Need some advice on career in accounting


T

TAM

Hi,

I have a BS in Statistics with computer programming. For last six years I
have been working in the field of web development. I was laid off from a
company about an year ago and since then I haven't been able to find and get
a decent job in IT. So I have been thinking about going back to school and
have a career in accounting. I have been doing some research about the
various certificate courses, diplomas such as offered by Education Direct
http://www.edudirect-canada.com/accounting/ and degrees offered by
universities such as Univ of Phoenix (found them very expensive than regular
universities. Anyone know why they are so expensive? Has anyone taken any
courses from Univ of Phoenix? I was wondering how good they are.) in
Accounting, different designations like CA, CGA, CMA, CFP(Certified
Financial Planner), CSC (Canadian Securities Course), etc.

I am looking for some advice from all of you in the accounting field as what
should be my next step. Would like to suggest any college, univ or course
that I should consider. Which course should I do and what is the future of
accounting profession. Is accounting field getting saturated or already
saturated?

Thank you for all the advice.
TAM
 
A

A. L. Meyers

TAM said:
Hi,

I have a BS in Statistics with computer programming. For last six
years I have been working in the field of web development. I was laid
off from a company about an year ago and since then I haven't been
able to find and get a decent job in IT. So I have been thinking about
going back to school and have a career in accounting. I have been
doing some research about the various certificate courses, diplomas
such as offered by Education Direct
http://www.edudirect-canada.com/accounting/ and degrees offered by
universities such as Univ of Phoenix (found them very expensive than
regular universities. Anyone know why they are so expensive? Has
anyone taken any courses from Univ of Phoenix? I was wondering how
good they are.) in Accounting, different designations like CA, CGA,
CMA, CFP(Certified Financial Planner), CSC (Canadian Securities
Course), etc.

I am looking for some advice from all of you in the accounting field
as what should be my next step. Would like to suggest any college,
univ or course that I should consider. Which course should I do and
what is the future of accounting profession. Is accounting field
getting saturated or already saturated?
Tam, what about becoming an actuary? With your previous education and
experience, that might be a more promising way to an addition
qualification with market value.

A. Lucien Meyers, CIA, CMA
 
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C

Christine Geary

Tam,

Right now, I'm pursuing an Associate's degree from Ashworth College, located
in Georga; it's a correspondence course where you read chapters at home and
take online quizzes. If you like, I could send your name to them to let
them contact you.

Christine
 
J

John

TAM said:
I have a BS in Statistics with computer programming. For last six years I
have been working in the field of web development. I was laid off from a
company about an year ago and since then I haven't been able to find and get
a decent job in IT. So I have been thinking about going back to school and
have a career in accounting. I have been doing some research about the
various certificate courses, diplomas such as offered by Education Direct
http://www.edudirect-canada.com/accounting/ and degrees offered by
universities such as Univ of Phoenix (found them very expensive than regular
universities. Anyone know why they are so expensive? Has anyone taken any
courses from Univ of Phoenix? I was wondering how good they are.) in
Accounting, different designations like CA, CGA, CMA, CFP(Certified
Financial Planner), CSC (Canadian Securities Course), etc.

I am looking for some advice from all of you in the accounting field as what
should be my next step. Would like to suggest any college, univ or course
that I should consider. Which course should I do and what is the future of
accounting profession. Is accounting field getting saturated or already
saturated?

before you start some "on-line" education in accounting attend a local
professional meeting. I don't know about Canada but in the US there are
regional / local CPA associations that hold monthly meetings and anyone can
attend as a guest and get feedback on employment opportunities.
I know one person with an MBA from "univ of phoenix", -- it's primarily
for adding credentials to a resume, don't equate it with a real college,
people hiring know about it !
 
J

Joe Canuck

TAM said:
I have a BS in Statistics with computer programming. For last six years I
have been working in the field of web development. I was laid off from a
company about an year ago and since then I haven't been able to find and get
a decent job in IT. So I have been thinking about going back to school and
I'm in much the same boat with some key differences. I have 20 years IT
experience but lack the university degree.

That university degree gives you real head start with the CGA program if
you want to pursue that route. The reason it gives you a head start is
that a degree, any degree, is required as one of the requirements for
the CGA.

