A CPA’s career can take different directions. Business advisors, who are increasingly in demand, is one option to consider.

The business world is rapidly changing and entrepreneurs want to be offered efficient solutions to remain competitive in their market and continue to grow.

In our firm, our Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) must be able to provide entrepreneurs with all the support they need to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges, for all facets of their development.

This is why, for the past few years, we have been encouraging our accounting professionals to take on a broader role, that of business advisor to our entrepreneurial clients.

To apply this approach in practice, we give our CPAs the tools and training they need to assess a company’s complete situation and identify the client’s needs.

Once the overall picture has been defined, the business advisor can help our clients move forward by involving our specialists in the relevant disciplines, such as tax, financial advisory, strategy or business valuation.

For CPAs, acting as a business advisor opens the door to new challenges and numerous opportunities to develop their talent and expertise. In a context where more and more accounting tasks are automated, mastering this field of expertise adds substantial value to the accountant’s role.

Pilot projects in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region

Several projects and initiatives are planned or already in place to reinforce this strategic direction and equip the firm’s business advisors.

In the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie and French New Brunswick, we plan to develop a dozen entrepreneur advisors in the short term. They will serve as strategic advisors to clients and coordinate all of the specialized resources they need.

These entrepreneur advisor positions will be filled by young CPAs who will receive specialized training and be mentored by experienced partners. Similar programs are planned across the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton network.

Candidates for these positions stand out for their strategic and entrepreneurial vision, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills and problem-solving ability.

We offer multiple career opportunities across Quebec, so that all young CPAs can choose the path that interests them, be it in a specialty, as a manager or as an entrepreneur advisor.

We value self-reliance and empowerment so that everyone can achieve their full potential.

Our thanks to Richard Chrétien, Partner, Vice-President, who initiated this pilot project in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, for his invaluable contribution to this article.

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For a young CPA, the best way to grow is to get involved in assignments with experienced professionals right from the start.

This is what David-Alexandre Lamirande-Lamontagne, Manager – Tax, from our Gatineau office, believes. Together with the other managers on his team, he’s leveraging practice-based mentorship.

Why is it important to make young CPAs fully participate in assignments right from the start?

It helps them gain confidence and experience, so they understand what customers expect of them. For example, even before recruits have started their master’s degree in taxation, they are given assignment sections. Then, during their studies, they can already make the connection between theory and practice.

Are they confined to a certain type of assignment?

We want our recruits to touch on everything from the beginning, not just tax compliance. I believe that if it takes a number of years for young people to work on transactional or tax reorganization projects, they lose opportunities to grow within their career.

Do you give them a lot of freedom to act?

One of the objectives of mentoring is to encourage initiative. We don’t tell our recruits what to do. We encourage them to express their ideas and give them feedback on the work they do. Their mentoring is focused on business development: how to build client loyalty, how to put forward their ideas to the client, etc. The sooner they master these aspects, the sooner their career will take off.

What motivates you in this type of mentoring?

My goal is to help young CPAs climb the ladder as quickly as possible. This is how the whole team grows.

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Mentoring is about mutual aid, communication and passion, reminds us of Caroline Plourde, our firm’s assurance partner.

For accountants beginning their profession, what’s better than being able to rely, at any time, on the support of one’s colleagues to grow?

In our Rimouski office’s assurance department, every effort is made to ensure that young accountants can quickly develop their talents and take on responsibilities commensurate with their aspirations.

Caroline, you lead a team of about 20 people. How do you train your recruits?

We get them involved in assignments very early on. We make sure we provide them with the right tools and introduce them to clients under the supervision of more experienced colleagues. This way, our recruits become self-sufficient more quickly. We prepare a detailed integration plan for each, provide them with the right training and assign them a mentor, a young professional available to guide them.

Why do you want the young CPAs to be self-sufficient so quickly?

Our office is growing rapidly and our recruits want to contribute to our success from the very beginning. Furthermore, young Gen Y and Gen Z want to have the chance to take up challenges and develop their careers very quickly. This is why it’s so important to help them develop their skills.

How do you help young CPAs grow in their career?

By constantly communicating with our young talents, we take their interests into account. If they wish to specialize in a particular field of expertise or activity sector, we support them in this process. We also encourage them to participate in various working committees and provide training based on where their interests lie. It’s important that each person makes a personal contribution to the team.

What motivates you most about mentoring?

The recruits inspire us and bring new ideas to the table. For me, as a mentor, I like to make the young professionals feel comfortable, help them unlock their full potential and develop their own business network.

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You might think that the daily life of recruiters boils down to analyzing CVs, but nothing could be further from the truth! Let’s see what Ariane has to say about her role in our firm.

What do you like about your role as a recruiter?

What I like most about my job is helping people. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the people I’ve hired integrate perfectly into the team, be happy and engaged in the firm’s daily activities.

I make sure I review the hiring process for each new hire and monitor their progress within the firm. It’s my way of checking that what I sell in an interview is really happening and that each person has a positive experience.

Do you have a favourite question you ask during an interview?

In this respect, I’m a bit of a rebel. I prefer friendly meetings. After all, the firm is also being interviewed by the candidate. So, my approach is flexible. I let the conversation take its course, since I’m interested in the candidates’ values, aspirations and personality traits as well as their skills. I believe that an interview should be an open discussion, not a test.

Submitting an application for a large firm can be intimidating, so I make sure I get rid of any preconceived notions and show the firm’s true culture: welcoming, human, family-like and above all, not boring.

You’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates; can you define the typical CPA?

Fortunately, absolutely not! When you’re outside the world of accounting, you imagine the conservative CPA in a suit and tie. But I see a great variety of people in the team and during interviews : some who are file-focussed, some who love working in the field, extroverts, creative people, structured people, and so many more.

It takes all types to make a strong team. I’ve never had so much fun in a group before. My colleagues are professional and serious, but they are also very approachable.


Because this human side is an integral part of our culture, our consultants want to be in direct contact with candidates at all stages of the recruiting process. We don’t have an automated filtering system, and no one falls into an anonymous inbox. Are you interested in working with us? Contact our recruiters!