Salary Survey


Compensation Study


From June to September 2013, provincial accounting bodies and CPA Canada conducted a compensation survey of Chartered Professional Accountants and members of provincial accounting bodies actively pursuing unification during the survey period (collectively referred to as professional accountants in the report). 

Click on the links below to access the reports.



Report Highlights:

  • Results from the 2013 Compensation Study (which reviews the compensation of the CPA profession during 2012) show that the profession is financially rewarding with an average compensation of $141,000, and a median compensation of $105,000
  • While they made up a small proportion (about 12%) of respondents, entrepreneurial professional accountants earned more in 2012, on average, than non-business owners.  Owners of non-accounting businesses are the most successful, with average compensation just over $300,000. Comparatively, owners of accounting firms made $185,000 on average.  As an owner of an accounting firm, it is far more lucrative to be a Partner than it is to be a Sole Practitioner.  In fact, total compensation of Sole Practitioners ($133,000) is more in line with non-owners ($132,000)
  • Looking at all professional accountants, average compensation was highest in Alberta ($177,000), followed by Ontario ($145,000), and British Columbia ($142,000). Sole Practitioners, Partners, and other business owners are highly compensated in Saskatchewan and Alberta, relative to other provinces. Non-owners are best compensated in Alberta followed by Ontario.
  • Accountants who have been professionally designated in Canada, but are working abroad have been omitted from the overall compensation numbers in this report. That said, for those working internationally, the highest average compensation goes to those working in Hong Kong ($364,000), followed by Switzerland ($307,000). The lowest international compensation goes to professional accountants in France ($136,000).
  • Looking at the entire CPA compensation of members residing in Canada by area of practice, average compensation for professional accountants working in a firm that provides professional services such as consulting, earned $177,000, followed by members that work in a firm that provides auditing/tax services ($134,000), non-profit ($118,000), government ($113,000) and education ($108,000).  Within industry, compensation was highest for professional accountants employed in holding and conglomerate ($259,000), oil & gas ($203,000) and lowest in arts & leisure companies ($129,000).
  • About three quarters of the CPA profession (73%) believe their total compensation for 2013 will be higher than it was in 2012.  This proportion is highest in professional services (77%) and lowest for education (69%).  Of the remaining professional accountants who do not think their compensation will increase, most believe it will stay the same
  • Professional accountants with the titles of Senior Vice President, Business Owner / Partner, or President/CEO earned the highest overall compensation (over $300,000 on average for each)
  • Most professional accountants (68%) were entitled to a vacation of about 3-5 weeks (15-24 working days) in 2012, and, most (60%) took that amount of vacation time.  The vast majority of professional accountants (82%) had all of their professional dues paid for by their employers or business.  Medical benefits, life insurance, and long-term disability insurance were the most common benefits for professional accountants in 2012 – over 60% received them
  • Just over 40% of professional accountants ‘often’ worked outside of business hours; over 80% did so at least occasionally.  Members in professional services or education are most likely to work outside business hours, and professional accountants in government are the least likely to. Those professional accountants who worked outside business hours tended to be compensated $40,000 more, on average, than those who do not.  Over half of members (56%) disagreed that working strictly during business hours impacted their ability to get a promotion.
  • Training programs, flexible working hours, and working from home were the most commonly offered and used work/life balance programs.  These options were used frequently across all areas of practice
  • Professional accountants are split when it comes to choosing work/life balance over compensation:  42% agree that they have chosen lower compensation to allow for balance, while 36% disagree. In reality, those who agree that they have chosen lower compensation in exchange for work/life balance do receive less than those who did not make this choice (about 26% less, on average)

If you have any questions regarding the compensation survey, please direct them to Paul Long (