What do CPAs do?

CPAs are involved in every sector of the economy. Their skills allow them to play a role in their organizations that goes beyond accounting and finance.

CPAs in public practice or sole practioners

Many CPAs work in public practice where they may be called upon to provide services in such areas as business and accounting consulting, for instance in assurance, taxation and indirect taxes, financial reporting, information technology, financial planning, business valuation and turnarounds, insolvency and forensic accounting.

CPAs and public accountancy

Under the Chartered Professional Accountants Act, public accountancy is the activity reserved to CPAs. This activity consists in expressing an opinion to provide a level of assurance about a financial statement or any part thereof, or about any other information related to the financial statement; this corresponds to an assurance engagement, which comprises the performance of an audit or a review engagement, as well as the issue of special reports. Public accountancy also includes compilation engagements, which are not intended exclusively for internal management purposes and which give rise to the issue of a Notice to Reader. 

CPAs and management

Almost all organizations turn to CPAs for their strategic leadership. CPAs add value and credibility to an organization’s management. They manage finances and cash, develop financial and administrative policies, analyze information and manage computer systems. Because they possess a high-level view of the organization and apply advanced management practices, many CPAs hold key positions in organizations as CEOs and CFOs.

CPAs in government

The expertise of CPAs is needed at all levels of government to guide financial planning and control public finances. In addition to the provincial auditor general, who is always a chartered professional accountant, CPAs are employed in various government departments, Crown corporations and organizations as senior public servants, internal auditors or financial analysts. Some are appointed ministers or deputy ministers and become leaders who can suggest and implement innovative solutions to improve the performance of government bodies.

CPAs in education

Many CPAs make a significant contribution to society by teaching future leaders what they need to know not only about accounting and taxation, but also about finance, management, values and ethics. They are also key contributors to the advancement of accounting sciences in innovative fields.