Become an Accountant in Canada in 5 Steps

Learn how to Become a Licensed Accountant in Canada in 5 easy steps.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming an accountant in Canada? The good news is that you can achieve that dream whether you have an accounting degree or not. All you have to do is follow the steps outlined below. However, you have to show dedication and hard work. This is because becoming an accountant requires a lot of skills and hard work.

For instance, an accountant manages the financial flow of an organisation, As a result, you must have the skills to carry on this function. All businesses both big and small need an accountant to maintain their business.

In this article, we will give you a guide on how to become an accountant in Canada. But first of all, you will learn what an accountant is, his or her role in an organisation and why choosing to be an accountant is the right choice for you.

Who is an Accountant?

Accountants are professionals who manage the financial flow of a company. They keep track of all the transactions that go on in an organisation. They must make sure that the account of an institution is balanced.

Responsibilities of an accountant

Accountants in an organization carry out the following responsibilities:

  • Examining financial records and official tax documentation
  • Recording and maintaining documentation for financial transactions
  • Auditing financial transaction costs or financial assets
  • Researching current financial trends or industry-related financial trends
  • Organizing financial information, data, and statistics
  • Developing and designing visual or written reports highlighting finances

Skills needed to become an accountant in Canada

There are a lot of skills that you need to become an accountant in Canada. without these skills, you may not excel in the industry. Therefore, once you desire to become an accountant, you must try to acquire the following skills. They include:

  • Strong written and oral communication
  • Organization and attention to detail
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Time management
  • Systems analysis
  • Mathematical and deductive reasoning
  • Critical thinking
  • Active learning

Why Accounting is a Good Career in Canada

Among the reason why people want to become accountants in Canada is the fact that the job offers them a variety of opportunities. As an accountant, you can work in different industries. You can work in the banks, in any financial institution, in a school or college, or any business. Virtually every business or company needs the services of an accountant. For that reason, it has become an in-demand job in Canada. So, choosing a career in accounting offers you the following benefits:

An in-demand job

Since all businesses and companies need the services of an accountant. trained professionals in the field are scarce to find. So, it is an-demand job in Canada. This means that once you complete your training and degree as an accountant, there is a job waiting for you. Moreover, you can work in any industry as an accountant. However, you can decide to work in a particular industry based on your interest and skills.

Good salary

As an accountant, you will earn a good salary in Canada. However, you will have more chances of earning a better salary if you become a certified accountant. Thus, you will need to complete some professional courses if you want to become a certified accountant in Canada. The average salary of an accountant in Canada is $56,591 per year or $29.02 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $47,450 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $75,041 per year.

Job security

If you become an accountant in Canada, your job security is assured. However, this entails that you become a trained accountant and become competent in your job. Moreover, as an in-demand job, once you are good at your job, no organisation will like to lose you. Therefore, once you are good at your job, there is no need to panic because your job is secure.

Job prospects

The job prospects for accountants in Canada are many. As an accountant, you can work in various industries in Canada. You can be employed both in the public and private sectors. Also, you can work in any industry of your choice. However, it is better to focus on a particular industry and grow there.

Grow your career in different industries

Now, let’s talk about the opportunity to grow your career as an accountant in Canada. You can always change from one industry to another as an accountant, however, it is good that you focus on only one industry and develop there. The reason is that the more experience you get in an industry, the more you will get higher positions.

So, once you have chosen an industry, put in all your efforts in that industry and grow there. However, if you notice more opportunities in another industry, you can switch to that industry.

Steps to Become an Accountant in Canada

Different pathways can qualify you to become a CPA in Canada and take the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP), but the default route includes:

Step 1. Obtain an undergraduate degree from any recognized university in Canada

YOu will need a bachelor’s degree to become an accountant in Canada. However, this may not be compulsory, but necessary. Your degree must be in a relevant field like Accounting, Business Management, Economics.

Completing a course for a degree usually takes three to four years. These courses will help you to get the knowledge you need as an accountant. Sometimes the requirements may vary according to province. so, here are some general courses you might engage in while obtaining a university degree:

  • Introduction, intermediate, and advanced financial accounting
  • Introduction, intermediate, and advanced financial analysis and evaluation
  • Principles and foundations of financial auditing
  • Principles and procedures of international financial accounting
  • Introduction, intermediate, and advanced financial auditing
  • Financial information management systems and technology
  • Strategies and methods for financial planning, budgeting, and reporting
  • Accounting theories and methods
  • Personal financial tax management
  • Corporation financial tax management
  • Financial assurance and ethics
  • Principles of economics
  • Principles of business law
  • General finance management
  • Financial cost accounting

Step 2. Enrol in the CPA Professional Education Program

The next step to becoming an accountant in Canada is to enrol in a CPA professional examination program. These professional courses will help you to gain more knowledge and skills as an accountant. The professional courses you take may depend on your province, so, you will have to reach out to know the relevant courses available in your province.

