[Guide] The sentence, "Men study computers and women study accounting" reflects the ways that many new immigrants or international students in Canada choose majors or employment. We talked about the employmentprospects of studying computer science in Canadabefore. In this article, we’ll look at accounting. description

Introduction to Accounting in Canada

Accounting is a business language. If you are familiar with this language, you can understand whether the company's operating status is healthy or not through the company's books (of expenses and incomes). Not only that, in Canada, every February all companies must file taxes to Canada Revenue Agencythrough their accounting for the entire year’s expenditures and incomes. That's why you often hear people say, "What company doesn't need an accountant?”

Business related articles: Canadian Human Resource Management Program Rankings and Employment Prospects | What are the jobs like?

Employment prospects / directions after graduation in accounting

Accounting has always been one of the most popular Canadian business majors that Chinese students apply for. In this article, UtoCanada analyzes the employment prospects of the accounting industry.The popularity of the accounting major is caused by many factors:
The first is that many Chinese parents themselves know well about the accounting profession or are engaged in the accounting profession, and think that the there is a wide range of possible employment;
Secondly, almost all universities in Canada offer accounting majors, and the courses do not require students to have scientific knowledge. Thus, it is also favourable to students applying;
Furthermore, whether in Canada or China, the jobs in the accounting industry are generally stable with decent pay.

》》》 Canadian Accounting Certificates: the CA, CGA and CMA (Before 2013)

Graduates from accounting majors take the CPA exam during or after their studies.
Before 2013, in Canada, the internationally recognized accountant qualification certificates were mainly CA (Chartered Accountant), CGA (Certified General Accountant), and CMA (Certified Management Accountant):

  • CMA is the abbreviation of Certified Management Accountants.As the name suggests, a CMA's main training goal is to engage in management accounting. It is not the same as the being an ordinary accountant in China. From the scope of the CMA, it is generally for training managers, just like the MBA, but realistically, who can become a manager as soon as they graduate?
  • CA是Chartered Accountants的缩写meaning that the government charters them. It has an absolute advantage in Canada. The four major Canadian firms are all CA firms.
  • CGA is the abbreviation of Certified General Accountants.The scope of work is essentially similar to CA, but because it is of a lower status, careers are mainly aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, and firms that are smaller than the Big Four, Big Five and Big Six. To be a CGA, candidates are required to have Canadian permanent residence or citizenship. It also requires three years of accounting work experience in Canada.

In terms of salary, new CAs get paid more than CGAs. In a company, a CA is generally more valued than CGA. As seniority increases, this distinction will eventually disappear. But regardless of CA or CGA, in order to obtain a certificate, you need to have a certain number of years and level of work experience (this experience needs to be approved by a certified accountant). CGA requires 2 years of intermediate or above experience, and a CA must have work experience in a CA firm.
However, these differences are no longer important. Why? Because three designations have merged into a single national body!

》》》 Merging of CA, CGA and CMA: the Emergence of the CPA (Before 2013)

After 2013, the global recognition of its members has been improved, and competition from other national associations (especially ACCA in the United Kingdom, currently the world’s largest international certified public accountant association), the 3 designations, CA, CGA, and CMA have been merged into a single national body – theCPA(Chartered Professional Accountant). CPA is now a part ofthe Global Accounting Alliance and has signed agreements with members of the most recognized accounting associations in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and other countries. Therefore, the value of the CPA certificate is very high.
After getting the CPA, there are still many graduates who obtain more subdivided qualification certificates in a variety of different fields as auditors, taxation specialists, or financiers, etc.

》》Accounting jobs after graduation

Certified accountants can work in accounting firms, provincial and municipal government departments, non-profit institutions (such as industry associations, charities, hospitals, etc.), banks, financial institutions, and small and medium-sized companies:
Accountants, budget analysts, tax experts, credit rating personnel, business appraisers, auditors, financial accountants, management accountants, cost accountants, statistical accountants, cashiers, clerical staff, savings credit intermediaries, etc.

》》》 Chinese students looking for accounting jobs in Canada

For Chinese students who have just graduated, they face huge competition. Finding an accounting job is not so easy. In Canada, if you plan to enter a more formal accounting company, there are several key aspects:
The first key aspect is internship and experience: we mentioned in "In-Depth Analysis of Employment Prospects for Canadian Computer IT Majors," "when comparing with academic qualifications, Canadian companies actually value work experience more." The accounting industry is no different.
The second key aspect is language
The third key aspect is the proficiency of accounting tools (accounting major with a minor in computers)
The fourth key aspect is obviously, your academic qualifications, university grades, school reputation, and so on.
In the case of highly populated accounting majors every year, internship experience and work experience have gradually become the most important employment standards. After all, if a company hires an inexperienced graduate, they need to spend money to train them, and how many companies are willing to give up part of their finances to an inexperienced graduate?

