Accounting rules differ from one country to another, but thanks to some reciprocity agreements and recognition arrangements with foreign organizations, CPAs can emigrate without restarting their careers from scratch.
Tax laws are very different in France, in Mississippi or in South Africa, but the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec has nonetheless concluded agreements with these states, and many others, that allow Quebec accountants to continue their careers abroad without too many complications.
Why some countries and not others? The documents available on the Ordre des CPA’s website states that agreements have been made “with foreign accounting bodies whose conditions of access to the profession have been assessed as equivalent to Canadian and Quebec standards.”
Many American States are on the list, from Nevada to South Carolina, Colorado and Nebraska. In some cases, such as Georgia or Hawaii, the right to practice comes from successfully passing the common final examination. The Ordre des CPAs assesses Quebec candidates in September of each year, in many cities throughout the territory.
And in Europe?
A Quebec accountant who considers the Old Continent, unfortunately, has fewer choices than one who wants to explore America. However, agreements make it easier for those who choose Ireland or Scotland, as well as the many Francophone accountants who are looking for professional renewal in France.
The Ordre des CPA and the Ordre des experts-comptables de France are bound by a mutual recognition arrangement that permits easy movement of human resources between the two countries. If you “have a legal ability to practise as a Chartered Accountant in Quebec or a Chartered Accountant in France, and if you have obtained a training credential issued by an authority recognized or designated by Quebec or France on their respective territory,” your qualifications will be recognized in both territories. Good news!
Of course, a Chartered Accountant will have to commit to train in the tax rules of his host country. Accelerated training could be suggested by the accounting bodies of his new country, and he would then have to study the regulations rigorously. It’s an ideal adventure for an accountant who likes to read the fine print and has a good ability for adapting!