The best-paying accounting jobs in Canada


By Sabine Vollmer

Hard-working, well-compensated and individualistic in their approach to work/life balance. That’s the overall picture a professional compensation study paints of Canadian accountants.

The 2013 survey, which polled more than 20,000 members of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada), found that more than half of all respondents earned more than CAD 105,000 (about US $94,000) in 2012.

Forty-three per cent of respondents said they often worked outside business hours; more than 80% said they did so at least occasionally.

The survey also found that accountants in Canada are split over how important the job is in their lives. Forty-two per cent said they chose a job with lower compensation to allow for work/life balance, and 36% said they didn’t.

Based on the survey responses, CPA Canada determined which accounting jobs were the best paid:

  • Entrepreneurial professional accountants who owned non-accounting businesses were the most successful with average compensation of just over CAD 300,000 ($268,000). Owners of accounting firms earned on average CAD 185,000 ($165,000).
  • Professional accountants in Alberta earned the highest average compensation at CAD 177,000 ($158,000), followed by their colleagues in Ontario (CAD 145,000; $129,500) and British Columbia (CAD 142,000; $127,000).
  • In industry, professional accountants employed in holding and conglomerate companies earned the most at CAD 259,000 ($231,500), followed by their colleagues in oil and gas companies.
  • Professional accountants with the titles of senior vice president, business owner/partner or president/CEO earned the highest overall compensation (more than CAD 300,000 on average).
  • Amongst accountants who have Canadian professional designations but work overseas, those in Hong Kong receive the highest average compensation at CAD 364,000 ($325,000), followed by those working in Switzerland at CAD 307,000 ($274,000).

Related CGMA Magazine content:

Internal Auditors Get Modest Raises in US, Canada”: US organisations gave internal auditors slightly more generous base-salary increases in the past 12 months, but the size of raises fell slightly in Canada, according to a new survey report.

More North American Companies Rewarding Internal Auditors With Pay Raises, Perks”: A greater percentage of companies are giving raises to the internal audit department, reflecting the increasing role in recent years as regulatory demands have also increased. An Institute of Internal Auditors survey also showed that those with specialty skills were likely to be paid more.

Sabine Vollmer (svollmer@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.

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