Accounting and finance professionals are highly sought after in the Toronto market, with demand for high quality candidates consistently outstripping supply.
As a result, candidates are frequently in the position to choose from a range of available career paths including banking, pension funds, asset management, insurance and fintech.
Within banking the ‘Big 5’ Canadian banks dominate hiring and can offer qualified accountants opportunities across financial reporting, internal audit, financial planning & analysis and accounting policy and advisory.
However, candidates should also explore the international banks that operate in Toronto and offer investment, corporate and retail banking services.
“There are interesting growth sectors within banking including Chinese banks servicing the ever growing population of Chinese nationals in Toronto and credit unions,” commented Martin Fox, Managing Director at Robert Walters.
“While businesses with this model have traditionally been more common on the West Coast we are now seeing them actively growing in Toronto.”
Pension funds in Toronto are dominated the ‘Big 3’ as well as numerous national funds. The funds remain an attractive choice for many qualified accountants, offering exposure to interesting investment opportunities across a widespread portfolio of financial instruments, private equity, real estate and infrastructure.
“Many of these firms have a strong portfolio of global assets allowing for international exposure and potential secondments to other offices,” explained Fox.
“CPAs are most highly sought after to fill roles within corporate controlling, investment accounting and tax, with opportunities in these areas widely available.”
The ‘buy side’ of asset management is a smaller but rapidly growing industry in Toronto as investors look for more diversity and safety in where they are placing their money. Demand is high in this area for institutional asset managers, private wealth managers, hedge funds, private equity and real estate investment firms.
“The large domestic asset managers dominate hiring across controlling, investment accounting and internal audit,” commented Martin Fox.
“However, these firms can offer candidates exposure to the US and international (especially Asian) market. Candidates should also consider the potential for career development these firms can offer due to their leaner structures and higher exposure to senior stakeholders.”
Toronto has attracted most of the world’s largest insurance companies over the past 30 years, with major operations based there to tap into the vast property and casualty and reinsurance market in Canada.
“Although there are limited opportunities for accountants in most of these firms, candidates that do secure the few seats that open up per year are rewarded with roles that span all areas of finance, including financial/management accounting, FP&A, internal controls, as well as a high level of senior stakeholder exposure to underwriters and actuaries,” said Fox.
“The large domestic life and general insurance firms offer the most opportunity for CPAs, especially those coming from a public practice background that have audited insurance clients and can bring the applicable regulatory knowledge.”
There are interesting growth sectors within banking including Chinese banks servicing the ever growing population of Chinese nationals in Toronto and credit unions.
As an emerging and growing field, fintech is able to offer a wide range of opportunities. The rising number of startup firms in Toronto are playing a particularly prominent role in driving demand for finance professionals in this area.
“Qualified accountants are highly sought after by fintech firms and in many cases can offer a more dynamic and varied working environment than traditional employers,” said Fox.
“While these companies may not be able to offer the higher salaries of larger employer, many professionals are still attracted to them due to the entrepreneurial environment and the chance to work in a developing field.”
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