week to prepare for the weekly courses.
The actual time that you need to study for the CPA comes down to how long it takes to understand the material needed, get the minimum grade required to pass each of the prerequisite courses, get through the CPA PEP, and pass the CFE.
It can take on average between 2.5 and 3.5 years for a full-time student to get their CPA designation, while a part-time student usually needs between 3.5 years and 5 years.
You can take the prerequisite courses while working full time as long as you put aside time each week to go to your classes and work on your studies. You will need the support of your employer and, possibly your family, to allow you to prepare for the courses as well as to attend them. You will probably need to make some sacrifices in your personal life to ensure you do what is necessary to pass each course and obtain the minimum grade needed.
Careers You Can Expect as a CPA
As mentioned earlier in this article, there are some benefits of becoming a CPA with one of the main ones being it opens up doors to many more opportunities. These include:
- Forensic Accountant: Aids law enforcement (e.g. OPP), businesses, or individuals in complex or criminal financial matters by evaluating financial records.
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO):The CFO handles all the financial decisions of a company. Their responsibilities include approving all major projects for the company and managing the finance and accounting divisions.
- Government Auditor: Working for either the province (eg. The Office of The Auditor General of Ontario) or federal government (The Federal Auditor of Canada) and conducting value for money audits on the ministries and agencies. Issuing reports as to whether taxpayers money is being spent with due regard for economy, efficiencies and effectiveness.
- Entrepreneur: Knowing the ins and outs of financial statements, tax strategies, financing and audit and assurance are a major asset when starting a business venture.
- Regulatory Compliance Officer: A regulatory compliance officer ensures that financial services ( eg. a bank or insurance company) conforms with its outside regulatory and legal requirements as well as internal policies.
- Chief Risk Officer: The Chief Risk Officer is tasked with various responsibilities such as an analysis and mitigation of risks that could imp[act a company meeting its objectives.
- Data Scientist: Data scientists determine the questions their team should be asking and figure out how to answer those questions using data. They often develop predictive models for theorizing and forecasting.
- Professor: If you obtain a Masters Degree along with having a CPA, you are eligible to become either a part-time contract lecturer or full time professor at a university teaching either accounting, auditing or tax, or another discipline, which can be very rewarding.
Now What? Getting Your Foot in the Door
Networking opens doors in your pursuit of working opportunities that otherwise you might never get. Here are some tips to broaden your network:
- Reach out to your professors: Your professors are a valuable resource – not just in terms of the skills and industry expertise, but for the connections they offer. Allow your professors to get to know you by your class participation and approaching them before or after class or during the class breaks and asking them about their career path and what got them to the point where they’re at now. Let them know of your aspirations and seek their guidance around what you can currently be doing to meet your specific goals or whether they are aware of any connections for you to follow up on.
- Pay a visit to Metropolitan Toronto Career Centre: By visiting the career centre, you can find open internships or job postings, get tips on how to build your online presence, build up your resume, participate in a mock job interview and learn about upcoming job fairs.
- Join university networking groups: This could be a great place to connect with graduates from your field of study who are now established in their career who can provide you with advice and possibly a job opportunity.
- Be active on social media and join LinkedIn: Search social media sites like LinkedIn for broad groups that align with your field or area of interest and join the conversation there. Maintain your current profile on LinkedIn by including your picture, details about you, your job experiences, as well as education and job aspirations.
- Stay in touch with your classmates: Once you have established new connections, it's essential that you keep in touch with them. This will make it easier for them to help you when you need a favour or remember you when they have something to offer you.
Whether you’re still weighing up your options or ready to enrol, visit the link below to find out more information about the pathway to becoming a CPA.