Link here: http://www.cga-canada.org/

I'm considering starting at the lower end of it. Take some accounting
courses and perhaps get an entry-level accounting job while working
towards the bookkeeping certification... where I take it after that I
don't know. I'm thinking my computer experience, particulary that with
supporting corporate accounting systems, gives me perhaps a wee edge.
Some places the bookkeeper also looks after the computer.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 
S

Stephanie Serba

First, Education Direct credits are NOT transferrable to any accounting
designation programmes anywhere in Canada. Don't bother. Wish I knew that
before spending 2 grand.

For part time studies, get into the CGA or CMA. Check out their websites at
www.cga-canada.org or www.cga-yourprovince.org, and www.cma-canada.org or
www.cma-yourprovince.org.

You can work and study at the same time. I know the CGA has co-study
programmes with 2 schools (SAIT in Alberta and Laurentian University in
Ontario) to get degrees (Bachelors in Accounting and Information Technology
or Honours Bachelor of Commerce) which satisfy the CGA degree requirement.
The CMA may have the same arrangements. The CA programme requires a degree
as a prerequisite with your accounting studies as a postgraduate degree,
then you article for a minimum of 2 years.

Check out all your options.

No idea about University of Phoenix.

Check continuing education programmes as universities and colleges in your
area. Many have accounting diploma programmes which allow for transfer
credits to the CGA and CMA designations. The CGA in Ontario now allows for
online assignment submission, and I believe they may be coming up with an
online final examination as well (rumours).

Good luck.


--
Stephanie Serba, AICIA
Partner, Durham Business Outsource
Accounting & Technology
www.dbo.ca
(e-mail address removed)
REMOVE NOSPAM TO REPLY
 
G

Gazoo

Why not look into your community colleges and University continuing ed
programs for certificates and diplomas and keep your $ in your community and
country?

Make sure any courses ur gonna take are usable for your designations.
 
W

Wm.\(Bill\) Warning

For what it's worth: I used to process tuition assistance applications for
the U.S. military. The Univ of Phoenix is accredited and is as allowable
as any under DoD rules.
***********************************************************
 
J

Joe Canuck

Eurogroover said:
Forget about diplomas or continuing education certificates/courses.
Either enroll in an accounting designation (CA, CGA, CMA) or get an
MBA from a reputable university (U of Calgary).
I've seen a lot of this sort of comment in here. I'm not suggesting this
isn't good advice but...

Not everyone *can* or *wants* to achieve the big accounting designation.
Not everyone working in accounting *has* the big accounting designation.

Pursuing a lower certification, diploma or certificate is one way to get
started and achieve something. Very often that achievement as others
have suggested can be applied towards a higher designation if the
individual decides to pursue it.

Not every organization in the country that needs bookkeeping/accounting
type work done can afford or wants to hire designated staff.

As an example one major corporation I worked at as the System
Administrator had two designated people on staff... the Accounting
Manager and the Vice President of Finance. The other 5 people in the
department had some accounting experience but no formal training much
less designation.

It seems to me regardless of the designation that new people in the
field will start out at the bottom... this only makes common sense.
However those first few courses, certificate or lower level
certification (CB) will at least get one started and perhaps that entry
level position. What one does after that is up to them... going on to
achieve a hire designation is certainly possible on a part time basis
while employed.
 
T

TAM

Hi,

Is there any particular MBA Program that you want to suggest me?

I know its a jungle out there when it comes to MBA. Yesterday I attended an
information session by CMA Canada and they said that CMA program has more
hands-on approach that most of the MBA's program lack. MBA is more
theoretical. It seemed that people do MBA and other courses, and then they
come back to become CMA. The interesting point that was told in the CMA
information session yesterday was that the job market for CMA's is very dry
right now just like in other professions. And as far as salaries go, they
said that there are so many variables that it is hard to say. Even though
the salary statistics was printed in the brochure they were reluctant to
talk about it in front of the prospective CMA's. They said that they have
seen good and bad CAs, CGAs and CMAs. The designation may help one to get a
foot in the door but on the first day of work, it will be all up to a person
and not the designation. Which is so true for any other job?


This morning I was on the website of Athabasca University and found that
they have an MBA program for CMAs and CGAs. What the heck? Is it like a
merry-go-round? It is very confusing for someone like me who is trying to
decide which course to take.

