Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Québec
According to Desjardins Economic Studies, during the past decade, so many jobs were created in Québec’s financial industry that growth in that sector was faster than the growth of Québec’s entire economy. The importance of the financial industry to Québec’s economy and to the global financial chain has thus increased. Because of restrictive legislation, few foreign corporations have entered Québec’s retail banking market, which has allowed local banks to dominate the province’s financial industry.
Major banks and financial services cooperatives headquartered in Québec that employ financial auditors and accountants at various levels include Desjardins Group in Levis and Montreal, as well as the National Bank of Canada and the Laurentian Bank of Canada, both of which are located in Montreal. Property and casualty insurers housed within Québec include Groupe Promutuel and La Capitale, both in Québec City. Québec City is also home to personal insurers like Industrial Alliance and SSQ. Asset managers located in Montreal include Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, PSP Investments, Fonds de solidarité FTQ i, and Fondaction in Québec City. The Montreal Exchange (TMX Group) is also a major player in the financial market in Québec and, indeed, all of Canada.
Québec’s most ambitious study to become Chartered Accountants (CAs), Certified General Accountants (CGAs), or Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), so as to be able to serve the booming banking and financial services industry here. Other accreditations available to accounting professionals in Quebec include Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Credit Professional (CCP) and Certified Payroll Manager (CPM). Still many earn a college degree and choose to work as accountants without specialty designations or licenses.
Opportunities exist for accountants throughout Québec in various industries including tourism, food production, and the pharmaceutical industry. The headquarters of the famous performing arts group Cirque du Soleil is in Montreal. The corporate headquarters of the Canadian Salt Company (also known as Morton Salt) is in Pointe Claire, and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has corporate offices in Montreal and Québec City. These diverse industry leaders are counted among the major employers of corporate managerial accountants in the province.
Québec Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts
Robert Half International reported in 2010 that the typical public accountant salary in Montreal ranged between $52,479 to $65,598. In Québec City, salaries for public accountants ranged from $45,492 to $56,865. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) conducted a salary survey in 2009 and found that the mean annual compensation for a CA owning his or her own business in Québec was $139,855. CAs in Québec who did not own accounting practices of their own earned salaries that ranged between $126,923 and $140,000.
Working in Canada, a resource provided by the Government of Canada, reports that the highest demand for accountants in Québec currently exists in the Montreal area. Other areas in Québec in which accountants are in demand include Québec City, Bécancour, Drummondville, Victoriaville, Brossard, Granby, Longueuil, Saint-Hyacinthe, and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
Salary information compiled from CA Professional Compensation Survey: Québec: 2009
Québec Tax Laws in the News
Québec has the lowest tobacco tax of any province in Canada, and has not experienced many increases since 2003 due to efforts to offset purchases of cut-rate contraband cigarettes. The Québec Coalition for Tobacco Control, which is vying for tobacco tax increases, says that because tobacco prices are less than they were five years ago, the increased cost to consumers that would result from a tax increase would not create a new incentive for smokers to purchase contraband cigarettes.
In other tax news in the province, a judge in the Federal Court of Canada has ordered 151 Québec cities and towns to furnish detailed information on payments to contractors and consultants from 2007 to 2010. With many scandals involving the construction industry and public works costs in Québec, more and more municipalities in the province are being required by the Canada Revenue Agency to provide such information. This does not just affect larger Québec cities like Montreal, as smaller towns like Sainte Petronille have also been targeted.