With the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement making it easier to work across the EU and Canada, Ramona Dzinkowski offers a heads-up on employment opportunities
This article was first published in the April 2017 international edition of Accounting and Business magazine.
In February the EU ratified the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), opening markets and increasing opportunities for labour mobility between Canada and the EU. At a time when protectionist sentiment is alive and strong in some EU countries, this is a bold move. For Canada, it gives rise to a collective sigh of relief as the free flow of goods and services north-south is at risk.
So how might this affect ACCA members? According to the government of Canada, CETA’s temporary entry provisions will make it easier for highly skilled professionals and business people to work between the EU and Canada. Furthermore, the more ACCA members are exposed to Canadian clients, whether in their home country or while working temporarily in Canada, the greater the likelihood that Canadian-based employment opportunities will come their way.
At the same time, the Canadian labour market is tight for experienced finance professionals with specific skillsets, forcing Canadian companies to scoop up the talent as they find it. For example, the latest CFO Alliance Canada study asked CFOs what they saw as the most significant challenge in 2017 – attracting and retaining talent topped the list.
So here are a few facts about the Canadian employment landscape for accountants that ACCA members might find useful.
According to recent data from Payscale.com, over 675,000 finance and accounting professionals live in Canada. At any given time there are approximately 16,700 active job posts in the field and the average financial job takes 46 days to fill. The demand is heavily concentrated in Toronto – the financial hub of the country.
The financial language spoken in Canada is the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and most ACCA members will be technically prepared for closing the books under these standards. Those with oil and gas expertise will have a specific advantage as the Alberta oil patch reopens for business after a long and dismal downturn of oil prices. If you don’t mind the cold, Alberta is the place to be.
According to Payscale.com, CFOs in Calgary make the most money on average at C$165,000 (€117,138) per year. This compares with C$159,672 (€113,356) in Edmonton, C$151,776 (€107,750) in Toronto, C$150,494 (€106,840) in Vancouver and C$137,191 (€97,396) in Montreal. Each region also demands a slightly different skillset, for which a premium is paid. For example, in Edmonton it’s financial analysis; in Toronto, team leadership, business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and compliance (financial); in Calgary, senior financial management; and in Vancouver, strategic planning.
Meanwhile, the dominant trend in finance and accounting is the integration of digital tools and data analysis in many sectors across the Canadian economy, according to research carried out by Ranstad Interim Inc, a large recruiting firm based in Toronto. The ability to analyse big data is rapidly becoming a chief responsibility in many finance jobs.
ACCA members with experience in big data and predictive analysis will have a leg up and, although not as common as in US companies, experience in implementing cloud-based finance applications will be an asset.
Finally, ACCA members who can help Canadian companies through any regulatory, legal or tax complexities in certain regions in Europe will be highly sought after, as this was the number one problem area for Canadian companies entering new regions abroad.
Ramona Dzinkowski is a Canadian economist and editor-in-chief of
the Sustainable Accounting Review