Is CA, CGA and CMA similar things that many companies in software have come
up with - Certification? Certification is a big business in itself for some
of the companies. Some employers require that one has some certification
(ICCP, A+, PMP, MCSE, MCSD, etc). Since I have been in IT for last six
years, I can say from my personal experience that certification doesn't
really mean that person is really good at it. It is just another thing on
the resume to show up to employers and get a foot in the door. I am not
sure if CA, CGA and CMA is same as Certification?

TAM
 
J

Joe Canuck

TAM said:
the resume to show up to employers and get a foot in the door. I am not
sure if CA, CGA and CMA is same as Certification?
So you know where I am coming from... Initially took 1 year electronics
followed by 1 year business studies (accounting) then went on to the
computer courses followed by 25 years working experience in IT. During
my career I have worked closely with accounting departments supporting
their systems.

Certification in IT isn't the same as an accounting designation. The IT
certifications become worthless unless they are renewed due to the ever
changing technology in IT.

Accounting principles on the other hand don't change much from year to
year so once you achieve the CGA designation you have it for life. I
would imagine the one area of accounting where things change from year
to year is taxation... however I suspect those changes proceed at a
snail's pace compared to IT.

Although it is subject to change, for what it is worth here is what my
plan is at the moment:

(1) Take a few entry level accounting courses at a community college
with the idea of getting all the education requirements in for the CB -
Certified Bookkeeper designation. Then try to get an entry level job in
the area and after 3 years experience achieve the CB.

(2) Once I have an entry level position I plan to continue my accounting
education by completing a 1 year accounting certificate program then
moving on to the 2 year diploma program. All courses taken in the 1 year
certificate program are given credit towards the 2 year diploma.

(3) The above studies will get credit towards the CGA. At this point
should I decide to go for that the door will be open. That is to far
into the future for me to predict at this point. My current goals are
rather short term... to become employable at the entry level in a
bookkeeping/accounting position.

Here is why I like this path:

(1) I become ready fairly quickly to start looking at entry level
accounting positions. I feel my computer background gives me a strong
advantage over those applying for the same positions. But at the same
time my lack of experience in accounting is a distinct disadvantage but
I am prepared to accept the entry level position as I realize I'm
basically starting over with something new here.

(2) At each step along the way I actually achieve something. After the
basic bookkeeping courses and 3 years experience I achieve the CB
designation... Certified Bookkeeper. After the 1 year certificate I
achieve more advanced Accounting training and a certicate. After 1 year
more study I achieve the diploma.

(3) The studies I undertake will be given credit towards the CGA.


I think those of us with computer backgrounds are well positioned to
move into the accounting field. After all... accounting is no longer
done by someone hunched over a paper journal with a pen or pencil... it
is done hunched over a keyboard these days. :)
 
A

Ab

Since you seem to be in Canada and I am in the US, I am not familiar
with all the Canadian designations. My two cents had to do with
profesional designations. Go for the biggest one. In the US it is
the CPA designation. I am a CPA and MBA and never regretted it,
eventhough I am not working in public accounting- I teach accounting
and write articles about business in national magazines. I also do
consulting.

You never loose with education and certifications- the more the
better. The CPA certification does open doors and the MBA is the
extra topping. I would not be able to get the attention of
universities, magazine editors and consulting people without these
credentials. Whether you are good at your job or not is a different
subject, but for me, you cannot loose with education. Be very careful
who you listen to regarding your professional future. Many people
just don't want you to get what they don't have or don't value.
Follow your own instincts and do what seems best for you.
 
J

Joe Canuck

Ab said:
subject, but for me, you cannot loose with education. Be very careful
who you listen to regarding your professional future. Many people
just don't want you to get what they don't have or don't value.
Follow your own instincts and do what seems best for you.
Some of us have to do what is realistic and do-able.

We can spend the rest of our lives getting educated or spend some time
getting educated and the rest living.
 
C

Christopher Browne

TAM said:
Is there any particular MBA Program that you want to suggest me?

I know its a jungle out there when it comes to MBA. Yesterday I
attended an information session by CMA Canada and they said that CMA
program has more hands-on approach that most of the MBA's program
lack. MBA is more theoretical.
Of course, that's only true in the discipline of accounting where
about all the "theory" you need is the ability to add and subtract,
and _possibly_ multiply.

