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Supply and Demand of Accounting Grads

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  • Feb 16th, 2020 7:11 pm
[OP]
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Jan 22, 2020
7 posts
16 upvotes

Supply and Demand of Accounting Grads

I have been reading a lot about this 'CPA' merger on different forums and Reddit posts and yes it is really unfortunate that this merger killed the charm of 'Chartered Accountancy (CA)'. I have seen a lot of people posting on forums that they are studying for CPA or even some are qualified but they are still jobless and can't find relevant high paying employment. It's all about supply and demand. Before this merger, CA was highly respected and prestigious.

You finish your university with really good grades and you compete for a training position with top firms and you pass all entrance and evaluation exams to secure the position then they pay for your fees and after three years of training and passing all exams, you are a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. Damn! it is worth the grind because everyone looks at you like you are some kind of a money-making machine and a hotshot. Supply and Demand matters because only some candidates can make it through because of limited audit article training positions, requirement top university grades, and passing CA exams in the first attempt. They kick you out of the firm if you fail your exams more than two times.

But now after this merger, all those CGA candidates who never started university and CMA candidates who know nothing about Assurance and Corporate reporting have this 'CPA' designation. I have even heard that exams of this new 'CPA' program are much easier than legacy 'CA' program. On top of that, you don't need to work for an Authorised training office or employer so they have really ruined the designation. Those people are lucky who still can write 'CPA, CA' on their resume and can show their public accounting experience. It is so hurtful that most of the job ads now ask for CPA (CA, CGA, CMA) and they offer shitty salaries.
Last edited by hexaaa on Jan 27th, 2020 8:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
45 replies
Newbie
Nov 5, 2019
60 posts
34 upvotes
Thanks for the info-share, OP. You are right about the general sentiments and disgruntlement. Times have definitely changed - the econimc situations is degrading for the employees, while employers are getting much more spoiled, selfish and greedy than in the past (eg. 1950\s ~ 1970). They expects employees to pay first through their own pockets for their own education with outrageously expensive tuition fees . Mass layoffs/firings on the whim on the norm, managers care only about collecting bonuses via "cutting the staff budget", no regards to empathy / staff morale / retention / honest / integrity etc, they only care getting their hands on more money no matter who else might get abused. This phenomenon is not limited to only accounting field, but it is found commonly across all office environment white collar jobs in general - plenty of proofs (news stories and personal anecdotes ) to back it up too.

And very unfortunately, accounting is one of the fields that many executives / bosses thinks that can easily be automate away in software, or outsourced cheaply to consulting firms, instead of retaining as a full time staff. Short off a massive uprising, against rich corporate executives & government bureaucrats, conditions will not improve for workers anytime soon, so it is best to buckle up and prepare for the worst.
I hope you have some savings, don't be afraid of switching to other fields (like skill trades) ...etc. Best of luck out there.
Last edited by ander20t on Jan 24th, 2020 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sr. Member
Feb 10, 2008
645 posts
293 upvotes
Toronto
I don't want to ruffle the feathers of all the accountants on this forum (my father was an accountant), but as a non-accountant, I see this as a good thing. All this CA, CPA, CGA, CMA stuff is confusing. Pick one... If I want to hire a bean counter, I shouldn't need to research 6 different designations to figure out what they do.
Banned
Jan 13, 2020
87 posts
108 upvotes
Why should accountants deserve high salaries? It doesn't take much skill or provide any natural value. The job only exists because governments made stupidly complex tax systems. Anyone with a high tolerance for tedium and ability for high school math can do it. It sounds good to me that we are no longer artificially inflating the salary of these people by putting up unnecessary barriers to entry.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 1, 2004
7720 posts
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Its been awhile and i am not in this biz, wasn't CGA = grunts, CMA = runs companies and CA = audit companies?

And most CA make more $ running companies, they render CMA pointless?

So this fight is all about grunts getting the same title as the other superior tiers?


And from the old days, CA can be had within 3 years out of college and also pointless without more experience and build up industry contacts?

