Institute Of Chartered Accountants Of Ontario

Institute Of Chartered Accountants Of Ontario

March 22, 2007 08:30 ET

How to Choose an Accountant: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario Offers Tips on Getting a Top Professional

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2007) -

Attention: Assignment/Business Editors

For many individuals and businesses, the key to financial success is often access to professional advice from a highly qualified accountant. In Ontario, there are a number of accounting designations and each group has different educational, training and qualification requirements. In fact, there are also people who call themselves accountants but belong to no official accounting body and have no special training.

To help people select the right accountant for their personal and business needs, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario has put together a handy checklist of 10 questions to ask when choosing a financial advisor.

1. Why should I pick your firm over any other?
2. Does your firm focus on any particular industry or geographic region?
3. How many offices and partners do you have? That is, are you local,
regional or national?
4. What experience have you had in my industry? How many clients like me
do you serve currently and can I call a few for references?
5. Do you have a public accounting licence?
6. How do you bill for your services - as the job progresses or once it's
completed? Do you need a retainer? What is the fee range for jobs such
as mine?
7. Who will work on my assignment? If other staff members will be
assigned, how experienced with they be?
8. What specific services do you offer? Do you have access to other
specialists if I have special needs outside your area of expertise?
9. Do you use the latest technology to ensure that work is done
efficiently and at the lowest cost?
10. Will you be there whenever I need you?

It helps to know about an accountant's qualifications. For example, Chartered Accountants must meet the highest standards of financial expertise, strategic thinking, business independence and leadership. In fact, Canadian CAs are recognized around the world for high professional standards and competency.

Becoming a CA requires:

- A university degree including 17 specified courses known as "the 51 credit hour requirement"

- 30 months of practical employment experience with an Institute-approved training office

- Completion of the Institute's School of Accountancy

- Passing the national Uniform Evaluation - one of the world's most demanding professional examinations

Throughout their professional careers, CAs are required to adhere to ongoing regulation to safeguard the public interest. CAs are subject to:

- Mandatory practice inspection and, for CAs in public accounting, professional liability insurance

- The enforcement of demanding Rules of Professional Conduct

- Life-long Professional Development requirements

- Comprehensive public oversight and discipline mechanisms

As they have been for 128 years, Chartered Accountants are the professionals licensed to conduct public accounting in Ontario. Public accounting is the business of expressing independent assurance on financial statements and other financial information of enterprises of all size, to ensure that the information truly reflects their financial condition. Large and small investors, financial institutions and other third parties then rely on that assurance to make informed investment and lending decisions.

When choosing an accountant, it pays to get informed and choose wisely.

About the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario is the qualifying and regulatory body of Ontario's 32,000 CAs and 4,000 CA students. Since 1879, the Institute has protected the public interest through the CA profession's high standards of qualification and the enforcement of its rules of professional conduct. Recognized internationally, the CA designation denotes financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight and leadership. The Institute website is:

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