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Cheerful man in his 50s sitting at table and looking away, doing paperwork
The Profession

Want to work after retiring? Here’s what you should know.

Retired professional accountants who decide to go back to work have a wealth of opportunities, in a variety of different industries

Cheerful man in his 50s sitting at table and looking away, doing paperworkBefore deciding on a second career, retired CPAs need to reflect on their values, on what they want and the career they have had (Getty Images/JohnnyGreig)

For many people, retirement can be a fresh start in their career. CPA Daniel Bastien, co-founder of KIGI, a non-profit employment agency for pre-retirees and retirees, has found this to be true. “Many retired CPAs are looking to stay active and involved in society,” he says. “They want to use their skills and share their knowledge. Money is rarely the main motivator for them to return to work.”

If you’re interested in working after retiring, here’s what to know


Depending on the type of work they intend to do post-retirement, CPAs need to make sure they follow certain rules, explains Louise Godin, admissions and compliance officer at CPA New Brunswick. 

“A retiree may continue to perform certain professional activities related to the CPA designation, if they remain a member of their order and meet certain continuing professional development requirements,” she says.

“Being a member in good standing requires general and specific obligations (like adhering to a code of ethics and regulations). Even if many CPAs no longer do accounting, the designation remains a guarantee of integrity and professionalism.”

Godin adds that a CPA is considered retired from the profession if they no longer work at all, not if they simply retire from their job. “A member who is nearing the end of their career and wants to work less and move into an advisory role in business, finance or strategy and governance, for example, will have to meet the obligations of a member in good standing to maintain his title. The same goes for those who want to sit on a board of directors,” she says.

Fortunately, this “semi-retired” status comes with a discount. Provincial bodies often offer a reduction in membership fees (up to 50 per cent or even 75 per cent) to CPAs at the end of their career, whose income does not exceed certain thresholds. (For example, $20,000 in New Brunswick, $25,000 in Quebec and $30,000 in Alberta.)


Marie-Paule Dessaint, who has a PhD in educational sciences, offers workshops in Quebec for retirees. She believes that the beginning of retirement should be a period of reflection. 

“A retiree is not going to be satisfied with a life of leisure for 30 years,” she says. “They need to be fulfilled, to achieve their full potential. But in order to do so, they have to get to know themselves. Who is the person behind the mask?”

Dessaint has noticed some retirees who shouldered a lot of responsibility can be unhappy when they are no longer in a position of authority. “Others who were closely supervised at work do not always realize that they now have choices,” she says. “It’s a time to reflect on our own values, on what we want and the career we’ve had. Distinguishing the person we are from the work we’ve done and what we didn’t like about it.”


In trying to decide what to do with this next chapter in their lives, the more open to possibilities retirees are, the wider the range of solutions they will come up with. 

“Variety is very appealing, especially to CPAs,” explains Bastien. “Some want to work part time, others are looking for a position within a company, others want to change sectors.” In any case, accounting positions are far from the only ones of interest, Bastien has observed. “Golf course supervisor for a weekend? Event usher? Why not?”

Godin sees a similar trend. “Some CPAs retire and then come back or change fields,” she says. “Since the pandemic started, CPAs have been in high demand and job offers have multiplied. So, if they get an interesting offer that would not have come up under normal circumstances, they decide to go back to work.” 

“Depending on what you’re looking for, there’s nothing to lose by trying,” adds Dessaint. 


Unfortunately, age-related prejudice still persists, says Dessaint.

“The market is not adapted for retired people,” confirms Bastien. “Many organizations only post full-time positions.” A search for the term “CPA” on the Indeed job portal yields more than 4,450 results in Canada, but only eight per cent of those positions are contract or part-time. 

“Employers should consider whether that full-time position could be filled by two part-time workers, which would give them more flexibility and bring twice the experience to the organization,” he says.

“Retirees are competent, conscientious and dedicated, but they also have doubts. Some wonder if they will be able to do the job, and employers have the same question. [However,] organizations should not overlook this pool of qualified, motivated and available workers when there is a labour shortage.” 


Find out how this CPA uses her skills to help her as mayor. Plus, read about the CPA who returned to his family farm to start a new chapter.