What CPAs do

Gain a better understanding of the accounting profession in Canada by learning about the various strengths, roles and functions of Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs).

CPAs play key roles within diverse segments of the economy including industry, public accounting, government, education and the not-for-profit sector. They offer a strong set of accounting and managerial skills required for today’s complex and evolving environment. CPAs are broad-minded, forward-thinking professionals who undertake appropriate analysis, exercise good judgment, communicate effectively and act to protect the public interest.

These professional accountants are highly attractive to employers and recruiters for the solid training and expertise that contribute to improved efficiency and growth.

So, how do CPAs help the various sectors?


CPAs working in industry provide valuable input on key decisions, apply a unique blend of expertise to identify new market opportunities, ensure corporate accountability, manage risk and help the company maintain a long-term competitive advantage.

CPAs add value to organizations in roles such as:

  • CEO
  • president
  • CFO/vice-president of finance
  • treasurer
  • controller
  • consultant
  • systems developer

Public practice

CPAs working in public practice provide their clients with services such as:

  • start-up counselling
  • purchases and sales of businesses
  • business valuations
  • business planning and financial projections
  • process deployment and improvement
  • developing strategies for securing financing
  • corporate and personal income tax planning
  • information technology need analysis
  • assurance (audits and reviews)
  • preparing and analyzing financial information
  • acting as trustee for receivership, insolvency or bankruptcy
  • developing management controls
  • management consulting
  • forensic accounting and litigation support


CPAs work at all levels of government providing accounting expertise to guide financial planning and to maintain fiscal control. Roles include tax auditors, policy planners and financial analysts.  


Many CPAs are educators who teach future leaders about business, values and ethics.


Stakeholders, including the general public, are taking a greater interest in the administration of organizations receiving donor dollars, tax benefits or government grants. CPAs help not-for-profit bodies with effective strategy development, accounting stewardship and the delivery of high-quality transparent annual reports.


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Learn how to overcome barriers and challenges in your career. This toolkit, created by the Women's Leadership Council of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), is specifically for women in the accounting profession.