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A CA (Chartered Accountant) is a professional accountant who has earned the CA title through training and practical experience obtained from the CICA (Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants). The institute, which has over 66,000 members, conducts research into current business issues and sets accounting and auditing standards for all types of businesses. A CA is a complete professional in the field of Accountancy - informed in the subjects of Accountancy, Auditing, Business Management, Information Technology, Taxation, Corporate and Commercial Law, Financial Management, Economics and other linked subjects.
Chartered Accountants serve business clients by preparing, reviewing and evaluating financial statements, consulting, preparing budgets and tax returns and analyzing financial information in order to help them with business strategies, auditing services, management, and maximizing production. Chartered Accountants are recognized as leaders of the Canadian business society. The intense programs of education and training have shaped each CA to become an evident leader with financial expertise to help any business grow and succeed in society.
Becoming a CA
The career path to become a Chartered Accountant involves lots of dedication, schooling, and ability to take on the intensive programs and examinations. There are several ways to obtain the CA status. The most common process people go through in becoming a CA start off with enrolling in university. After they obtain a university degree (one that includes the Institute's specified 51 credit-hour requirement), they acquire employment in an office designated to train CA students, for an arranged period of 30 months. Many CA firms that have been recognized by the institute, must assist the students in the development of the essential knowledge and professional understanding of five main areas:
· generally accepted accounting principles and auditing standards
· ethics and public responsibilities
· computers and information technology
· income and other taxes
During their employment they must complete a one-week staff training program within the first 12 months of working in the designated training office. After they must successfully complete the School of Accountancy. It consists of two segments, a core-knowledge examination (CKE) and an end-of-School examination (ESE). The CKE must be successfully completed in order to attend the full-time segment of the School and an acceptable result on the CKE and the ESE must be achieved in order to attempt the UFE.
Finally the national Uniform Final Examination (UFE), an extremely difficult examination. Passing the exam, together with completion of the CA program's arranged practical experience requirements, will certify them as a chartered accountant and allow them to practice public accounting and to perform professional services.
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Auditing is the examination of an organizations financial statements and reporting on whether or not the results are fair. The auditing function of CA’s is becoming increasingly important as more clients are depending on their knowledge and expertise in reporting on financial statements. It’s also becoming more computerized thus creating less stress for the CA.
Budget analysts are responsible for developing and managing organizations financial plans. Most accountants entering this field find jobs in governments and private industries. Along with the knowledge of accountancy and business management, budget analysts require exceptional people skills because it involves lots negotiations and discussions.
The consulting aspect of public practice is also important. Chartered Accountants expertise helps businesses maximize profits while reducing manufacturing or service costs. Their knowledge and understanding of the economic market provide businesses with strategic advice that allows them to grow and expand their operations.
Financial accountants prepare financial statements based on general ledgers, trial balances, and control accounts. They are involved in important financial decisions such as mergers, acquisitions, company planning and long-term financial projections. This work requires a good understanding in both accounting and finance.
Management accountants are involved in decisions regarding capital budgeting and business analysis. Majority of decisions concern cost analysis, analysis of new contracts, control over expenses efficiently and structure of the organization. Many accountants involved in management accounting obtain top-ranked positions in million dollar corporations and industries. Their job is to lead and guide the company into prosperity and economic growth.
Tax accountants prepare corporate and personal income tax statements and plan tax strategies. This work requires a thorough understanding of economics and the tax legislation. The tax field of public practice has experienced significant increase recently as individuals and corporations increasingly depend on Chartered Accountants for expert advice due to the complications of tax legislation.
After several years of experience in business accounting and administration, experience in public practice and educational background, a CA will likely be working for a large corporation with a large salary. There is always a great demand for leaders to direct and improve the corporation and companies feel they can obtain that in a Chartered Accountant. All corporations have an accounting group, which prepares financial statements, tracks costs, handles tax issues, and works on international transactions.
Many corporation controllers are CA’s. A controller is an upper-level executive whose tasks include planning, coordinating and assessing all activities in accounting, auditing, financial control and budgeting. A controller is responsible for the organization of the management and supervising their decision-making. They also participate in devising the financial and administrative policies of the company. Soon enough it may eventually lead to positions such as Vice-President-Finance or Treasurer and even President.
There are also many opportunities for a Chartered Accountant in all levels of government. Federal and provincial departments regularly employ CA’s for such positions as treasurers, chief accountants, auditors, budget analysts, financial management officers and financial analysts. Government accountants prepare budgets, track costs and analyze financial statements. Most CA’s chose to work at firms or corporations other than for the government mostly because of the pay. They can achieve much more money than the government offers although the government provides many health and security benefits.
CA’s have lots of mobility and freedom. It’s quite easy for them to quit a job and find another one the next day since there is a constant demand for experienced CA’s. The pay involved in accounting is exceptionally good. The more a CA is experienced the greater the salary. Top CA’s easily make over $100,000 a year. Companies are willing to pay large amounts for their knowledge and expertise they possess. But not only are they willing, they must pay since a company especially a large corporation would fall apart without a highly-qualified Chartered Accountant, a leader of the Canadian business society.