It’s rather outdated, the image of the accountant with obscure tasks, no imagination or horizon other than his year-end balance sheet. New technologies have made it possible to streamline the most daunting functions, putting back accounting books and other tax forms to make time for more analytical and comprehensive approaches, which accountants excel at. The digitization of the profession is having an impact everywhere, and Quebec is at the forefront of these changes. However, the demographic decline of the Belle province is also affecting this activity and professionals from other countries are welcome, especially if they are French speakers.
This acronym designates the profession of chartered accountant. In 2012, Quebec’s three accounting codes merged into the Order of Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Quebec (https://cpaquebec.ca). It now has around 41,000 members. These seasoned professionals – the local equivalent of CPAs – have strong accounting and analytical management skills, enabling them to work in a variety of professional settings: accounting practice in public practice, public accounting, certification, management and accounting. legal accounting, information technology, education, etc.
About 25% of accountants work in professional services firms, with the remaining 75% working in a corporation or in the public sector.
The practice in a law firm is therefore less successful today with these accountants, who were licensed in Quebec in 2021 to practice as small claims facilitators in tax matters. The Justice Department has also authorized them to act as arbitrators in any dispute involving financial or commercial matters.
Easy access for French auditors
Since the same year, 2012, the mutual recognition agreement between Quebec and France has been in place for French nationals who have a degree in accounting. This provision aims to encourage labor mobility between the French Association of Accountants and the Professional Association of Accountants (CPA) of Québec.
Anyone who can enjoy a CPA diploma can apply for equivalence from the CPA regulation and, if necessary, continue their education. It should be noted that this agreement naturally works both ways: in other words, a return to France after an experience in Quebec is just as appreciated and inevitably represents a new asset. Indeed, highly qualified professionals in the fields of accounting, economics and finance will always be in high demand on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Quebec, the job is particularly attractive with a placement rate of 100% and above-average salaries. It is therefore hardly surprising that the CPA order is one of the top 3 professional orders that receives the most applications for educational equivalency from foreigners.
Opportunities for advancement also for accountants
Accountants who have graduated in France, as well as candidates who can demonstrate relevant skills, can apply for equivalences based on their merits. This process is conducted on the CPA Regulations website, the file of which is reviewed to identify comparative training elements. The objective of this step will be to determine the levels of upgrading required to obtain the equivalent of one of the diplomas recognized by the Order. As he explains “The process of obtaining the CPA title in Quebec could be simplified as these applicants could be partially or fully exempted from certain steps.”
How do I earn the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation?
To obtain this title in Quebec, four steps must be followed:
– You have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on professional accounting. Please note that these “baccalaureates” in France correspond respectively to the Accounting and Management Diploma (DCG, Bachelor) and the Higher Accounting and Management Diploma (DSCG, Master).
– Successfully complete the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) which is based on a series of courses designed to apply knowledge, values, ethical sense and appropriate professional attitudes in a work context. To access the PFP, it is possible to follow the national program offered online by the Order for twelve to twenty-four months or the second cycle university program (nine to twenty-four months) leading to the DEC (Diplôme d’charted chartered accountant, three years after a master’s degree that entitles the holder to practice the profession of auditor or to prepare for the profession of auditor).
– Complete an internship of at least 24 months.
– Passing the Common Final Examination (CFE).
CPA or CPA auditor?
It is important to note that there are two separate certifications in Quebec: the CPA certification and the CPA auditor certification. Only the CPA auditor can perform certain activities related to public accounting, such as B. the audit order and the review order. Certain certification actions are reserved for the CPA auditor. This is the case, for example, when issuing an audit report on separate financial statements, the report on a specific element, account or line item in a financial statement.
> To learn more about the CPA auditor
To mark:1 Canadian dollar = approx. €0.70
– Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)
The average CPA fee (across Canada) is CA$141,000 per year (approximately $8,250 per month). Keep in mind that according to Statistics Canada, the average annual income in Canada (in 2019, latest available source) amounts to around 49,000 Canadian dollars.
– Other accounting functions
- Chief Accountant: from $76,000 to $106,000
- Accountant: $57,000 to $72,000
- Accounting Assistant (1 to 3 years experience): from $50,000 to $64,000
- Junior Accounting Assistant: $39,000 to $55,000
How to find your job
The employment section of the CPA-Order website is by far the most interesting resource to refine your search, with 4,250 registered employers and nearly 2,000 jobs advertised each year.
More generally, the website Use–Quebecof the Quebec government, allows you to specify your search by Quebec region (there are 17 of them), type or duration of employment, level of education or field of study.
The Journal des Français à l’intérieur thanks in particular Ms. Bourbonnais, Director of Institutional Communications within the CPA Order, for her assistance with this dossier.