What you need to know before hiring your next accountant
Unlike many other professionals, anyone can call themselves an accountant or bookkeeper. The term accountant is not reserved or in any way restricted. This does not mean that a non-designated accountant is not competent, it only means that they do not have to adhere to the standards of professional accountants.
Only Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) are recognised in Canada as Professional accountants. CPAs study for many years and are required to pass rigorous examinations before they can use their designations. Additionally, professional accountants are required to keep their knowledge up to date, which is closely monitored by the respective associations. Public accountants must go one step further and attend additional training and all CPAS are required to carry insurance. Every three years, a mandatory practice review is conducted by the associations to ensure the quality of the work performed meets the high standards that you have come to expect.
Looking for a qualified bookkeeper? Then you want a Certified Professional Bookkeeper or CPB. Like CPAs, CPB’s go through an extensive training process before they are recognised as Professional Bookkeepers. Both CPAs and CPBs require annual professional development and carry insurance. Additionally, they are bound to adhere to the standards and Ethical requirements of their respective associations.
Currently market demand for accountant and bookkeepers significantly exceeds the supply. While CPAs and CPB are regulated with what they can say and do, non designated accountant and bookkeepers are not.
With limited barriers to entry for non designated accountants and bookkeepers and high market demand for accounting services it is easy for anyone with any level of experience to start an accounting or bookkeeping company.
As a small business owner there is limited protection for you if you decide to work with someone other than a CPA/CPB.