Being a CPA at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is never boring. Our firm offers you countless ways to make your career evolve.

Depending on their preferences, Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) may choose to work successively in different areas of expertise, specialize in a particular field or type of clientele, or advance in managerial positions.

Élisabeth Petit, Manager, Talent & Culture, at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, explains how CPAs can pursue a career in line with their ambitions within the firm and presents the skills required to succeed.

Beyond professional qualifications, what essential qualities do you look for in a CPA?

One of the most important ones is that this person focus on human relations and customer service. Life skills are essential.

We are looking for passionate, hardworking and meticulous CPAs who like to have fun at work, creative people who propose innovative solutions to our clients that best meet their needs.

CPAs must have a global vision of an organization. They must understand and even anticipate what the client needs to stand out in today’s and tomorrow’s economy. They must be able to collaborate with colleagues from different disciplines.

For example, in entrepreneurial succession cases, various aspects of a company are affected. CPAs and other experts will help develop a succession plan, assess the value of a business, find the right entrepreneur profile for the succession and prepare for a smooth transition. Tax, financial and human aspects are discussed.

So, it’s important to have good team spirit and leadership skills?

Absolutely. But leadership, it’s not necessarily about wanting to lead others. Leadership can also be proposing different ideas to help clients, without actually coordinating the work.

Can you give us some examples of career development opportunities for CPAs at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton?

There are many possibilities. For example, CPAs may choose to pursue a career in tax, specializing in international tax or commodity taxes, or prefer business valuation.

In assurance, they can opt for risk management or quality management, or even act as a cryptocurrency auditor or get involved in digital transformation projects. CPAs can also manage a team and progress to management positions.

Most of these specialties can be practiced in the hundred or so cities where we have offices in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. And since we are part of the international Grant Thornton group, some of them have the opportunity to work abroad.

Is the CPA’s daily work varied?

Whatever their specialty, our CPAs work with clients in various industries. The CPA’s expertise is therefore continually sought in a variety of ways. However, they may choose to specialize in a specific type of clientele.

How do you help CPAs evolve within the organization?

We have individual development plans. Once a year, we have one-on-one discussions with employees about their ambitions and ways to develop skills in one area or take on other responsibilities in the organization.

I can cite the recent example of a CPA who wanted to move from the assurance service to the M&A service. We supported her decision and contributed to her business valuation training.

There is room for all types of CPAs in our firm, and everyone has the opportunity to develop their talents as they wish.

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Would you like to grow and anticipate the trends in your professional field? Our firm offers unparalleled training support.

We give priority attention to talent development by offering numerous development programs to respond to the diverse needs and aspirations of each of our professionals, as well as to changes in the business world.

With its internal and external partners, our training and organizational development team has developed various formulas, such as classroom and online training, personalized career paths, coaching and an experiential laboratory.

Recruit guidance

As soon as we welcome new employees, they receive the necessary training and coaching to integrate well into the firm, as well as to effectively use the technological tools and resources at their disposal.

Professional competencies

Training is regularly offered to experts in various specialties so they can enhance their field of competency and update their knowledge.

Behavioural aptitudes

We offer our employees a series of courses to help them improve their behavioural skills. These courses cover a number of topics that touch on aspects such as interpersonal communication, leadership, entrepreneurship, business development and teamwork.

Managerial development

We provide professionals becoming managers with the tools and coaching they need to effectively manage a team of employees in areas such as contribution management, staff engagement and managerial courage.

Business advisor development

We help our accountants evolve into a broader role as business advisors to our clients. To do so, we provide them with training and support from experienced advisors to perfect their knowledge. In this way, they acquire the necessary background to help entrepreneurs choose the best solutions for the challenges specific to their market and business. Their contribution is crucial in a constantly changing business environment.

Impact Program

This learn-by-doing program is offered to emerging professionals with high potential for advancement. It helps them develop their leadership, vision and relationship network. The Impact program includes several courses with content adapted to different levels of responsibility.

TGV Programme

This program is designed for professionals who are on track to become partners. It includes various courses related to the role and responsibilities of a partner, as well as a mentoring program.

Professional development support

As part of their individual development plan, employees meet once a year to discuss their ambitions and training needs. We encourage our employees to excel. Among other things, we reimburse all or part of certain tuition fees for external courses.

Thanks to Julie Bourdeau, Director of Training and Organizational Development, for her valuable contribution to this article.

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For CPAs, is it more interesting to work in an accounting firm or in the heart of an SME? It all depends on your objectives.

