Accounting training can allow you to play a central role in almost any kind of organization.
You can pave the way to new opportunities that come with good pay, outstanding career security, and work that really matters. In fact, going to accounting school is a big reason why a lot of successful Canadians have achieved professional lives that bring true satisfaction and ongoing potential for growth.
Why Accounting Professionals Are Almost Always in Strong Demand
Companies and other organizations—in nearly every industry—rely on the expertise of people who know how to accurately keep track of things like profits, losses, taxes, financial transactions, and payroll. Without the use of good accounting services, a growing business can quickly stall or even fail. As a result, companies of every size look for professionals with good training in this important field.
All it takes to get a sense of the demand is to check out a few interesting stats. For example, look at these numbers:
- In 2015, Canada had nearly 1.17 million businesses with employees.*
- In 2015, over 2.7 million Canadians were self-employed—an almost 38 percent increase since 1987.** Like larger businesses, a lot of self-employed people hire accounting or bookkeeping specialists to keep their ventures on track and in compliance with laws and regulations.
- Between 2008 and 2012, the operating revenues of Canadian firms that provide accounting services grew by nearly 17 percent.**
Career Possibilities in the Accounting Field
This area of business has a lot more variety than you might expect. In fact, it's possible to specialize in a particular (yet still broad) category like tax preparation, auditing, finance, or management. And a career in this field can also introduce you to a number of different industries if you decide you want job diversity. With that in mind, here are a few of the most common types of accounting-related positions, which sometimes overlap:
- Accounting technician or clerk—Often responsible for handling specific financial transactions and records related to an organization's invoices and accounts receivable or bills and accounts payable
- Payroll administrator—Calculates and processes the amount of wages paid to an organization's employees while accounting for income tax deductions and benefits like vacation time and sick leave
- Bookkeeper—Maintains accurate records of a company's financial transactions or ensures that the correct procedures are being followed to do so
- Financial clerks supervisor—Coordinates and oversees the work of accounting clerks, payroll administrators, or bookkeepers, usually after some experience in one or more of those positions
- Accountant—Provides reports and guidance on financial matters related to things like profits and losses, taxes, and resource allocation while also helping an organization comply with any applicable laws and regulations
Common Salaries for Accounting Specialists
The potential to make a good income in this field is very real. That's because you can do the type of work that is aligned with an organization's financial self-interest. As with any career, the more experience you have, the more you can earn, especially if you move into a supervisory or management role. Here are some examples of approximate median salaries within Canada, along with what the highest earners make:***
- Bookkeepers—$41,600 / $66,123 or more
- Accounting clerks—$41,600 / $60,008 or more
- Financial clerks supervisors—$52,998 / $80,267 or more
- Accountants—$65,000 / $112,008 or more
Accounting technician, payroll administration, and bookkeeping training usually doesn't take very long. In fact, it's possible to earn a college diploma or certificate in this field in less than one year. Plus, many programs are set up to help you prepare for voluntary certification exams that can add even more value to your resume. For instance, some people with this kind of training earn Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certification from the Canadian Payroll Association.
Becoming a professional accountant, on the other hand, takes a little longer. Generally, you need at least four years of relevant post-secondary education to get started. Then, you often need to go after a designation such as Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) through the accounting profession's national organization, which is the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
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