Accounting Profession: A Changing Field

The accounting profession is not what it used to be – at the heart of a company’s strategy, being an accountant today means actively participating in the company’s development. Portrait of the “modern” accountant.

Austere, isolated in his office to draw up columns of figures, dressed up in a brown suit – there are still plenty of clichés about the accounting profession! However, it’s from the era when the accountant was confined to balance sheets and bookkeeping. Today, whether specializing in tax or auditing, the accounting profession includes a social dimension and places the accountant at the heart of the company’s internal organization.

The accounting profession is more than just figures…

Presenting the financial statements of a company is obviously no longer the only task of the modern accountant. He must now support company managers in many fields that are key to the company’s life and development. At the moment, 39,000 certified professional accountants in Quebec are active in all sectors of the economy.

“The accountant of 2017 helps the entrepreneur understand what is happening in his company. In addition to making sense of the numbers, he gives advice essential to the organization’s growth,” says Ryan Lazanis, founder of Xen Accounting, a Montreal firm of Certified Professional Accountants (CPA).

The accounting profession has undoubtedly broadened its tax, social and financial services, beyond financial and cash management. As the entrepreneur’s right hand, the CPA prepares real financial and administrative policies.

“The time is past when the company had to sort documents, group them together, send them to the accountant who in turn checked everything before writing his reports,” explains Ryan Lazanis. “Today’s accountant puts in place effective programs for data and information management and systems for automation of time-consuming tasks.”

… and a simple calculator

New information and communication technologies have greatly transformed the profession. “In our ten-person team, our software engineer has a vital role. Digital technology is now an inseparable part of practising the profession,” emphasizes Ryan Lazanis.

In his view, the accountant considers himself as much an entrepreneur as a CPA, it is now essential to know how to speak the same language as the company’s managers and leaders – accounting can no longer constitute an ancillary service, external to the company. “Our profession will include a greater share of creativity, in an industry of less and less traditional services,” adds Ryan Lazanis. “Being a highly skilled digital technology specialist in an accounting firm is the major role of tomorrow’s accountant!

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