FOR EDUCATORS AND STUDENTS

ACCOUNTING AS A CAREER

Most of us when we think of accountants, we imagine captains of industry, working in office towers in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver.

But, according to a Statistics Canada survey from 2019, 66.9% of people employed in the professional, scientific & technical services industry group work in small firms – and service small businesses across Canada.

Of course, Statistics Canada typically doesn’t consider the self-employed, which accounts for a great many professionals in NAICS code 54 (the North American Industry Classification System code for PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL SERVICES).

 

So, in the Statistics Canada survey, which only looks at employer businesses, the retail and wholesale trade sectors seem very important in terms of employment.

And they are.

But Statistics Canada trivializes the self-employed and refers to businesses with fewer than 5 employees as “micro-businesses”.

 

BC STATS uses Statistics Canada data but puts its own spin on their presentation and interpretation of the data.

 

According to BC STATS…Self-employed individuals comprised 23 per cent of total private sector employment, while those employed by a small business accounted for 31 per cent.

Interestingly, BC STATS also takes a different view of “small” and “large” business. For BC STATS a small business has fewer than 50 employees.

And they don’t bother with a “medium-sized” business category.

In British Columbia which pays more attention to the self-employed, in 2020 there were more businesses in NAICS Code 54 than any other industry classification. They accounted for 23.2% of all private sector firms with less than 50 employees. The next closest industry classification in terms of number of businesses was construction at 12.9%.

When you consider self-employment, the retail and wholesale trade seem relatively less important.

In fact, self-employment seems to represent a good career choice, at least when it comes to the profitability of firms in the accounting industry.

 

Both professional accountants and accounting technicians are high growth occupations and well paid in relation to other occupations.

Professionals in NAICS CODE 54 earned slightly higher weekly wages than those employed in construction. But both earned significantly more than employees in the wholesale and retail trades and accommodation and foodservice industries

 

At SBA CANADA we’re looking to address the looming shortage of accountants and accounting technicians by re-configuring the educational and training requirements to align better with the needs of small businesses. We believe it’s also important to provide more on-the-job and co-op training. Allowing for online and self-study options – particularly for those in smaller communities or adults transitioning to a second career, is the right thing to do.

 

The BUSINESS ANALYST TECHNICIAN certification is being launched in 2022, to be followed by a professional SMALL BUSINESS ANALYST certification in 2023.

The B.A.T. certificate will an entry-level qualification aimed at individuals working with other professionals in the accounting industry.

The S.B.A. certificate will be an alternative professional certification to the CPA designation – specifically aimed at small business. It will allow graduates to supervise B.A.T. certificate holders and work independently, and in collaboration with CPAs in practice.

The SBA program will focus on income tax and management accounting for small businesses, in the industry sectors shown here.

 

In British Columbia, which includes the self-employed in their count of firms, these business sectors account for more than 70% of all small businesses.

Management accounting will focus on CASH MANAGEMENT & PROJECTIONS, JOB & PROJECT COSTING as well as TIME & BILLING applications.

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