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Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Nova Scotia

The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) projects that in Nova Scotia, business, finance and administration jobs, which is the occupational category that includes accountants, will grow by 1.5 percent between the years 2009 and 2014. An estimated 1,214 new jobs in this sector are expected to become available during this period. Professional occupations, such as that of accountant and financial auditor, will contribute most to the growth of this sector and by themselves will experience a much higher growth rate of 5.2 percent during this period.

Becoming an accountant in Nova Scotia involves a college degree and often includes pursuing optional certification. Performing audits or reviews of financial statements requires a license obtained from the Public Accountants Board of Nova Scotia. For those not practicing public accounting, no license is necessary in the province. Licensed public accountants are employed at “Big Four” international accounting firms with a presence in Nova Scotia such as Deloitte and Ernst & Young, both with offices in Halifax, as well as at smaller public accounting firms like Gerald Walsh Associates, also located in Halifax. Provincial government entities also employ accountants in various capacities. Employers of government accountants in Nova Scotia include the Municipality of the County of Colchester and the Eastern Mainland Housing Authority in New Glasgow.

Job Trends for Accountants in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is considered the gateway to North America and is a major global shipping center with access to both European and U.S. markets. Where there is big business and international commerce, there are major opportunities for accountants. Nova Scotia is the largest marketer of biofuels and biodiesel in Canada. Atlantec BioEnergy Corporation in Midford, producer of ethanol, electricity, and liquid fertilizer from sugar beets, is based in the province and is a leading employer of cost and capital accountants, financial controllers, management accountants, and internal auditors.

Nova Scotia is also home to 40 percent of Canada’s military assets. Accordingly, some of the world’s leading security, defense, and aerospace companies can be found here. These include General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, IMP Group, and Pratt & Whitney, all of which are located in either Halifax or Dartmouth.

The trade publication, Global Services, consistently ranks Halifax among the top 50 North American cities for information technology and business process outsourcing. The international information technology companies that have chosen to locate facilities here and that are recognized as leading industry employers of accountants in the province, include Research in Motion in Bedford, Xerox in Dartmouth, as well as IBM and Unisys, both in Halifax.

Nova Scotia Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

Working in Canada, a resource provided by the Government of Canada, lists the average salaries for accountants working in various parts of Nova Scotia, as of 2010. Halifax area accountants make the most, averaging $68,224 annually. The next highest paid accountants in the province work in Cape Breton (including the town of Sydney) and make an average of $66,560 per year. North Shore accountants, including the town of Truro, average $61,318 per year. The average accountant working in the Annapolis Valley area (including Kentville) makes $60,257 annually. Southern Nova Scotia, including the town of Bridgewater, also pays its accountants an average yearly salary of $60,257.

A survey by the Chartered Accountants of Canada found that the average CA working in Nova Scotia earned $103,636 in 2009. This compensation could climb to $150,000 annually. CAs who own their own businesses earned an average of $200,000 annually, with the highest earners making an average of $304,348.


Salary information compiled by Working in Canada

Nova Scotia Tax Laws in the News

Taxes in Nova Scotia are among the highest in Canada, and some residents are questioning whether tax revenue is really going toward road improvements and other infrastructure improvements in the province. As the price of a litre of gas reached $1.31 this week in Halifax (July 2011), some are wondering if the province is collecting more tax revenue than necessary to finish road work. Currently, the tax on gasoline is 15 percent, and two thirds of that goes to the provincial Government, while the remainder goes to the federal government. A proposal has been made which would require the government to report on the amount of taxes collected from gas and diesel sales quarterly. This would include the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

Other Nova Scotia residents are complaining that their taxes are being used to market the province in the tourism industry. The government budgeted $15.5 million this year to market Nova Scotia to tourists, but the number of visitors the province has received in the first four months of 2011 has declined in comparison to 2010. Many say this decline is attributed to the fact that prices for consumer goods and services in the province are noticeably higher than in other parts of Canada, discouraging tourism.






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