What does a CPA do?
A CPA helps individuals, businesses, and organizations plan and meet their financial goals and objectives. They are financial experts that can be full-time, part-time, or contract employees. They manage the expenses, investments, taxes, audits, and assets of their clients.
CPAs work in a corporate office setting, although some can also perform their duties remotely. They spend most of their time meeting clients and may need to work overtime during tax season and other busy periods of the year. A CPA can specialize in tax services, audit and assurance services, management consulting, or forensic accounting. Therefore, they collaborate with other professionals in a hiring organization.
CPA skills and qualifications
A CPA needs various skills to be successful in their role, including:
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills to report financial issues to clients
- Project management skills to plan, execute and close projects
- Research and analytical skills to understand and interpret financial data
- Technological proficiency
- Leadership skills to oversee the activities of other accountants
- A strong work ethic and keen attention to financial and accounting details
CPA experience requirements
While Accountants don’t need any work experience to write their exams, successful CPAs have practical experience performing their duties and responsibilities. CPAs must have at least 30 months of experience working in a relevant role before taking the exam. A strong background in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, QuickBooks, and related accounting software is essential. They must have an in-depth understanding of tax policies and know how to file taxes, audit practices, and verify financial documents.
A CPA can gain practical experience in unpaid accounting roles. Otherwise, they can get the required experience through mentorship by a Senior Accountant. Other experience requirements for a CPA depend on the area of specialization and your organization’s needs.
CPA education and training requirements
A candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. However, you may prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or master’s degree in accounting. They must have completed the required 150 hours to write the CPA exam and earn a CPA licence. They also need to renew their licence regularly. The renewal process varies in every province and territory, but for most, the standard is 40 hours of continual professional development (CPD) every three years.
A CPA must also be trained in how to use accounting software, spreadsheets, and related documents. Other education and training requirements depend on the needs of your hiring organization.
CPA salary expectations
According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a CPA in Canada is $65,257 per year. This varies depending on experience, office location, and the hiring company.
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