The MBA is hardly "theory-oriented" at all in comparison with other
disciplines where the Master's degree is, as likely as not, the phase
where you figure out whether you're actually up to doing the research
necessary to do a Ph.D.
This morning I was on the website of Athabasca University and found
that they have an MBA program for CMAs and CGAs. What the heck? Is
it like a merry-go-round? It is very confusing for someone like me
who is trying to decide which course to take.
Apparently they decided that they could improve tuition sales if they
marketed a program this way.
Is CA, CGA and CMA similar things that many companies in software
have come up with - Certification? Certification is a big business
in itself for some of the companies. Some employers require that one
has some certification (ICCP, A+, PMP, MCSE, MCSD, etc). Since I
have been in IT for last six years, I can say from my personal
experience that certification doesn't really mean that person is
really good at it. It is just another thing on the resume to show up
to employers and get a foot in the door. I am not sure if CA, CGA
and CMA is same as Certification?
What with all the marketing spin that is going into sales of the CGA
designation, it would be easy to mistake it as such. I suspect that
the CMA designation is somewhat like a "big certification that takes a
few years to get."

Traditionally, the CA designation was actually a formal professional
designation conferring specific license UNDER THE LAW, relating to
professional accounting in much the same way that membership in your
locality's bar association is necessary in order to practice as a
lawyer, as an MD degree is required in order to practice medicine, and
such. (Similarly, architectural designs must be signed off by a
professional architect; engineering designs must be signed off by a
professional engineer; only an ordained minister can officially
preside over weddings; only an actuary can sign off actuarial analysis
reports.)

The fact that you could be confused about this suggests that the
professional associations haven't been successfully communicating the
value of their "licenses."

But there are instances of the value of the "licenses" diminishing.
The importance of professional engineering has virtually disappeared;
few people trained as engineers are ever in a position to be able to
"sign off" on anything, and in my jurisdiction, few bother wasting
their time on the extra courses required to complete the designation
they regard as worthless. (Or at least not worth bothering with the
PEO "ethics/legal opinion" courses that haven't got anything to do
with what they actually do.)

In accounting, the same has happened, albeit to a lesser degree. You
only use the legal powers of a CPA or CA if you are personally signing
off on attestation opinions, and _that_ generally implies that you're
a senior executive in a public accounting firm.

Now, a "Mine Sweeper Certified Engineer" doesn't get _any_ legal
powers attributed to him or her by the state, so that is surely a
fundamental difference between MCSE and CA. But if the typical CA
doesn't see their activities change very much, day to day, due to the
legal powers conferred by the designation, they can be forgiven for
not communicating the "vitality" of those legal powers...
--
select 'cbbrowne' || '@' || 'cbbrowne.com';
http://cbbrowne.com/info/advocacy.html
Theoretical physicist---a physicist whose existence is postulated, to
make the numbers balance, but who is never actually observed in the
laboratory.
 
S

Stephanie Serba

I agree with Joe's course of action with 1 exception: if the CB designation
requires one to take a course which is NOT transferrable to either an
accounting certificate/diploma or the CGA, don't bother with the CB.
Frankly, I have yet to see anyone asking for this. I don't think anyone but
bookkeepers know about the Certified Bookkeeper certification.

Word of warning. As a Senior Bookkeeper/Accounting Technician I see MANY
firms wanting the world (3+ years experience, 3rd or 4th level CGA, Ceridian
experience, AccPac/Business Vision experience ad nauseum) and wanting to pay
this dream bookkeeper 11 bucks an hour. Sure that's ok when you are starting
out, but once you've got 2 or 3 years experience (full-cycle to trial
balance, payroll, general accounting, government remittances, post closing
entries for year end etc.), don't sell yourself short.

--
Stephanie Serba, AICIA
Partner, Durham Business Outsource
Accounting & Technology
www.dbo.ca
(e-mail address removed)
REMOVE NOSPAM TO REPLY
 
J

Joe Canuck

Stephanie said:
I agree with Joe's course of action with 1 exception: if the CB designation
requires one to take a course which is NOT transferrable to either an
accounting certificate/diploma or the CGA, don't bother with the CB.
Frankly, I have yet to see anyone asking for this. I don't think anyone but
bookkeepers know about the Certified Bookkeeper certification.

Word of warning. As a Senior Bookkeeper/Accounting Technician I see MANY
firms wanting the world (3+ years experience, 3rd or 4th level CGA, Ceridian
experience, AccPac/Business Vision experience ad nauseum) and wanting to pay
this dream bookkeeper 11 bucks an hour. Sure that's ok when you are starting
out, but once you've got 2 or 3 years experience (full-cycle to trial
balance, payroll, general accounting, government remittances, post closing
entries for year end etc.), don't sell yourself short.
I appreciate your comments Stephanie... thanks!
 