》》》 The difference between Canadian accounting and Chinese accounting?

There are huge differences in accounting in different countries. Here, we will talk about China and Canada.
1.Different teaching materials are used;
2.Different levels of learning and implementation of international accounting;
3.Different job titles / certification


All Canadian universities offer undergraduate accounting majors, most of which are set up in business schools, under the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. The first and second year of the program focuses on basic business theory. Students begin specialized courses in accounting in the third year. Some schools have opened interdisciplinary accounting majors, the purpose is also to increase the employability of accounting students. For example, the University of Waterloo’s Accounting/Financial Management, Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy (ACCA), and Biotechnology/Chartered Professional Accountancy.
Required courses for accounting majors:

  • Introductory Financial Accounting
  • Intermediate Accounting – Assets
  • Intermediate Accounting – Equities
  • Cost Accounting
  • Taxation Accounting
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Auditing
  • Advanced Managerial Accounting

Recommended Canadian Institutions

Accounting is a business major. According to thelatest ranking of Canadian majors published by MacLean’sthe following are the top 10 business schools. Some schools have paid internship opportunities(i.e. Co-op, which can help you get employed after graduation). Undergraduate accounting programs:

  • &nbspToronto Universities(SCARBOROUGH Campus), Management and Accounting (Co-op): The University of Toronto has a high academic reputation in various professional disciplines, and the accounting major is no exception. The accounting major of the University of Toronto is called the Master of Management & Professional Accounting, or "MMPA." Established in 1988, this major is the only master's degree in management accounting in Canada and it belongs to the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. The courses offered by this major include: masters management courses, all accounting courses required for the professional accountant certification exam, and a co-op program. According to the different learning backgrounds of the students, the major is divided into the 27-month program (for students without accounting undergraduate experience), 24-month program (for students with accounting foundation), and 16-month program (prepares students for both the CPA and CFA Designations). During the two-year study period, the school will provide co-op opportunities of 1-4 months for each school year, helping students earn income to reduce the pressure of tuition fees and meet the practical experience requirements within 30 months for certification as a CPA. Completing two co-op internships can bring students about $20,000 CAD (RMB 120,000) in income.
  • &nbspUniversity of Waterloo As one of the two most outstanding majors in the University of Waterloo, the accounting major is highly-reputable.
  • McMaster University Business-DeGroote School of Business-Accounting
  • University of Ottawa Telfer School of Management - Accounting (4 years)
  • Carleton University ACCOUNTING
  • Brook University Bachelor of Accounting: The most well known major at Brock University is accounting. It is one of only four universities in Canada awarding master's degrees in accounting and has a high degree of recognition in the Canadian CPA industry. Its accounting major ranks among the top in Canada, and its graduates are very popular among Canadian and American industrial and commercial networks, with the highest graduate employment rate in the country.
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver Campus) – Accounting
  • Simon Fraser Accounting


College Accounting Programs with Co-op Placement

Admission requirements for Canadian accounting majors (international students)


  • High school diploma
  • IELTS Band 6.0
  • High school (or grade 12) math and English grades


  • High school diploma
  • IELTS Band 6.5
  • High school (or grade 12) math and English grades
  • Other (Some universities have special requirements, such as Supplemental Application )


  • Undergraduate degree diploma
  • IELTS Band 6.5
  • High school (or grade 12) math and English grades
  • GMAT

At present, the graduate accounting programs of various universities have raised their requirements on TOEFL and GMAT scores. Study-abroad experts in Canada pointed out that many students have the misconception that having a GMAT score of 700 is considered a high, but they have not considered that this score is low when compared with others, as there are actually many students with scores of 740 and 750. From this perspective, the score is not an advantage. So, we hope to point out that these scores are actually crucial to helping you stand out from the rest.

Does the accounting profession meet the Canadian Experience Class immigration requirements?

The short answer is: some do, some do not.
The new Ministerial Instructions MI-10 for CEC, implemented on November 9, 2013, pointed out that the work experience in six NOC B occupations can no longer be used to qualify for the CEC, including: accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311).
What about those positions that meet the requirements?
The following are the accounting occupations ofNOC 0, A, and Bdefined by CIC:

  • accounting and financial control chief 0111
  • accounting and financial control director 0111
  • accounting clerks supervisor 1212
  • accounting controller 1111
  • accounting department manager 0111
  • accounting director 0111
  • accounting firm manager 0125
  • accounting firm manager – business services 0125
  • accounting manager 0111
  • accounting manager – financial services department 0111
  • accounting office manager 0111
  • accounting records manager 0114
  • accounting section head 1212
  • accounting supervisor 1212
  • accounting teacher – college level 4021
  • accounting teacher – secondary school 4031

UtoCanada’s Thoughts

There are many opportunities in the accounting job market in Canada, but why do new graduates and immigrants with accounting backgrounds repeatedly encounter obstacles when looking for accounting jobs? In fact, the current employment prospects of the North American accounting profession are not as optimistic as new immigrants think, because the competition is fierce. The number of students in accounting majors has remained high for several consecutive years, causing the total number of accounting graduates to rise to a new level.
If you would still like to study accounting, then the following are the suggestions that we put together based on the views of many senior accountants:

》》》 First, learn about the various accounting certificates in advance

Accounting graduates should research the various accounting qualifications after their second year, and actively prepare to accumulate practical experience and take the related courses. As mentioned above, the prerequisite for employment is to be a certified accountant. Therefore, many students will engage in some accounting-related work after graduation, while having been preparing for the CPA in the process.

