For those who are interested in becoming an accountant - whether it is because you are being pressured by Asian parents or because it's a stable job - you may be wondering what do accountants do exactly?
There are different options you have within the realm of becoming an accountant, and the path I've chosen is that of a Tax Accountant. I would say it's a relatively less known path compared to audit, and the type of work is also substantially different.
One can say that audit is retrospective - the key primary reason for doing an audit of a financial statement is for some key stakeholder - whether that is for the investors, for the lenders, regulatory compliance, or all of the above. While I had the chance to take some courses and did a short rotation in audit, I knew it wasn't for me. For some reason, it didn't motivate me to be testing items in a financial statement, using materiality as a benchmark to do more or less work. Also, I felt like I was hounding the clients to test items, not to mention it could be quite tiring to be on the go all the time, being at the client sites.
Tax resonated with me because I felt like I was giving more value to the clients. I would say that tax is more prospective in that you can plan ways to minimize tax by building efficient tax structures for your clients . You become part lawyer because you use the Tax Act to provide a basis for your advice, My favourite part was being able to quantify the results, such as how much taxes your client can save by following your recommendations.
There are also various areas of tax that you can choose to specialize in, which may be surprising because most people might think that tax is just one static topic. The different areas of tax can be broken down into mining, private clients, financial institutions, scientific research and development, transfer pricing, indirect tax (ie. GST, PST, Sales tax, etc), international/cross border, technology, general Canadian corporate compliance, US corporate compliance, and personal compliance.
Tax in itself in accounting is like an onion - the more layers you peel, the more you realize there is no end. Or as Albert Einstein had said:
"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”