CPA: Some Tips for Standing Out

Holding a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) title asset is already proof of a certain commitment. But beyond the title, what do you have to do land a job in the field?

“Demand is very high. There is currently a shortage of labour. And with this shortage there are roles such as accounting technicians that are in high demand,” explains Robert Favreau, president and CEO of the Magellan Group, a firm of expert recruiters.

The manager says that to stand out from the crowd you have to be ready, when starting with a company, to hold positions that are not entirely in line with CPA title asset studies. “You have to start somewhere, and it can be interesting for someone who wants to get a foot in the door of a company to open up to other positions,” he says. 

Versatility and openness
Even more important than skills and abilities on paper, having great interpersonal skills seems to be increasingly important for employers. “The profile often looks good on paper and it has to be demonstrated, but nothing replaces social skills,” says Mr. Favreau. Interpersonal skills, social aptitudes, curiosity about understanding how the company works and helping to meet the company’s needs – these are the criteria that employers are seeking.

Being able to deal with the company’s different sectors and demonstrate a capacity to engage in the workplace “with equal skills – these are the qualities that the employer is going to consider,” says the president of Magellan.

“The notion often exists of the ‘boring number cruncher’ but accountants today are invaluable in a company. You just have to be able to stand out, particularly by diversifying your profile,” he adds.1

Learn from the best
Robert Favreau notes the presence of many seniors in Quebec’s financial institutions in Quebec and believes that learning from experienced people could be an interesting asset. Taking an interest in their career, asking them questions and being guided by them from the outset is a good way to demonstrate commitment.

The president also advises being involved, from the beginning of studies in finance, in the community and building a network. “Attending events that revolve around the field’s issues, participating in committees – this could make a difference to an employer, who is seeking people who have an increasingly diverse career, and who have a significant capacity for interaction,” Mr. Favreau says.

Finally, mastering technologies is an essential skill to put forward as a CPA title asset. According to Magellan’s leader, close to 70% of companies spend part of their budget on technology. “Someone who studies accounting or finance will find it hard to plan a budget if they have not mastered the right tools,” says Mr. Favreau. It is an essential factor for standing out, he adds.

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