Go west! Or east, or north, or south!

One of the great things about this accounting profession I’m in is the multitude of opportunities available to travel and work abroad, given that many large firms here in Canada are international.

I was just reading an article in BusinessWeek about KPMG, where the head of campus recruiting was under the impression that their international exchange program was something that sets them apart from about a dozen other international firms.

I’m psyched about heading somewhere else to work for a little while eventually. For the time being I’ll be staying put, after all I don’t have my CA yet.

One of my seminar leaders at the School of Accountancy went to London for a year or so and had a blast. It was funny though, because he was Canadian for some reason they felt he was a perfect fit for their US GAAP clients, even though there are a ton of differences between Canadian GAAP and American standards.

In no particular order, here are where I’m most interested in going, when I get a chance:

  • Shanghai
  • London
  • New York
  • Berlin
  • Tokyo

In what other job you can get right out of university do you get this type of opportunity?


Accounting is prestigious

A recent Harris Poll has concluded that 47% of Americans see accounting as having “considerable to great” prestige, and another 40% of the population attributing “some prestige” to the profession. Although it isn’t clear whether you have to have a professional designation to be considered prestigious.

Firefighters, doctors and nurses are in the lead with a lot more respondents (63, 58, and 55% respectively) giving those jobs great prestige ratings. I guess that doesn’t really surprise me.

Dan at Tick Marks alerted me to the survey, and he’s got a good point: “The medium-low prestige rating may reduce the number of teenagers considering accounting as a career choice.” Friggin’ teenagers.


School of Accountancy through July 4

Posting may be infrequent over the next few weeks as I focus on the School of Accountancy, which started yesterday and doesn’t end until July 4. It’s being held at York University‘s Keele Campus in North York (Toronto).

It consists of classes every day, two practice exams this Friday and the following Friday, and the final exam at the end. I’m not the only blogger who’s there either!

The School of Accountancy curriculum provides for the development and enhancement of required CA competencies through integration and application of technical knowledge. It is also fundamental to the development of pervasive CA qualities (ethical behavior, personal attributes, professional perspective and judgment) and specific CA competencies required for the UFE and the practice of public accounting.

Case studies addressing professional-level competencies and reflecting real business scenarios, likely to be encountered in practice, are used extensively. Students experience a significant amount of work in small groups, including presentations, throughout the three-week period – there are no lectures at the School of Accountancy.

So far there have been minimal presentations. They’ve been limited to just sharing the results of small group discussions, and haven’t required standing up in front of the class. My seminar leaders may be going easy on us though, it may be different in other seminars.

There are around 1,100 CA students here, and we’re broken up into groups of about 30 for seminars, and small groups of 5 within the seminars for group work on the cases.


Mapping out my clients after a year in public practice

I have been playing around with Windows Live Local lately, Microsoft’s competition for Google Maps.

GTA map of audit clientsI decided to map all the clients where I’ve been in the last year with my firm. For the blue ones I just had to search for the business name, but the red ones represent clients that I had to manually search for their address and add them because they didn’t show up in a business name search for whatever reason.

I thought it was pretty interesting to see it all laid out there. One client in Waterloo, an inventory count at a location in Guelph, a client in Burlington, one in Brampton, Pickering and Vaughan, a few downtown Toronto, the rest in Mississauga, Etobicoke and North York.


Immigration is key

John Ibbitson makes the argument in today’s Globe and Mail that one of the key issues the Conservatives need to address during their time running the country is immigration. No official announcement has been made yet regarding their policy on the number of immigrants per year, but unofficially it looks like the numbers will remain pretty static at about 250,000 people per year.

There isn’t another issue as important as immigration. The country is being reshaped by the hundreds of thousands of people arriving here every year. Think of it: At current levels, Canada will be absorbing a million new Canadians every four years. That’s the equivalent of a city larger than Ottawa, Calgary or Edmonton. Each decade, we will be importing the equivalent of the city of Toronto.

As an accountant I can attest to the fact that we are in high demand and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario has created an Occupational Career Path for use by immigrants who hope to become Chartered Accountants and fill the need for public accountants in Canada. Doctors are another profession in high demand and there needs to be progress towards getting foreign-trained health professionals working in Canadian hospitals.