Chartered accountants, also known as Certified public accountants (CPA), are professional financial advisors that provide tax advice to individuals, businesses, public organizations, and other entities. Accountants provide essential services for individuals and companies in various sectors including corporate, investment, personal, real estate, travel, communications, healthcare, insurance, banking, technology, and government sector. The primary duty of a chartered accountant is to provide tax advice to individuals and companies. They accomplish this by drafting tax compliant financial reports, setting audit triggers, providing management consulting services, implementing accounting strategies, analyzing the performance of finance programs, preparing internal control measures and reporting to management. They also prepare reports regarding the client’s financial status, its assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenditures. They report timely financial statements to the clients.
In order to qualify for the professional designation, accountants have to undergo training and education. They receive either a two-year degree in accountancy or an accredited three year degree in accounting, business administration, or finance. After obtaining their degrees, they must pass an examination administered by the Chartered Institute of Chartered Accountants to obtain CPA status. After passing the examination, they are required to take a one-year refresher course in order to update their knowledge and pass the certification exam.
There are many professional associations that can help accountants obtain CPA designation in Canada. These associations include the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICCA) and the Canadian Society of Certified Public Accountants (CSMA). Other associations that can assist accountants in obtaining designation include the Professional Association of Chartered Accountants in Canada (PAAC) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICOT).
A licensed chartered accountant is required to meet certain educational requirements. They need to have a bachelor’s degree in accountancy or its equivalent including an MBA. After they have graduated, they should pursue three years of post-baccalaureate studies at an accredited university or college. In addition to being able to earn an MBA, accountants who want to pursue CPA status must also complete five years of law school or professional school. At the end of the five years, they should be prepared to take the MCITP certification exam.
As with all professions, becoming a chartered accountant requires that an individual have the right set of skills. They must be analytical and problem solvers, possess excellent communication skills, be detail oriented, understand financial reporting procedures, and be able to communicate financial information effectively both orally and in writing. Those who successfully meet these requirements will then be offered CPA license. After receiving a license, a chartered accountant can open an office or do contract work for corporations or individuals as needed.
Accountants can choose to be self-employed or work for an organization that has its own accounting department. There are many opportunities available for accountants to either work independently or in a team environment alongside other professionals. If working on his or her own, accountants must be knowledgeable about payroll, taxes, public accounting procedures, corporate laws, insurance matters, and business contracts. Chartered accountants who are employed by a larger firm will generally perform an outsourced role alongside certified public accountants, and auditors. These professionals are responsible for preparing financial statements, overseeing accounting functions, performing internal accounting controls, reviewing the CPA’s credit report, and assisting clients with tax planning.