Innovation | Trends

How CPAs can dive into the thriving fintech market space

As a growing industry in Canada, accounting professionals with an interest in technology have an important role to play in its development

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Three business people sitting together looking at a laptop. “CPAs are uniquely positioned to help fintech startups navigate the potential myriad of compliance regimes that a company may face,” says CPA Malik Datardina (Getty Images/Bloom Productions)

Fintech represents a huge opportunity for CPAs, but also a changing environment that we all must adapt to. As Michael Kravshik, CPA, founder and CEO of Luminari, a career management platform for CPAs and other professional accountants, puts it, “We’re seeing a huge demand for CPAs with experience in technology in general, but with an added emphasis on the fintech market because so many early-stage companies lack in-house financial know-how and fintech companies need that deep technical expertise.” 

Kravshik points out that with such a small pool of CPAs actively focusing their career on managing high-growth companies, now is the right time to get in. 

Risk and compliance are also a natural fit for CPAs. As Malik Datardina, CPA, a governance, risk and compliance strategist at Auvenir and a member of CPA Canadas Audit Data Analytics Committee and Crypto-asset Auditing Working Group, points out, “CPAs are uniquely positioned to help fintech startups navigate the potential myriad of compliance regimes that a company may face. Having the knowledge of risk and controls as well as budgetary constraints is an important combination that can enable CPAs to guide the organization to comply efficiently and effectively.”

Artificial intelligence also has huge implications for the accounting industry. “AI companies are drastically impacting how accounting is done, now and in the future,” says Kravshik. “Some examples include Toronto-based Blue J Legal, which is using AI to create better predictions around tax judgments, and Ottawa-based Mindbridge Ai, which is building the world’s first AI auditor.” 

Like AI, blockchain is already opening up opportunities for accountants in the areas of auditing and data governance, and even financial reporting around crypto-assets as pioneered by startup Gilded.

The global transition to cloud-based accounting is also heating up the accounting-tech landscape, especially in Canada. As Kravshik points out, “Just look at Xero, the cloud accounting platform that has taken Canada by storm in just two years, building its team to more than150, acquiring Toronto-based Hubdoc and growing a client base of 195,000 North American companies.” 

Kravshik notes that these changes represent huge opportunities for any accountant ready to learn how to use these technologies effectively—whether it be as a practitioner servicing clients, or an industry accountant trying to improve the organization’s own systems. “And of course, CPAs are perfectly positioned to be the entrepreneurs who build these companies that are changing our industry!”