The accounting and finance sectors in Canada are large, multifaceted industries that have contributed significantly to the sustained employment growth seen across Canada in recent years. Most accounting and finance jobs in Canada are located in the country’s biggest cities: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. In fact, Toronto is currently the second largest financial centre in North America, with the city sitting top of the class in a number of metrics, including being the most attractive centre for FinTech.
Given the size and depth of the accounting and finance sectors in Canada, it should come as no surprise that there are many opportunities. But how can newcomers to Canada access these lucrative jobs?
Much like many aspects of life in Canada as a newcomer, the better prepared you are, the greater the likelihood of you landing an accounting or finance job that you can thrive in. But what does this mean? First, it’s important to recognise that many positions in the financial and accounting sectors in Canada are regulated and may require you to have your qualifications and credentials recognized before you can start to work in your new home — more about that below.
In addition, finance and accounting jobs in Canada are quite competitive and you need to make sure you prepare properly for interviews and, if possible, network in advance of any application you make — again, more on that later.
Finally, you will need to know where to look for the accounting and finance jobs you may wish to apply for, right? To assist in this respect, we’ve partnered with Clarity Recruitment, an expert recruitment company specialising in accounting and finance roles in Canada. You’ll find a short contact form for Clarity Recruitment below, but before uploading your resume, please enjoy the information and advice on this page — doing so may help you land your dream job as an accountant or financial specialist in Canada!
Canadian finance and accounting job credentials for foreigners
Are balanced books something you dream about at night? Do you believe that the only absolute truth lies with numbers on a spreadsheet? More importantly, are you currently working in an accounting or finance role in your home country and considering a move to Canada? If so, then you need to make sure you’ve got all the details needed to ensure a smooth transition to an accounting career in Canada. Top of this list is credential recognition.
The good news about working in Canada as an accountant or in finance is that there are many lucrative positions that will further your career. The bad news is that accounting and some finance roles (particularly those with auditing responsibilities) are regulated occupations and, as a result, require foreign qualification recognition before you can commence working in these occupations in Canada. The foreign qualification recognition process depends on your occupation and the province where you intend to work.
For instance, if you want to be an accountant in Ontario, then you can either obtain your foreign qualification recognition through the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA) or the Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario. However, if you wanted to pursue a position as a financial officer in Alberta, you won’t need to have your qualifications recognised.
It’s important to note that having your qualifications recognised and obtaining a licence to practise your occupation in Canada can take time, money, and effort. On some occasions it can take a year or more, and could cost several thousand dollars to obtain a licence, but it really depends on the province you are hoping to work in, as well as your occupation. Nonetheless, if you are committed to pursuing your career as an accountant or financier in Canada then you should be able to navigate this obstacle and eventually make great progress in your accounting or finance career in Canada.
You can learn more about foreign credentials and qualification recognition in Canada here, while this helpful tool can pinpoint regulatory body responsible for your foreign qualification recognition.
Provincial Accounting Credential Recognition Bodies in Canada
Applications and interview advice for finance and accounting roles in Canada
Does your finance or accounting resume read like this? Maintained bookkeeping and other financial records. Or maybe it reads like this: Handled multiple business streams at once and affiliated companies.
If so, it’s time to turn your resume into a document that shines. To do that, make it speak in terms of situations faced, actions taken, and what those actions achieved for the company in terms of KPIs. Here we go:
Solely responsible for managing the corporate accounts of all aeronautical clients at our firm. By introducing a consolidated, efficient set of guidelines for accounting clerical staff and ensuring adoption, time spent on internal reporting was reduced by 40 percent within one year, while enhancing the quality and value of reports.
Doesn’t this looks more like a smart accountant or innovative financial expert, ready to solve problems for a Canadian business? Now, please don’t copy the above example into your resume. Instead, review every single bullet point of your resume and re-evaluate it according to this formula:
Problem/Situation >> Action taken >> Results/Achievement
Then make the necessary changes (and believe us when we say those changes are necessary).
When you take this advice on board, then you should expect to land an interview for an accounting or finance opening sooner rather than later. When you do, it’s important to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible. To achieve this goal we recommend that you follow these top five tips:
- Be concise with your answers. Highlight your achievements but don’t ramble. Use your resume as a reference point.
- Ensure that you research the company you are interviewing for thoroughly. Show the manager or hiring manager that you’ve undertaken the necessary research about the company, but don’t show off.
- When you’re asked “why do you want to work for us?”, make sure you don’t talk about what you want. First, talk about their needs.
- When it comes time to list the attractive and unattractive aspects of the job description, list three or more attractive factors (for example: exciting opportunity, salary, remote working opportunities) and only one minor unattractive factor.
- Refer to past experiences that show you’ve had success in solving previous employer problems that may be similar to those of the prospective employer.
These are just some of the tips that will help you ace an interview.
Toronto: Canada’s financial and accounting hub
As well as being home to the reigning NBA champions (Go Raptors!) and boasting one of the most diverse and multicultural populations in all of North America, Toronto is also one of the continent’s most important financial hubs. So, if you’re looking to further your career in the finance or accounting sectors in Canada, then Toronto should be close to the top of your Canadian destination wish-list. But what makes Toronto such an attractive proposition for newcomers with a background in finance or accounting?
First of all, Toronto benefits from its location. As Brexit continues to confound and stymie Britain’s social and economic potential, and with the United States lurching from one volatile political scandal to the next, it should come as no surprise that Canada, and Toronto as its primary financial hub, is benefitting. Canada was recently deemed the most stable banking system of all G7 countries, and Toronto is a big reason for this upturn. A recent report found that Toronto is the most attractive city in North America for FinTech, and between 2013 and 2018 the city was the fastest-growing technology market in North America, with an increase of approximately 54 percent, or 80,000 new jobs.
Similarly, at 8.3 percent in 2018, the percentage of Torontonians (many of whom are newcomers) working in the financial sector versus total employment numbers in the city was higher than London (6.5 percent) and New York (6.4 percent). Moreover, accounting graduates will be pleased to hear that Toronto is home to the headquarters of the so-called ‘big five’ Canadian banks, all of which are in the world’s top 40 banking institutions.
Finally, accounting and finance salaries in Toronto are among the highest in Canada, meaning that there is ample opportunities for accountants and financial specialists to earn very competitive salaries for their work. More on that below.