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Paving Your Own Road to Success: Navigating the CPA Career Paths

June 29, 2023

The choice to pursue a CPA designation is not one to be made lightly. If you’re considering a career as a professional accountant, you likely already understand that the road to receiving your designation is long, intensive and marked by many important decisions. What you may not know, however, is that choosing your CPA career path is just as important of a decision as choosing to pursue a CPA designation in the first place.

Once you’re at the point in your CPA journey that you need to start earning some experience, you’ll begin talking to articling firms about the paths they offer and inevitably begin asking yourself “how do I know which CPA career path is best for me?”

At DMCL, we offer three different paths that are pre-approved by the CPA certification program. Let’s breakdown what these different paths entail, why you might choose to pursue each one and how to ultimately make that important decision.

External Audit: Always in demand

Welcome to the fast-paced and dynamic world of audit in public accounting. The External Audit path puts you on track to obtain licensure in audit upon certification, enabling you to pursue a career in analyzing companies’ financial reports and records to verify accuracy and make recommendations for improvement. Audit professionals, especially those who specialize in public company audits, are always in demand, setting you up with plenty of opportunities to succeed. And as one of the most recognized audit firms in Canada, DMCL can provide you with valuable audit experience that will set you up for success from day one.

If you have a passion for financial analysis, a desire to work with a diverse range of companies and an interest in gaining exposure to accounting at an arm’s reach from the public markets, then external audit might be right for you.

Assurance, Compilation and Tax (ACT): The bread & butter of public accounting

The ACT path provides students with broad exposure to assurance, compilation and tax engagements, working largely with private enterprise organizations. Those who choose this path benefit from the versatile skillset it provides, giving them in-depth knowledge of the operations, financial challenges and compliance requirements of the businesses they work with. Additionally, ACT professionals have the option of bridging their practice to pursue further qualifications for audit and review licensure, which broadens the number of potential routes they can take in their career.

Consider the ACT path if you’re someone who values a broader range of tasks and the ability to work on a variety of engagements. ACT professionals also have great opportunities to build long-term relationships with their clients, providing ongoing support, advice and guidance as their business evolves over time.

Experience Verification Route (EVR): Build your own accounting adventure

Are you a self-starter with some previous experience already under your belt who’s looking to make the switch into public accounting? If this sounds like you, the EVR path might be a perfect fit. With the EVR path, students determine how they’ll demonstrate the required relevant competencies to receive their designation. This self-directed route gives you flexibility in choosing how you shape your practice and guide your career from the start. Like the ACT path, EVR students also have the opportunity to pursue further qualifications for audit and review licensure down the line.

If you’re looking to make the most of your previous experience, the EVR path is a great option to continue building on skills you’ve already established and take the next step in your career. Choosing to pursue the EVR path allows you to take a self-directed approach to your career and gives you choice in how you gain experience to pivot to a career in public accounting.

Choosing the path that fits you best

The first thing you should know is that there’s no ‘best’ CPA path to pursue, just the best path for you. To choose the most suitable route, you should consider your interests, personals strengths and long-term career goals, then contrast them with each path to evaluate their compatibility. No matter which path you ultimately end up choosing, your mentors at DMCL will ensure that you’re comfortable, engaged and satisfied with the experience that you’re gaining.

Whether you prefer to focus on one practice area or take matters into your own hands with the EVR route, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to succeed at DMCL. For more information on our CPA paths and everything they offer, visit our CPA program page.