And I have seen CA that slums it working small SMB jobs piece meals and I have seen CA that work $300K+ per year corporate gig. All I know is never about the title but who you know and how you perform when chance comes. The title means nothing. Its just a barrier of entry,

And ultimately the goal is align us with US.
https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/become-a-cp ... ing-us-cpa

So you now have potentially 10x more opportunity open to you. One of my aquintance just move from Shell Canada to Shell US thru this ruote.

its been almost 10 years, why the bitching now?
[OP]
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Jan 22, 2020
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mrwally wrote: I don't want to ruffle the feathers of all the accountants on this forum (my father was an accountant), but as a non-accountant, I see this as a good thing. All this CA, CPA, CGA, CMA stuff is confusing. Pick one... If I want to hire a bean counter, I shouldn't need to research 6 different designations to figure out what they do.
Bean counters are bookkeepers and data entry guys. You are clearly not familiar with the job description of a qualified 'Chartered Accountant'. They work as top executives of Fortune 500 companies and many of them are Finance Directors/CFOs. That's what I am talking about that post-merger they have lost that distinction and people are confusing CAs with bean counting CGAs.
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Member
Sep 16, 2017
357 posts
240 upvotes
mrwally wrote: I don't want to ruffle the feathers of all the accountants on this forum (my father was an accountant), but as a non-accountant, I see this as a good thing. All this CA, CPA, CGA, CMA stuff is confusing. Pick one... If I want to hire a bean counter, I shouldn't need to research 6 different designations to figure out what they do.
this is wrong.
Member
Aug 8, 2019
343 posts
199 upvotes
Is it because there were too many people going into accountant programs?
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2016
2865 posts
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hexaaa wrote: they are still jobless and can't find relevant high paying employment.
Is that's part of the problem right there? Rather sit home on your arse jobless instead of working and getting experience because you don't like the "shit salaries" offered.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 7, 2005
9287 posts
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What I found the "legacy" CA specially good at is reconciliation and they like to reconcile everything. But it might not be useful or meaningful to the most business people/people in the operations where they want to see the big picture and interpretation of the numbers. If we always focus on reconciling numbers, no wonder people call accountants "bean counters".

Another strength/characteristic CAs have is the endurance, they all went through years of audit training with super long work hours of unpaid OT. So, in general, those survivors are very good at working long hours for any job.

I once work with a successful entrepreneur. I still remember what he commented on over time working. Even everyone's payroll in his company is coming out from his pocket. He doesn't agree with constant OT. He said staff shouldn't be constantly working overtime every day. If that happens, it is either something wrong with that staff or something wrong with that job. I totally agree.
Member
Oct 26, 2007
319 posts
192 upvotes
Couple of points..

1) It was primarily the Institute of Chartered Accountants doing to merge. They saw the numbers of CMA's and CGA's coming out and decided it was better to merge in order to control those numbers.
2) Public accounting experience is not shown through the "CA" designation. It is shown through the LPA (Licensed Public Accountant) designation. There are CAs w/out public accounting experience and therefore do not possess an LPA. Similarly there are some CGAs and CMAs with LPAs.
3) I'm a CPA mentor and can tell you the new program is much harder than before. So yes, there are CGAs and CMAs who somewhat lucked out however those days are done, everyone now has to go through a very rigorous CPA program.
4) The CA still does hold value, there are firms and companies that will specifically ask for a CA and the pay is much higher.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 7, 2005
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negotiater wrote: Couple of points..

1) It was primarily the Institute of Chartered Accountants doing to merge. They saw the numbers of CMA's and CGA's coming out and decided it was better to merge in order to control those numbers.
2) Public accounting experience is not shown through the "CA" designation. It is shown through the LPA (Licensed Public Accountant) designation. There are CAs w/out public accounting experience and therefore do not possess an LPA. Similarly there are some CGAs and CMAs with LPAs.
3) I'm a CPA mentor and can tell you the new program is much harder than before. So yes, there are CGAs and CMAs who somewhat lucked out however those days are done, everyone now has to go through a very rigorous CPA program.
4) The CA still does hold value, there are firms and companies that will specifically ask for a CA and the pay is much higher.
Yes, I found lot of CA employers still insist to hire CAs. This will continue in this generation until they all retire.
[OP]
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Jan 22, 2020
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negotiater wrote: Couple of points..

