An in-depth look at the findings of the 2017 CPA Profession Compensation Study Report is now available for members to view. The results of the Report are based on a sample of 33,709 Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) across the country. The Report reveals that members holding the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation have a median annual compensation of $107,000, and an average of $146,000 among members. Note that the survey results were collected in 2017, so are reflective of full-year compensation levels for 2016 and the early part of 2017.
Although the previously reported compensation levels for 2014 (from the 2015 study) included a median of $108,000 and a mean of $151,000 (a 1% decrease in median and 3% decrease in mean compensation), this result should be interpreted with caution. This is due to the changes in methodology between the 2015 and 2017 studies, particularly in terms of how data about non-base compensation was collected. Here in Alberta, it should also be noted that the 2015 study would have reflected compensation levels prior to the economic downturn in Alberta, which began to take hold in 2015.
Let’s take a look at the highlights
Provincially, Alberta ranked highest in median compensation, $125,000, and also had the highest average compensation of $162,000 in 2017. This was a decrease compared to 2014, where the average was $184,000. Ontario and Saskatchewan ranked tied for second in median compensation at $110,000 for 2017.
Edmonton and Calgary also ranked in the top three for highest median compensation among CPA members in Census Metropolitan Areas with over 100 members reporting. Calgary was tops with $133,000 and Edmonton third at $116,000. Toronto was second at $118,000.
Industry-wise, with at least 100 members reporting, the highest median compensation can be found in holding companies ($164K), mining ($145K), and oil and gas ($144K).
Internationally, CPAs working abroad have significantly higher median compensation than those in Canada, with the median compensation of international workers $158K compared to $105K for those working in Canada. The highest median compensation is among those working in Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates, at $250K, $249K and $248K respectively. Median income among those working in the United States was also higher than Canada, at $185K.
How does this study help CPAs with their career?
- Members can compare their compensation levels with their peers in similar positions. They can see whether they’re getting fair compensation. The study also helps members who are considering a career move.
- Employers can see if they’re paying market value. Employers looking to hire will know the current market value for a specific role.
- Students studying to become CPAs or considering becoming CPAs will get a sense of where compensation levels start and how they progress.