Career development

The CPA Designation, an Asset for an International Career

The Canadian CPA designation is well known in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States and France for the skills that set its professionals apart.

The Quebec CPA auditor designation enjoys full equivalence with the expert-comptable profession in France.
However, no direct equivalent exists in France for CPAs who work in business or the public sector in Canada. In other words, there is room in France for this highly sought-after expertise. Our experts explain why.

“In France, accountants receive very specialized training that prepares them to provide assurance services in public practice,” explains Isabelle Pigeon, CPA, CMA, Strategy and M&A Officer at LGR Packaging, a French firm. “In Canada, CPAs receive a much more comprehensive training, which is highly sought after by French companies. Canadian CPAs develop management, human resources and marketing skills, as well as a solid knowledge of commercial and operational tools. These skills add value to Canadian CPAs who want to pursue a career in France.”
Isabelle Pigeon also attributes much of her own professional success in France to her CPA designation: “I am convinced that I was able to earn my boss’s trust and a recent promotion in mergers and acquisitions, where I had no specific experience, thanks to the skills I developed as a CPA."

CPA, a well-known credential in the Anglo-Saxon world

The situation is a bit different in Anglo-Saxon countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, where the CPA credential also exists. In fact, Canadian CPAs can become American CPAs by completing a shortened version of the usual training.
“It is not mandatory,” explains Sophie Langis-Lauzière, CPA, CA, Audit Manager at Nike. “The Canadian CPA designation is valued and recognized enough for Canadians to be able to have a career here without obtaining the American credential."

The versatility of Quebec CPAs

Even though the name is the same, Sophie Langis-Lauzière points out the differences in practicing as a CPA in the United States and Quebec: “In the United States, we still have this image of accountants as boring, number crunchers. If you are an accountant, you are stuck in that role. In Quebec, CPAs are known more for their versatility. It is easier to become a manager or an executive. That is why I believe that the Canadian training program prepares us better for these types of responsibilities."
Like Isabelle Pigeon, Sophie Langis-Lauzière also sees the benefits of receiving the extensive training that comes with the Canadian CPA designation: “It gives me credibility and helps me add value at Nike.”
Basically, to set themselves apart, CPAs who are tempted by a career abroad would do well to highlight their versatility and skills!