CPA Canada’s CEO, Joy Thomas at a podium

Joy Thomas

Accounting | The Profession

Celebrating five years of global leadership

The successful unification of our profession is just the beginning. The future is bright for Canadian CPAs

A Facebook IconFacebook A Twitter IconTwitter A Linkedin IconLinkedin An Email IconEmail

This April marks the fifth anniversary of operations for CPA Canada.

Back in 2013, this represented a significant milestone on the path to the eventual unification of the Canadian accounting profession.

CPA Canada and the profession now have greater influence and recognition than ever before. Today, there is a unified Canadian voice—both nationally and internationally—for our profession, and we represent one of the largest national accounting bodies in the world, with 210,000 members both domestically and abroad.

Our organization is playing an active role in helping the profession shape the future. This includes advocating for public policy that benefits all Canadians and protects the health of the Canadian financial system. From tax policy to climate change to labour mobility, we are changing the way people think about accounting in Canada. We’ve also ramped up our award-winning thought leadership in areas such as management accounting, strategy, financial reporting, governance and technology.

We are making a difference, now more than ever. At home, CPA Canada is engaging with Indigenous communities across the country through initiatives such as the Accounting Mentorship Program, run in conjunction with the Martin Family Initiative. It is now active in seven provinces with more than 100 mentors. We are also at the fore of financial literacy efforts—an issue near and dear to my heart, as I sit on the National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy. Last year, we reached 50,000 Canadians through our financial literacy sessions custom-designed for specific audiences—from children to new Canadians to retirees.

Abroad, we are also leading the charge to a better world. We are active with the International Federation of Accountants and the Global Accounting Alliance, cooperating to build a stronger accounting profession worldwide. We continue to work closely with national and regional accounting bodies in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific region to promote and influence best practices. CPA Canada has also partnered with Prince’s Charities Canada to launch the Canadian chapter of the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) CFO Leadership Network. This initiative addresses how CFOs can play an active role in encouraging the integration of environmental and social issues into financial decision-making, helping organizations better achieve long-term sustainability.

Of course, there will be new challenges ahead. Canada is facing an aging workforce, and the accounting profession is no different: one-third of our members are aged 50 to 65, and yet demand for CPAs is steady and anticipated to grow.

Technology is a game changer and it will continue to disrupt business models and alter the future of work. At the same time, there are advantages based on the skill set of CPAs—the ability to think creatively, to apply judgment and integrity, to analyze and manage and to keep data secure.

The new norm for Canadian CPAs will be to lead with foresight, anticipate what is coming next and ultimately find breakthroughs and solve the problems of tomorrow. This will require thinking disruptively as well as strategically.

Our profession is up to the challenge!

Here’s to the next five years of innovation, growth and global leadership.