Accountancy is a great career choice to make. You can find yourself working for interesting clients all around the world and getting rewarded very well for it.
However, there are some specific qualifications that you’ll need to gain first.
What is an Accountant?
Accountants are trained professionals who help businesses make correct and up-to-date records of their finances. They are in charge of keeping track of a business’s everyday transactions and putting them together into financial statements like a balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows.
Steps to become an Accountant
In Ontario, obtaining certain credentials and licenses is necessary to be able to work as an accountant. These steps provided by LinkedIn can give you proper insights on how to become an accountant in Ontario:
- Acquire a bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement to become an accountant. While you can pursue any bachelor’s degree to obtain a chartered professional accountant (CPA) designation, it is highly advisable that you take accounting, finance, economics, and business administration courses.
- Complete the CPA professional education program (PEP): After getting your bachelor’s degree, you can apply to CPA Ontario or an approved graduate institution for the CPA professional education program. This is a two-year program made up of six courses.
- Gain accounting experience: In order to apply for CPA designation through CPA Ontario, you must first have completed 30 months of accounting experience. You can obtain this practical experience while continuing pursuing your professional education.
- Apply for your CPA certification: You can apply for certification once you have met all of the standards outlined by CPA Ontario. Take note that first, you must pay the annual membership costs and become a member of CPA Ontario. Then, you can submit your certification application together with all required paperwork, including transcripts and evidence of your thirty months of accounting experience. To keep your certification, you have to finish at least 10 hours of continuous professional development training every year and a total of 120 hours per rolling three-year period. To get CPA Ontario to approve your ongoing professional development, make sure the course is relevant to your professional responsibilities and competencies.
Skills required to become an Accountant
Accounting is a highly specialized field that requires a unique set of abilities and knowledge. See the list below for some of the most in-demand accountant skills that employers are on the lookout for:
- Mathematical skills: Accountants must have good mathematical skills as well as the ability to employ deductive reasoning to solve complex financial problems.
- Accounting software proficiency: They must also be able to manage financial data and create financial statements using various accounting software.
- Knowledge in financial reporting: Possessing the ability to generate financial reports such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements is also a must-have for accountants.
- Attention to detail: Accountants must be detail-oriented and capable of detecting even minor flaws in financial statements.
- Mindful of ethical considerations: They must adhere to ethical norms and protect confidentiality while dealing with financial data.
- Continuous learning: Accountants must be willing to continue learning and keep up with changes in accounting practices and regulations.
Where to start
There are many globally recognised bodies which offer courses to prepare you for a career in accounting.
You can look into the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), but the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the leading global accountancy body.
An ACCA qualification will immediately make your CV stand out to an employer looking to hire a new accountant: it is the gold standard of the sector and is internationally recognised.
The qualification includes a total of fourteen exams with both essential and optional modules, as well as three years of practical experience – but if you work and study at the same time, you could be a qualified accountant within three years.
When you complete the first three ACCA papers and a foundation module in ethics, you’ll also get a Diploma in Accounting and Business on top of your ACCA certificates.
After achieving your qualification, you still need to do a bit of hard work: do you research and think about important career questions, such as what kind of industry you’d like to enter and what specialisations you might be interested in.
You should also consider your short-term and long-term goals: where would you like to be in six months, a year, or three years after you qualify? What do you need to learn to get there? Do you have any contacts you can leverage?
Once you have a solid career plan and a good network in place, you’ll be in a great position to begin climbing the accountancy ladder.
Excited? Find out how you can start becoming an accountant with our Preparatory course for Acca Examination!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What qualifications do I need to be an accountant?
Typically, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related area to become an accountant. It is also standard to get a professional designation like Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). It is very important to get real-world experience through internships or entry-level jobs and to learn specific skills in areas like accounting, auditing, and taxes.
- How long does it take to become an accountant?
. A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related discipline typically takes four years to accomplish. Pursuing a professional title, such as the CPA, necessitates additional years of practical experience and examination preparation.
- How much is the salary in the field of accounting?
Accounting salaries vary depending on experience, education, location, and industry. In Ontario, Canada, entry-level accountants can expect to earn between CAD 50,000 and CAD 60,000 per year. Salary ranges with experience and a professional designation might range from CAD 70,000 to more than CAD 100,000 per year.