Quebecers overestimate their financial knowledge according to a survey conducted by Léger and the Quebec CPA Order

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Montreal, November 1, 2016 – A survey conducted by Léger and the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec (CPA) reveals that Quebecers struggle to apply certain basic financial concepts that they claim to fully understand. In November – Financial Literacy Month – Quebecers are being asked to take control of their finances.

Highlights of the Léger – CPA Order survey
  • The survey results show a significant gap between Quebecers’ perceived and real knowledge of basic financial concepts.

Self-evaluation of financial knowledge: Quebecers rate themselves highly
  • A large percentage of Quebecers believe that they can explain the difference between a credit card and a debit card, net income and gross income, an expense and an investment, a personal loan and a line of credit, as well as an asset and a liability.
  • While the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction is the only financial concept that Quebecers find harder to explain, 71% still think they could do so.
  • Half of Quebecers believe they fully understand the concepts of net income, line of credit, asset and debt level.
  • Only 3 out of 10 respondents think they fully understand the concepts of tax deduction and inflation.

Testing Quebecers' knowledge: 2 out of 6 concepts were understood
  • When it came time to apply various financial concepts, such as net income, line of credit, asset, debt level, tax deduction and inflation, the results varied.
  • Only 2 out of 6 of the surveyed concepts had correct answer rates that were higher than the passing score, i.e. line of credit (83%) and inflation (79%).
  • The concepts of tax credit and tax deduction were the least understood, with only 18% of respondents answering correctly. 
  • Only 35% of respondents demonstrated real knowledge of the concept of net income, 48% the concept of debt level and 57% the concept of asset.

November, Financial Literacy Month
  • Financial literacy means having the knowledge, skills and self-confidence to make responsible financial decisions.
  • Since 2011, November has been Financial Literacy Month in Canada.
  • This year, the CPA profession has teamed up with the Quebec Public Library Association (Association des bibliothèques publiques du Québec) to hold over 100 finance sessions at libraries across the province.
  • Over 50 volunteer CPAs will share their knowledge on a range of topics, from healthy financial management habits and fraud prevention to teaching children about money.
  • The sessions are free and intended for adults, children and seniors.

Quotes from Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Quebec CPA Order

“It is worrying to see that Quebecers overestimate their financial knowledge. This may make them less inclined to try and find information.”   

“The survey results show that Quebecers need to improve their financial knowledge. In reality, sound management of your finances helps you reach your goals and live your life the way you intend.

“Quebecers best understood the concept of line of credit and least understood the concepts of tax credit and tax deduction. A sign of the times and of our consumer society: We are more familiar with a credit charge than saving money.”

“Nevertheless, people are interested in numbers. We all know Canadiens experts who can talk about the payroll and player statistics, but do not know their own net worth or the value of their RRSP. There are numbers that count. We need to know and understand them to be able to make informed decisions."

Survey methodology
  • The results were obtained from an online survey conducted by Léger from October 3 to 5, 2016.
  • 1,004 Quebecers who were aged 18 and older and understood French or English answered the survey.

Related links
List of sessions at libraries [+]
Full survey [+]

Image and caption
Geneviève Mottard 
[jpg - HD]  [jpg - Web]
Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Quebec CPA Order
Photo credit: © Bénédicte Brocard

About the Quebec CPA Order
The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 38,000 members and 5,600 future CPAs, making it the third largest professional order in Quebec. The Order ensures the protection of the public and the visibility of the profession. It represents all areas of expertise of the accounting profession, including assurance, financial accounting, management and management accounting, finance and taxation.

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Jean-Louis Laplante
Manager, Public Affairs
Quebec CPA Order
T. 514 288.3256 [3024]  1 800 363.4688

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