T

TAM

Thank you all, for your suggestions. Next week I am going to attend the
information session from CGA folks. I spent some time exploring the courses
offered by the community college here in Vancouver. Their course is also one
year long. Joe you were talking about taking accounting courses to get an
entry level jobs in accounting. Can you give me an ideas as who is right
person to talk to regarding the selection of courses. Because I have noticed
that who ever I talk to says that their course is THE best. So I am not sure
if I can rely on the student advisor at any college or organization. I wish
I knew someone who works in accounting to get their advice on the courses
but I don't know anyone.

In short my question is how should I decide which course will give me an
entry into the accounting job market? If the course is part time or distance
education, even better because then I can do some work on the side too. I
would prefer if I do work while I am studying for the accounting.
 
S

Stephanie Serba

Start with introductory accounting or bookkeeping. This will cover financial
statements,
accounts receivable & payable, invoicing, the basics.

Then either a cost/managerial accounting course, or introductory business.
The cost accounting is good if you want work in manufacturing or reselling.
The business course will give the basics on types of business in Canada and
how they are set up and run.

Take (if offered) a course on Simply Accounting, AccPac or QuickBooks. Where
you want to find work will decide which you take first. SA and QB are
smaller packages and typically used by smaller businesses, eg. sole
proprietors and partners, or single owner corporations. They are easy to use
and quickly learned. AccPac is for medium to large sized enterprises with
more than 30 employees. It is a bit more complicated and requires importing
of data into the GL from other modules.


--
Stephanie Serba, AICIA
Partner, Durham Business Outsource
Accounting & Technology
www.dbo.ca
(e-mail address removed)
REMOVE NOSPAM TO REPLY


TAM said:
Thank you all, for your suggestions. Next week I am going to attend the
information session from CGA folks. I spent some time exploring the courses
offered by the community college here in Vancouver. Their course is also one
year long. Joe you were talking about taking accounting courses to get an
entry level jobs in accounting. Can you give me an ideas as who is right
person to talk to regarding the selection of courses. Because I have noticed
that who ever I talk to says that their course is THE best. So I am not sure
if I can rely on the student advisor at any college or organization. I wish
I knew someone who works in accounting to get their advice on the courses
but I don't know anyone.

In short my question is how should I decide which course will give me an
entry into the accounting job market? If the course is part time or distance
education, even better because then I can do some work on the side too. I
would prefer if I do work while I am studying for the accounting.



anyone
to
 
J

Joe Canuck

Stephanie offers her good advice in response to your question to me.

Keep in mind here that my experience is in the computer field... not
accounting so I'm offering up what makes common sense to me and what my
own research has yielded so far.

I wouldn't think you'd go too far wrong with starting out on either a 1
year accounting certificate or 2 year diploma accounting programs at the
community college level. Don't bother with the 1 year certificate
program if you don't get credit towards something else... 2 year or 3
year diploma in accounting. Usually the start with accounting is the
accounting basics or intro type course. I took this and a few more years
ago but forget much of it.

Now I suspect somewhere along the way with those 1 or 2 year programs
that the requirements for the Certified Bookkeeper will be satisfied at
least in terms of educational requirements. So, to my way of thinking,
it won't hurt to pick that up along the way... heck if nothing else it
will look pretty on the resume after 3 years working experience. :)

I've noticed all courses for these programs are available via distance
learning from Algonquin College in Ottawa. You being in Vancouver may
have to check out Langara(?)... I used to live there but don't remember
the college name anymore. Anyways the distance learning is good because
you can proceed on your own without attending class. This will work for
me since I'm several hours drive from any college offering this program.

I'm hoping after a few courses I can start applying for entry-level jobs
with some reasonable hope of getting one... then continuing my education
once employed.

Check out the Algonguin site: http://www.algonquinc.on.ca

Click on "Distance Learning" on the left, then "Programs" to view the
various programs offered via distance learning.

Check the "FAQ" section regarding examination arrangements... doesn't
matter much where you live as long as there is some educational
institution nearby you could arrange to write the exams there.

I'm seriously considering one of the accounting programs from Algonquin
via distance learning.
 
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