1) It was primarily the Institute of Chartered Accountants doing to merge. They saw the numbers of CMA's and CGA's coming out and decided it was better to merge in order to control those numbers.
2) Public accounting experience is not shown through the "CA" designation. It is shown through the LPA (Licensed Public Accountant) designation. There are CAs w/out public accounting experience and therefore do not possess an LPA. Similarly there are some CGAs and CMAs with LPAs.
3) I'm a CPA mentor and can tell you the new program is much harder than before. So yes, there are CGAs and CMAs who somewhat lucked out however those days are done, everyone now has to go through a very rigorous CPA program.
4) The CA still does hold value, there are firms and companies that will specifically ask for a CA and the pay is much higher.
1) Yes, They sacrificed their own members and aspiring students for membership fees.
2) Public accounting experience was compulsory for CAs and it didn't change even when they offered industry training positions because those positions were for listed companies only with strong accounting department and limited in numbers.
3) I am sorry but almost everyone is saying that this new program is not as hard as the legacy CA program and there are no strict experience requirements as well.
4) It still holds value but that option is not available for new students. They have no option but to take this new program.
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Member
Oct 26, 2007
319 posts
192 upvotes
Well if you want to differentiate yourself and use that public accounting experience then become a CPA and get the LPA. Not sure who everyone is but the legacy program did not have IFRS and was not case based until the very end.
[OP]
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Jan 22, 2020
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negotiater wrote: Well if you want to differentiate yourself and use that public accounting experience then become a CPA and get the LPA. Not sure who everyone is but the legacy program did not have IFRS and was not case based until the very end.
I think CPA can control this saturation if they introduce an entrance exam with limited periodic registrations or if they will make the Final examination a competitive examination rather than a qualifying examination. Somehow, they have to control the inflow or outflow.
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Member
Sep 16, 2017
357 posts
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hexaaa wrote: I think CPA can control this saturation if they introduce an entrance exam with limited periodic registrations or if they will make the Final examination a competitive examination rather than a qualifying examination. Somehow, they have to control the inflow or outflow.
agree, they need to make the barriers for entry into PEP harder itself and stop churning out these fast track diploma programs. They really have sold themselves out for membership fees it feels like. I would argue that the breadth of subject area coverage does make the process difficult and allows new CPAs to think of big picture results while understanding the nitty gritty.
Member
Feb 20, 2017
325 posts
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Barrie, ON
Pays have also dropped Accounting is over saturated, when positions get posted there's minimum 500 applications for every role. This has caused pays to drop as the pool has grown for candidates.
Member
Sep 16, 2017
357 posts
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Zombly wrote: Pays have also dropped Accounting is over saturated, when positions get posted there's minimum 500 applications for every role. This has caused pays to drop as the pool has grown for candidates.
you cannot expect that everyone of those people applying are qualified for the job. just because there are 500 applications for every role how many of them are qualified, vigorous cpas who are a match? you dont know that nor do you know hte salary that is being paid. those items are normally discussed once offers go out to the most suitable candidates.
Jr. Member
Mar 1, 2008
182 posts
41 upvotes
Honestly anyone who worries about this aren’t CA or even CMA/CGA who had already been working. People who had been working already found their niche and already is past the point where the designation defines them and their career.

Similarly, the jobs that are available to those individuals are not going to be saturated by applicants. Most ask for a specific skills set that enterprises will pay a premium for and some will remain unfilled because they can’t find the right fit.

In short, the designation had done and is still doing what it was always meant to do. It establishes the base line level of education and competencies but that’s it.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
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mrwally wrote: I don't want to ruffle the feathers of all the accountants on this forum (my father was an accountant), but as a non-accountant, I see this as a good thing. All this CA, CPA, CGA, CMA stuff is confusing. Pick one... If I want to hire a bean counter, I shouldn't need to research 6 different designations to figure out what they do.
This right here is the problem. If you want to hire a bean counter you would hire a CGA. Easiest entrance requirements, no university required etc. I’m a CA and haven’t been a “bean counter” since my summer accounting jobs in high school. I do financial reporting, meet and negotiate with investors and banks, help with the strategic vision of the company, evaluate large projects that are capital intensive to determine if its worth doing. I deal with the auditors/SEC/IRS/external legal council.

I’m no more a bean counter than a software engineer is a website developer.

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