Accountants in Canada may have designations that offer a variety of specialties that offer expertise in a variety of different areas of accounting. Each discipline has its adherents and can provide excellent accounting services while some offer value added business consulting or management experience. Which accounting designation is the best for your needs depends on what your business requires or you seek in a career.
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)
The Accounting profession in Canada is broken into at least four groups, the first of which is the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). Chartered Accountants (CA) are seen to be the highest level of accountant in Canada. They are most often controllers and vice presidents of finance and specialize in senior management, advisory, financial, tax and assurance roles
Certified General Accountants (CGA)
Certified General Accountants (CGA), as their name suggests, are general accountants and are active in all areas of business and governmental accounting. Founded in 1908 they represent some 73,000 accountants in Canada and around the world, mostly in British Commonwealth countries.
Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA)
Members of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA) specialize in all facets of management and measurement and are found throughout manufacturing and auditing. They are experts in process, financial reporting and moving from the theoretical to real-world applications for business solutions.
Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA)
While not a separate accounting designation, the Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA) promotes accounting in Canada and is made up of accounting educators, professional accountants and others.
The group promotes excellence in accounting research and education in Canada.
Canadian accounting careers can take several paths to management.
The Chartered Accountant path can lead to the executive suites while the path for the CGA or CMA can lead to division management or business consulting.
Which accountant is the best fit for a business depends on what the goals may be and it is best to understand the benefits of each accounting discipline before making a choice.