The accounting field is rapidly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve can set your business up for long-term success. You can set yourself apart from the competition by continuing your education, obtaining industry certifications, and pursuing advanced degrees. Embracing new accounting technologies, such as cloud-based computing, can help you work faster, smarter, and more efficiently.
Degrees and Certifications
Though the accounting field in general doesn’t impose rigid educational requirements, having certain degrees and certifications can make you more marketable. When you’re the face of your accounting practice, touting your educational background and industry credentials is one way to inspire confidence in potential customers. A good first step is to obtain a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting from an accredited four-year university. From there, you have a few specialization options. The most recognized industry certification in Canada, and one that every accounting professional should pursue, is the Chartered Professional Accountant designation, which is the gold standard for accountants in Canada. When customers see CPA behind your name, they can be confident of your knowledge in auditing, financial reporting, taxation, and strategic accounting.
CPA Requirements and Returns
Becoming a CPA requires prerequisite coursework, and accredited universities design their undergraduate accounting degrees to meet these requirements. You must also have 30 months of relevant work experience. Once you’ve met these requirements, you can sit for a series of exams to earn the designation. The return on investment for obtaining the CPA designation can be high. Nielsen reported that the average annual compensation for Canadian CPAs in 2015 was $151,000, and the median compensation was $108,000. This compares to a median annual salary of $50,000 for accountants in general.
New technology trends are changing the face of accounting, and staying ahead of these trends keeps your business on the cutting edge of the industry. When customers hire out for accounting services, they’re looking for the latest technologies, and they may turn to a competitor if you don’t offer them. One of the biggest technological developments in accounting involves a shift to cloud-based servers. With the high volume of electronic documentation that accounting requires, the essentially limitless secure storage available in the cloud can make it easier than ever to streamline your processes and retain important documents. And with the ability to share access, multiple people, including you, your employees, and your clients, can access the same files even though you’re in different locations. Many cloud-friendly applications, such as QuickBooks, even allow you to collaborate with other remote users to make changes to a file or application in real time. Instead of driving an hour and a half to meet with a client to update the client’s books, you can schedule a conference call and do it online. By expanding your accounting knowledge with continuing education and the use of new technologies, you can stay ahead of your competitors and set your business up for success in the future.