General accounting careers

Chief accountant, accountant, treasurer are different roles existing within a general accounting service. 


Accountant and chief accountant
  • Define and control accounting material related to internal and external specifications
  • Supervise and assist in producing the financial statements
  • Analyze, check and present accounting information
  • Optimize production methods
  • Assist the budgeting process
  • Supervise the accounting system
  • Track accounts receivable and payable
  • Make sure that certification and tax constraints are observed
  • Assist managers
  • Responsible for recruiting, training and team management for accounting staff

Since April 2012 in Québec, the three orders (CA, CMA and CGA) were unified to form the Ordre des Comptables Professionnels Agréés (CPA) du Québec.

Students who complete one of these programs before this date and have obtained either the CPA, CA, CAP, CMA or CPA, CGA designation, will use this designation during a ten-year period beginning on May 16,2012.

Depending on their training, accountants will be more likely to be responsible for certain accounting tasks:

  • Auditing financial statements
  • Developing financial strategies
  • Detecting fraud
  • Analyzing production cost
  • Business valuations
  • Certification
  • Compiling and auditing financial statements
  • Tax and estate planning
  • Controls and procedures
  • Taxes, taxation
  • Business valuations
  • Organizing and integrating management information
  • Strategic and financial management
  • Improving business processes
  • Analyzing production cost

Table source: Les Affaires, March 6, 2002

For more information about professional accounting associations:

Training file- Professional certification

  • Be in charge of cash flows and balances: manage short-term financing and investments, determine the cash position, balance accounts
  • Take care of operating cash
  • Manage financial risks: liquidity, exchange and interest rate risk, credit risk with respect to financial partners, countries or customers
  • Promote the company’s image to the financial community and maintain business relations with commercial banks to facilitate financing procedures, as necessary
  • See to the coherence of all financial information (annual report)
  • Responsible for recruiting, training and team management for accounting and financial staff


  • University degree in accounting studies, finance or a related field; a Bachelor’s degree may be required
  • Certification from a recognized professional accounting (e.g. CPA, CPA,CA, CPA,CMA, CPA,CGA) or finance (e.g. CFA, TMAC) association may be required
  • Proficiency with office software, integrated management software (e.g. PeopleSoft, SAP) and accounting software: ACCPAC, Accountant’s Drill, Acomba, Simply Accounting, ProTaxprep, etc.
  • Good knowledge of theories and generally accepted accounting principles
  • Accounting firm experience may be an asset


  • Organized
  • Analytically minded
  • Integrity and thoroughness
  • Negotiating skills
  • Good teamwork and personnel management skills


Accounting => Chief accountant => Accounting manager => Chief financial officer

A professional designation (e.g. CFA, CPA, CPA,CA, CPA,CMA, CPA,CGA) facilitates moving up the ladder.


Consult Accounting – finance salaries section or use the salary calculator

2016 perspectives (source Robert Half and Stats Canada 2013)

Demand is especially strong for those with at least three years of experience and an accounting designation. Many firms that lost midlelevel staff in recent years due to cutbacks or attrition are eager to groom new hires for future leadership roles.

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