CPAs Are in Demand—Not Just in Tax Season

From reshaping tax policies to navigating through digital disruption, discover the expanding role of Canadian CPAs

Tax season is underway and, for many Canadians, this time of year can be stressful. Amid the fiscal maze of ever-changing tax rules, filers consistently turn to one source for clarity:  the chartered professional accountant.

CPAs are increasingly in demand for tax advice, particularly when it comes to navigating new or complex filing requirements such as reporting obligations for everything from trusts to underused housing.

Demand for the specialized skills and expertise CPAs provide to businesses—including data analytics, management consultation and core governance and decision-making capabilities—is quickly eclipsing the supply of qualified accountants, making the CPA designation more critical than ever.  

Strategic advisers outside tax season

CPAs may be top of mind the most when it comes to seeking professional guidance during tax season, but CPAs are also trusted leaders on a host of emerging issues well beyond the annual filing rush. At the national level, the CPA profession advocates year-round for sound fiscal policy and tax reform that protects the public and fosters economic stability.

CPA Canada—the profession’s national accounting body—actively solicits feedback from CPA members on tax policies and regulations, raising matters of relevance with the Canada Revenue Agency and Department of Finance through various channels, including CPA Canada’s pre-budget submission, to help shape a more efficient and effective tax system.

In 2023 alone, CPA Canada’s committee work and submissions on the underused housing tax, concessional loans and beneficial ownership reporting, including employee ownership trusts, led to noteworthy policy changes and an endorsement in the federal fall economic statement of the profession’s recommendations to simplify reporting obligations.

Most recently, as of March 2024, additional advocacy led by CPA Canada resulted in the CRA further limiting the scope of the bare trust penalty to only the most egregious of situations for particular Canadians.

Champions of a sustainable digital future

Spanning every sector, the reach of the Canadian accounting profession is vast and is expanding beyond traditional areas of CPA work. In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, few professions are better suited to embrace the opportunities and address the challenges that accompany global disruptors, like artificial intelligence and sustainability reporting.

“We cannot underestimate the complexity of the challenges our world is facing, and the multi-faceted solutions required to address them,” says Pamela Steer, CPA Canada’s president and CEO.

Pamela Steer is CPA Canada’s President and CEO

With expertise in ethics, standards and data integrity, the accounting profession is being called upon to pave the way for everything from the ethical use and design of AI systems to harnessing independent assurance to build trust in the digital economy.

CPAs are also instrumental in providing critical capacity building, guidance and support as organizations around the world begin laying the foundation to monitor, measure and publicly report sustainability information for enhancing corporate transparency and accountability.  

“As the national accounting body, it is our job to stay attuned to emerging trends and support the profession’s more than 220,000 members with the insights and guidance they need to thrive,” says Steer. “Leadership in a dynamic marketplace includes the responsibility to adapt—something we can best achieve together.”

Embracing change from the inside out

Just as the role of CPAs is evolving and adapting, the national accounting body is embracing the opportunity to reshape its membership model to best support the changing needs of Canadian CPAs.

CPA Canada wants all members to have a voice in shaping the organization’s future direction and priorities, and CPAs from across the country are just as keen to have their voices heard. 

In a recent independent poll of CPA members, 91 per cent of respondents said they see value in being actively consulted on the future of CPA Canada and its role within the profession. A further 89 per cent said they feel it is important to have a national CPA body.  

With this in mind, CPA Canada has commissioned an independent survey for gathering diverse perspectives, and a series of cross-country focus groups and member engagement sessions to collect more in-depth feedback for co-creating a framework that continues to advance the profession and empowers members to stay at the forefront of transformation.

“It is because of our members and the invaluable work they lead that the CPA designation has become synonymous with integrity, expertise and a commitment to making a positive difference,” says Steer.

“CPA Canada is honoured to champion members through a unified voice on the global stage to ensure Canadian CPAs receive the recognition they deserve as leaders in tackling the world’s most pressing issues. We look forward to working with CPAs from across the country to create a prosperous and sustainable future for our profession and the organizations and communities our members serve every day.”

Members can visit or sign up to stay connected with the organization for more information on how to get involved.