Chartered Accountant: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for chartered accountants. Get the facts about education requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Chartered Accountant Do?

As a chartered accountant, you would be responsible for preparing, evaluating, managing and confirming financial documents for clients across the globe. They ensure that financial and tax documents are in order and that they comply with regulatory standards. They also advise clients, including both businesses and individuals, on ways to better manage their money, reduce unnecessary expenditures and increase income levels.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a chartered accountant.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree equivalent in specific country is most common
Education Field of Study Business, accounting
Training Required Obtain internationally-recognized professional designation
Certification Certification required to work within the U.S.
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% (for all accountants working in the U.S.)*
Median Salary $67,190 (for all accountants working in the U.S. in 2015)*
C$63,120 (for chartered accountants working in Canada in 2016)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com.

What Is a Chartered Accountant?

A chartered accountant is a professional who is authorized to prepare, evaluate, manage and confirm financial documents and records for individuals and organizations in countries throughout the world. As a chartered accountant you may handle various types of financial material, such as taxes, budgets and income statements.

The responsibilities of a Chartered Accountant (CA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) are generally the same. The primary difference between the CA and CPA designations is that as a CA, your educational training is provided in other countries, such as Australia, Canada, Ireland and Mexico. Also, your CA designation is internationally recognized, whereas the CPA designation applies only in the U.S.

What Education Do I Need?

While educational requirements for CAs vary with each country, they are generally similar to CPA requirements, in that a specified amount of college/educational training and work experience are prerequisites for qualifying as a CA.

For example, in Canada, you would be required to have a Canadian university degree with coursework in business. You would also be required to get work experience through an authorized CA Training Office, which offers training under the supervision of seasoned CAs. Additionally, you would be required to take the 3-day Uniform Evaluation examination before you can receive your CA designation.

Other countries, such as Australia, require that potential CAs complete the Chartered Accountant Program, which is a graduate program that combines classroom instruction and on-the-job-training. Enrollment requirements include a bachelor's or master's degree in accounting from an accredited Australian institution.

If you are seeking CA designation in one country, but you have received your education elsewhere, there may be specific protocols to accommodate international candidates/students. Refer to your CA governing authority for more information.

Do I Need Additional Certification?

Your CA designation gives you the legal authority to work in various countries, whereas certification is generally a voluntary form of professional credentialing. Certification is usually offered through trade organizations, such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

An exception to this voluntary certification protocol is, if you are a CA who would like to work as an accountant in the U.S., you would be required to obtain certification as a CPA. According to the American Institute of CPA's, depending on where you received your educational training, you will either take the International Qualifications Examination or the Uniform CPA Examination (www.aicpa.org).

What Salary Can I Earn?

Your specific salary will vary with your geographic location, your experience and your employer. According to PayScale.com, the salary range for chartered accountants in Canada in 2016 was $41,445-$101,845. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors as a group earned a median salary of $67,190 in 2015; the upper ten percent earned $118,930 or more.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Individuals who are interested in accounting may also look for jobs as auditors, who screen organizations and individuals for financial mismanagement and legal violations. Auditors can work within businesses, or they may find jobs in outside oversight bodies. It is not necessary to become certified as an auditor, but professional certifications can improve job prospects. Another relevant financial industry job is a career as a financial analyst. These professionals evaluate and advise clients on investment strategies. To be an auditor or financial analyst, it is necessary to have at least a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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