For instance, if you live in the Atlantic region, you must register with the Atlantic School of Chartered Accountancy (ASCA) to complete professional learning courses before your certification examination. For residents of the western region, they must register with the Canada School of Business (CASB) to complete professional learning courses before your certification examination.

If on the other hand, you live in Ontario, you have to register with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO) to complete professional learning courses before your certification examination. Whereas residents of Quebec must register with the Québec Order of Chartered Accountants (OCAQ) to complete a professional education program.

Step 3. Complete 30 months of relevant accounting experience

Enrolling in a professional course is not enough to become a certified accountant. You will also need to complete 30 months of relevant accounting experience. This also varies according to your province. The requirements according to provinces are outlined below:

Atlantic and western provinces

Residents of the Atlantic and Western provinces will need the following work experience.

  • two-and-a-half years of practical and professional training experience
  • at least 2,500 recorded work hours in financial assurance, auditing, and tax management

Ontario

If you live in the Ontario region, you will need the following requirements as work experience:

  • secure a position with an official chartered accountant firm, agency, or company
  • gain at least two-and-a-half years and experience
  • at least 2,500 recorded work hours in required areas

Québec

Quebec residents must gain

  • two years of practical and professional training experience with an official chartered accountant firm, agency, or company
  • at least 2,500 recorded work hours

Step 4. Finish four education modules during full-time work experience

In addition to your work experience, you must also complete some educational modules. These modules will help you prepare for your CPA PEP. This is a two-year educational program for professional accountants.

This program consists of six modules:

  • Two core modules in six technical competencies: financial reporting, management accounting, strategy and governance, finance and taxation, and audit and assurance
  • Two electives in your choice of tax and finance, assurance, and performance management
  • One capstone integrative module where you build your professional and leadership skills
  • One capstone exam prep module

Step 5. Passing the 3-day Uniform Final Evaluation (UFE)

To get your certification as an accountant, you take the 3-day Uniform Final Evaluation. These exams take three days to complete. It is usually organised by the Canadian Institute for Chartered Accountants (CICA). The aim f the exam is to test a candidate’s skill sets and financial accounting knowledge. Once a candidate is successful in the exam. the candidate becomes a certified accountant in Canada.

Provincial licences to become an accountant in Canada

You will also need a licence to work as an accountant in any province in Canada. The list below shows the licence you need to become an accountant in Canada according to provides:

  • Alberta: Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta
  • British Columbia: Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia
  • Manitoba: Chartered Professional Accountants Manitoba
  • New Brunswick: Chartered Professional Accountants New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Chartered Professional Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories: Chartered Professional Accountants – Northwest Territories / Nunavut
  • Nova Scotia: Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut: Chartered Professional Accountants – Northwest Territories / Nunavut
  • Ontario: Chartered Professional Accountant
  • Prince Edward Island: Chartered Professional Accountants of Prince Edward Island
  • Québec: Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec
  • Saskatchewan: Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Saskatchewan
  • Yukon: Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to be an accountant in Canada?

Generally, you will need licensing by the provincial or territorial governing body to become an accountant in Canada. The requirements for each province vary. Therefore, you must make sure that you know the requirements for your province.

How much do accountants make in Canada?

As an accountant, you will earn a good salary in Canada. However, you will have more chances of earning a better salary if you become a certified accountant. Thus, you will need to complete some professional courses if you want to become a certified accountant in Canada.

The average salary of an accountant in Canada is $56,591 per year or $29.02 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $47,450 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $75,041 per year.

Where can I work as an accountant?

As an accountant, you can work in various industries in Canada. You can be employed both in the public and private sectors. Also, you can work in any industry of your choice. However, it is better to focus on a particular industry and grow there.

Who qualifies to become an accountant in Canada?

Anyone can work as an accountant in Canada. However, if you want to become a licenced accountant and earn more, you will have to earn a university degree and obtain certain certifications.

Conclusion

Accountants are in-demand in Canada. Therefore, you will have an opportunity for employment as an accountant, especially if you become a licenced accountant. Moreover, you will also work in different industries as an accountant in Canada. But to become an accountant in Canada, the steps outlined above will be necessary for you.