》》》 Second, accumulate accounting work experience in advance

Whether you are an undergraduate, college, or even graduate student, it is best to take advantage of internship opportunities before graduation, so that after graduation, you will be confident enough to be employed. In addition to language skills, lack of accounting work experience in Canada is the biggest problem for new graduates and new immigrants looking for jobs. If you do not have Canadian accounting work experience, employers will not take your application seriously, and you will not receive interview opportunities. Work experience in Canada is a prerequisite for most employers when recruiting accounting personnel. No employer is willing to spend money on extra training.

The methods of accumulating accounting work experience are: 1. School co-op (for students); 2. Co-op programs from adult learning centres (for new immigrants); 3. Practice Firm (government-funded virtual companies, providing virtual customers with virtual services. The purpose of the services are to help inexperienced individuals find work and gain Canadian work experience); 4. Co-op (accounting employment trainings and co-op programs provided by some accounting firms, such asA& J. R. & Associates )5, getting employed through employment agencies (proper agencies know how to focus on one industry/field. The most powerful recruitment agency in the accounting industry isRobert Half andAccountemps. Accountemps focuses on low-end temporary short-term work. Therefore, it is easier to apply.)

》》》 Third, minor programs that can add value to your accounting degree

If you want to stand out from the crowd, in addition to the outstanding qualifications of this major, the most important thing is a minor or a second degree. Even if your GPA is a B, rather than an A, having once minored in a program that can compliment accounting, such as in computers, the employment opportunities after graduation will be greatly improved.

》》》 Fourth, improve your English through various methods before graduation

The biggest obstacle faced by new graduates and new immigrants in finding an accounting job is in language proficiency and accounting work experience in Canada. Therefore, these two should be the top priority. While studying,make use of the resources available to you, make more local friends, work part-time in an English environment, listen to English Podcasts, listen to audiobooks and other methods to improve English

》》》 Fifth,there is no conflict between the background college and whether you continue to study

A high degree of education means a longer duration of study. People who spent less time studying for a diploma rather than an undergraduate/graduate degree, spend more time getting work experience. In a country where there is little academic discrimination, 4 years of study versus 2 years of study + 2 years of work does not make much of a difference. Finding a job in Canada is not just about what certificate you hold. The CPA is just like an admission ticket, but you will also be required to have work experience as a part of your qualifications.

In fact, it is common quite common for Canadians to study a higher degree while on the job or after, and the company pays while the government gives a reimbursement (the Saskatchewan government reimburses 75%, although it is unclear whether is a cap amount...). These employees already have a very good job before studying for a higher degree instead of looking for a job after they earn the credentials. The employer of my former boss, the director of a department in a well-known Canadian company, is currently studying for an MBA as a college graduate.

No matter how hard it is to find a job, there are those who are fortunate. As long as you understand the characteristics of the Canadian accounting job market, know the strategies of finding accounting jobs in Canada, and apply the right tactics, you will be able to find a decent accounting job soon after graduation.

Special thanks to:

  1. "Tips for Finding Accounting Jobs in Canada." http://www.training4accountants.com/post/e58aa0e68bbfe5a4a7e689bee4bc9ae8aea1e5b7a5e4bd9ce79a84e68a80e5b7a7.aspx. Accessed 28 Apr. 2018.
  2. "Analysis of Canadian Accounting Undergraduate Majors (Canada Study Abroad) _Canada-Study Abroad_SinaBlog." http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_66d97aa60102v0d6.html. Accessed 28 Apr. 2018.
  3. "How to Choose Between the CA, CGA, and CMA." http://www.training4accountants.com/post/e58aa0e68bbfe5a4a7e4bc9ae8aea1e8818ce7a7b0e6af94e8be83.aspx. Accessed 28 Apr. 2018.
  4. “加拿大会计和国内会计的区别 .” 11 Oct. 2017, http://www.eic.org.cn/News/Detail/81A4vTBkDkasZOD05J6eaQ. Accessed 28 Apr. 2018.
  5. "11 Fastest Ways to Improve English Abroad – Willie Jiang." https://wefocus.ca/resources/ways-to-improve-english/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2018.