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Occupational Profile

Accountant

Accountants provide financial reporting and consulting services for organizations and individuals.

  • Avg. Salary $85,631.00
  • Avg. Wage $42.19
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 31,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Auditor, Certified General Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Chartered Professional Accountant, Comptroller, Controller, Fraud Investigator, Professional Accountant, Treasurer

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

37%
37%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Accountant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Accountants
NOC code: 1111.2
METHODICAL

Interest in administering accounting systems, examining financial accounts and records, preparing income tax returns from accounting records, and in maintaining internal control procedures

INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to develop cost finding and internal control procedures; and in analyzing financial statements and reports

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting with clients to provide financial, business and tax advice; may supervise articling students, other accountants and administrative technicians

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Accountants work in business and industrial organizations, educational schools, government and private firms that offer accounting services to the public. Duties vary from one position to another but, in general, accountants:

  • design and administer accounting and information systems that include records of assets, liabilities and business transactions
  • prepare budgets, tax returns and financial statements
  • analyze financial information to assist in planning financial management policies, business strategies and the control and use of business assets
  • provide personal and corporate income tax and estate planning services
  • provide internal and external auditing services (for more information, see the Internal Auditor occupational profile)
  • make recommendations regarding solutions to business and financial problems
  • provide support in litigation matters
  • serve as bankruptcy trustees and business valuators.

 

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Accountants usually work in an office setting. Their hours of work vary depending on the organization and level of responsibility. Overtime often is required at company budgeting time, month end or in late winter and early spring (when public accountants are busy with year—end corporate work and personal income tax returns). Depending on the position, some travel may be required.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Accountants need the following characteristics:

  • good oral and written communication skills
  • critical thinking, logical analysis and problem solving skills
  • the ability to work alone and as part of a team
  • high ethical standards.

They should enjoy:

  • having clear rules and organized methods to guide their activities
  • developing innovative solutions to problems
  • directing the activities of others.
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Training to become an accountant involves a combination of related post-secondary education and practical experience.

Accountants that provide public accounting services need to be designated as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta). In order to be a registered CPA, individuals must:

  • hold a bachelor's degree in any discipline
  • have completed courses in specific subject areas including: financial accounting, management accounting, taxation, finance, auditing, economics, business law, statistics, information systems, and strategic management
  • complete the CPA Prerequisite Education Program (CPA PREP), if missing required subject area coverage
  • complete the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP)
  • complete practical experience requirements
  • complete the Common Final Examination (CFE)

The CPA PEP is a two-year graduate-level program that is delivered on a part-time basis. It consists of six modules which are delivered using a blended learning model consisting of online learning, self-study and classroom learning. For more information, visit the CPA Western School of Business (CPAWSB) website.

To learn more about the practical experience requirements, visit the CPA Alberta website.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grant MacEwan University

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Accountant

Chartered Professional Accountants provide financial reporting and consulting services for organizations and individuals.

As of July 1, 2015 Alberta's 3 regulated accounting designations, Chartered Accountants, Certified General Accountants and Certified Management Accountants, have been merged into a single designation, Chartered Professional Accountant.

Legislation

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) is a protected title under Alberta's Chartered Professional Accountants Act and Chartered Professional Accountants Regulation. This means that to call yourself a Chartered Professional Accountant, you must be a registered member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta). You do not have to be registered with CPA Alberta if you do not call yourself a Chartered Professional Accountant; however, you must be registered to provide professional accounting services, such as audits or review engagements.

All CPAs who are members in good standing with CPA Alberta and were previously registered as Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) can continue to use their previous designations.

Education

Registration requires: (1) a bachelor's degree (in any discipline) with specific subject area coverage, (2) successful completion of the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) which includes on-line facilitated learning modules and group interactive learning sessions with facilitators, (3) successful completion of relevant practical work experience, and (4) successful completion of the Common Final Examination (CFE). For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the Chartered Professional Accountants Western School of Business (CPAWSB) website at www.cpawsb.ca or call CPAWSB at 1-866-420-2350.

Students who were completing courses required for entry into CA, CMA or CGA professional programs will be able to apply these courses for entry into CPA PEP until June 2017. For more detailed information regarding transferring from CGA, CA and CMA into CPA PEP or becoming a CPA, visit the CPA Alberta website.

Working in Alberta

Chartered Professional Accountant who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if CPAs in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally education chartered accountants, see Chartered Professional Accountant Certification Process on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

CPA Alberta
580 Manulife Place, 10180 - 101 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4R2
Phone number: 1-800-232-9406
Website: www.cpaalberta.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Accountants work for a wide variety of organizations including:

  • businesses
  • governments
  • management consultant practices
  • corporate and personal tax preparation offices
  • banks
  • manufacturing companies
  • stock exchanges
  • credit offices
  • public accounting practices
  • educational schools.

They may be salaried employees or work on a fee-for-service basis.

Experienced individuals who have professional accounting designations may advance to management positions or teach at the post-secondary level. Those in public accounting firms can move through the ranks of senior staff to become managers and partners. In industry, they can become:

  • controllers
  • treasurers
  • chief financial officers
  • senior executives.

In government, accountants may be employed as:

  • budget officers
  • internal auditors
  • accounting managers
  • information systems managers
  • senior managers or executives.

Accountants are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1111: Financial auditors and accountants. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries: 

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 31,100 Albertans are employed in the Financial auditors and accountants occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 435 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As accountants form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for accountants.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 10, 2017

For information about the current CPA national salary survey, visit the CPA Alberta website.

Financial auditors and accountants
NOC code: 1111

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.23 $54.11 $34.23 $28.63
Overall $23.50 $65.18 $42.19 $40.30
Top $25.21 $101.44 $57.39 $60.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Transportation and Warehousing
Oil & Gas Extraction
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Utilities
Public Administration
Educational Services
Wholesale Trade
Business, Building and Other Support Services (aka Management, Administrative, and other Services)
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Construction
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Manufacturing
Retail Trade
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Accommodation & Food Services
Information, Culture, Recreation
Health Care & Social Assistance
Agriculture

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

37%
37%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

12%
12%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

2%
2%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Financial Management
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) website: www.cpaalberta.ca

Chartered Professional Accountants Westerm School of Business (CPAWSB) website: www.cpawsb.ca

 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 04, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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