Working in an accounting firm enables you to work in more than one activity sector and leverage your colleagues’ experience to grow. Here are the main differences between a firm and other types of businesses.

Diversity of files

In a firm like ours, Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) work with clients in highly diversified fields, each with its own particular challenges. They meet with business managers recognized as leaders in their industry.

This enables them to acquire in-depth knowledge and experience the different aspects of the business world. Accordingly, an assurance specialist can be at a manufacturing client one day, and on the next, at a client who manages hotels.

Sharing of knowledge

Often, in an accounting firm, files are worked on by a team of CPAs from the same discipline or various specialties, in a spirit of collaboration and knowledge sharing. Accordingly, each person offers solutions to the client and develops his knowhow by working with other experts in their profession.

This team spirit enables players to contribute to improving work methods, by brainstorming with their colleagues on the best practices to be introduced.

When CPAs work for an SME, they are often the only CPA in the organization and are required to carry out several duties. For example, a CPA who might be the financial controller could also be involved in analyzing investment projects, searching for financing and improving work processes.

However, this CPA works alone and acquires limited expertise in the employer’s industry, contrary to the CPA who works for an accounting firm.

In other types of businesses, CPAs might work with several other CPAs who can help them and share their knowledge. Nevertheless, their tasks and responsibilities will be rather restricted.

Professional development and career progression

Surrounded by experienced colleagues, young CPAs in our firm will be properly supported by their colleagues. Throughout their professional development, they will benefit from training programs to update their knowledge. If they so wish, they can specialize in a particular discipline, such as tax, financial consulting or corporate reorganization, or develop their management skills.

Everything is structured to lead the professional to grow and excel. If such is their ambition, young CPAs will have the opportunity to be promoted much faster than in other types of companies.


In an innovation-oriented firm like ours, it is also possible to explore promising new fields of activity. This is the case, for example, with blockchain technology, an area where almost everything in terms of accounting standards has to be developed and where our company plays a pioneering role.

Is it more demanding and restrictive to work in an accounting firm or in an SME or another type of company? It all depends on the organization that employs you.

Here, we value the best possible work-life balance. That’s why we offer our employees considerable flexibility. What’s important is that everyone benefits from an environment that allows them to express their talent.

Our thanks to Sébastien Roy, Partner, Financial Advisory, and to Olivier Chauveau, Partner, Assurance, for their valuable contribution to this article.

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Louis Roy
Partner and president of Catallaxy | CPA, CA | Digital and technology consulting

The accounting profession is in full transformation. The technological and digital evolution is revolutionizing the CPA’s role.

Dependent on businesses’ digital shift and their evolving needs, accounting tasks are constantly diversifying, making today’s accountant a true business advisor.

Broader horizons thanks to technologies

When it comes to information technologies (IT), accounting experts are called to be adaptable and curious. Entrepreneurs have more and more complex digital needs and large accounting firms such as our own must know how to guide them efficiently.

Despite the democratization of tools, easily accessible on the Net, the accounting profession has become more essential than ever. Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) are governed by a professional order and comply with a code of ethics. This gives them the expertise and legitimacy needed to support executives and play a key role as advisors in a rapidly changing business environment where digital technology is pervasive in organizations’ activities.

The technological shift provides numerous opportunities for accountants to showcase their expertise. Accounting firms like our own should seek to develop new technological tools.

In recent years, we have developed a range of products and services adapted to the new technological realities :

  • Taxo, an online personal income tax preparation service;
  • Operio, a subsidiary specializing in cloud accounting for SMEs;
  • Catallaxy, a subsidiary specializing in blockchain technologies;
  • Abacus, a product that can audit businesses’ digital assets while complying with the strictest of auditor requirements.

Increasingly, CPAs will be able to work with artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to guide companies and organizations that want to benefit from process automation to improve their performance.

The evolution of audit

Although the profession is evolving, some tasks, such as auditing, will not disappear. More than ever, the chartered accountant will be called upon to express an opinion on the fair presentation of the client’s financial statements.

However, the auditors’ role will change, e.g., they may express an opinion on the security of a digital platform, which will be essential, particularly with cryptocurrencies.

A connected succession

Though technologies are shaking up the various functions of the profession, they’re also making it more interesting. Young, upcoming accountants must take an interest in innovation now to fully carry out their future accounting functions.

The profession is much more attractive today for young accounting students. It offers considerable opportunities. Technologies are everywhere in accounting functions and the next generation will undeniably contribute to the transformation of the profession.

19 Feb 2020  |  Written by :

Louis Roy is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in assurance for the...

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