What is the role of a CPA?

The CPA, or Chartered Professional Accountant, plays a key role in all financial sectors of a company. Whether in a business, an accounting firm, in the public service or even education and non-profit organizations, the CPA always adds value. Because of their expertise and solid training, these accounting professionals are in great demand by businesses of all sizes.

What is a CPA?

CPA is an acronym for Chartered Professional Accountant. All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. A CPA is a professional accountant who belongs to a professional body that has met and is held to the highest educational requirements in Canada.

The accountant is an essential profession at the heart of any business. CPAs are there to identify new financial opportunities, ensure reliable reporting, manage risk, and help a business sustain itself.

Having the support of a CPA gives entrepreneurs a head start throughout their careers. Whether it's to:

  • Develop a business plan;
  • Evaluate a company to buy or sell it;
  • Prepare a tax return that takes into account all allowable deductions and tax credits;
  • Develop reliable financial statements or;
  • Provide certification of financial statements to obtain a loan

The chartered accountant may be required to work in various organizations such as:

  • Corporations: In corporations, the CPA oversees bookkeeping, manages the financial department, and may be a treasurer or consultant. It is common to find that presidents and CFOs are CPAs.
  • Accounting Firms: In an accounting firm, a CPA can offer various services such as business start-up consulting, cost optimization, business valuation, business planning and financial projections, and process implementation and improvement. It is with professional firms that companies obtain financial certification services.
  • Public Service: In the public service, the CPA may have a variety of responsibilities and work with all branches of government. Their expertise allows them to guide financial planning and ensure financial control. The accountant who works for the government holds positions as an internal auditor, financial analyst or heads the financial department.
  • Teaching: The CPA can be part of the education circuit, passing on his or her knowledge to the next generation of decision makers. This includes teaching at the college and university level.
  • Non-profit organizations: In non-profit organizations, the CPA may act as treasurer or president. His or her expertise is useful in managing contributions, identifying tax benefits and ensuring transparent and accurate financial reporting.

How to become a CPA

To become a chartered professional accountant in Quebec, you must have a graduate diploma specialized in public accounting (DESS), pass the Common Final Examination (CFE) of the CPA Canada and complete a 24-month internship.

At the university level, a candidate is eligible to enroll in the DESS after the successful completion of a bachelor's degree in accounting sciences or business administration with a specialty in professional accounting.
The 24-month internship can be with a professional firm or in industry. A candidate who wishes to obtain the CPA title must complete the internship in a professional firm, with a minimum of 1,250 hours of work in financial auditing.

What does a CPA do?

In the field of accounting, the missions and services of a CPA are multiple and can be very different.

1. Tax planning and tax returns

The CPA can provide you with advice on how to reduce your business taxes or plan a transfer with the least possible tax impact. In your day-to-day operations, he or she can also help you document your records so that you have what you need in case of an audit by provincial or federal authorities.

2. Audit and review engagement

An external auditor can provide you with an audit or review engagement report that will meet regulatory requirements and those of your financial statement users. Such an assurance report not only attests to the reliability of the financial information, but can be used to highlight internal control or profitability issues that you can resolve with the accountant.

3. Management

Often overlooked, this ability makes the CPA capable of managing, assisting or overseeing the financial records and operations of a business on a daily basis. This may include tasks such as:

  • Budgeting
  • Cash management
  • Coordination of financial risk management

Cost management

For a manufacturing company, costing is essential to identify profitability risks before they occur. A CPA can help you:

  • Establish an optimal selling price
  • Optimize your merchandise production mix
  • Identify risk areas in the production process
  • Optimize direct labor time
  • Evaluate the productivity of your production line

4. Forensic accounting

Forensic accounting is a practice of financial auditing in instances of fraud or alleged fraud. CPAs perform analytical procedures and substantive testing and report to management, the board of directors, or the regulatory authority.
H2: The different roles and responsibilities of a CPA

The various roles and responsibilities of a CPA include:

  • Member of the financial management
  • Preparation of financial statements and other performance reports
  • Tax advice and services

If they have the necessary knowledge and skills, CPAs can be called upon to occupy different roles and have different responsibilities within an organization, whether it be a company, the public service, educational firm, an accounting firm or a non-profit organization.

Member of the financial management

The CPA's extensive knowledge of financial and economic matters makes him or her a perfect candidate for a position in finance management. In this role, he or she may oversee the reporting and approval of financial statements, work with the auditors, and lead on financing and investment issues.

Preparation of financial statements and other performance reports

Orderly bookkeeping is essential to the preparation of reliable financial statements. A CPA has the knowledge to do this or to supervise the team that does it for both entity consolidation and international operations. In addition, he or she is empowered to produce other reports related to financial performance, such as:

  • Costing analysis
  • Analysis of different revenue and cost centers
  • Analysis of the performance of subsidiaries

Tax advice and services

Having a CPA on your team also allows you to benefit from his or her expertise in tax returns and tax planning. Whether it's for the return itself, or to obtain a restructuring, the CPA can help you achieve your goals.

Need accounting services?

If you need accounting services, look no further. We are a young and dynamic company serving many clients such as Boulangerie Le Toledo and Oxio. In addition, Stamped is rethinking its role in accounting and all related services by combining its accounting expertise with artificial intelligence.

Stamped uses three steps to make your customer experience 100% online a smooth journey:

1 - Meet your dedicated CPA

Our team will respond to your questions within one business day. You can easily book a meeting with your dedicated account manager at any time for further assistance.

2 - Connect your accounting system

We integrate our system with the services you use like QuickBooks and Xero. Any document required in the process can be uploaded directly to the platform with our encrypted document sharing feature.

3 - Receive your financial statements

Each year, the system gets smarter and learns from your records to make the next year even more transparent and inform you of any issues! Stamped is propelling the field of compatibility into a new era by pairing great CPAs with artificial intelligence to give all of its clients a competitive tax advantage.

Schedule a meeting with a CPA

Alexandre Ouellet, Copywriter/Rédacteur

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