Careers in Accounting
by Heidi Riley
BDO Canada LLP has provided assurance, accounting, tax, and advisory services to a broad range of clients across the country for over 100 years.
As a member firm of the international BDO network, the firm leverages access to resources and advisors in more than 160 countries around the world. BDO Canada has earned multiple awards, including a spot among Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2023 and Atlantic Magazine’s Best Places to Work 2023.
BDO has locations in Charlottetown and in Summerside, with approximately 50 staff in total on PEI.
BDO typically looks for students studying in an accounting concentration or related field of study such as mathematics, business, or finance who have experience and/or relevant transferable skills and are passionate about pursuing a career in accounting.
“But if that is not the field you are studying right now, definitely don’t count yourself out,” says Nicole Laporte, Manager, Accounting and Assurance at BDO in Charlottetown. “I spent two years working towards a biology degree before I switched to accounting, so it is never too late to switch if you are interested.”
BDO also hires international students who have a valid work permit, and they welcome applications from people with disabilities. BDO is committed to an equal opportunity, discrimination-free workplace.
BDO is looking for professionals who are strong in the following areas:
- Professionalism and an innovative mindset
- Ability to collaborate with others
- Leadership skills
- Ability to work independently
- Strong communication skills
- Digital IQ
- Ability to problem solve and think critically
BDO is looking to hire students to fill the following positions:
- Co-op or Intern, Accounting & Assurance
- Co-op or Intern, Canadian Tax Services
- Junior Associate, Accounting & Assurance
- Junior Accountant, Canadian Tax Services
“We have open roles for new graduates across Canada, notably in our Charlottetown and Summerside PEI offices,” says Nicole. “We hire co-op students, summer students, and new graduates fresh out of university. Most roles are full-time. We also offer co-op and intern roles for students, which start in January, May, and September.
“New graduates starting out get a taste of many different types of work, primarily starting out in accounting and assurance, which would include financial statement preparation, tax returns, and assurance engagements.
“You also get to try other work such as personal tax returns, business plans, advisory, and bookkeeping. This experience helps you decide what area you like best, and then you can narrow down your focus.”
Training and mentorship
“We put a big focus on training and mentorship at BDO,” says Nicole. “From your first day with us, you are paired with a People Leader who will help you set and achieve personal and professional goals and support you in your new team.”
New hires usually meet with their People Leader every other week for check-ins and quarterly for formal progress updates. At these meetings, staff can discuss concerns, ask questions, talk about their objectives, and request any support they need to make sure they are set up for success.
“You are also paired with a BDO Buddy,” says Nicole. “This person is someone at about the same level as you who can answer your questions and help you get acclimated to your new team.”
Nicole has been with BDO about five years. She graduated from UPEI in 2018 with a BA in Business with an Accounting specialization and started at BDO as a Junior Accountant right after graduation. A few months later, she enrolled in the CPA prep program. “I had a few months at my new job to get my feet under me before I started the program.”
Nicole was recognized for her dedication and expertise with promotion to manager at the beginning of 2023. “The opportunity for career progression is a big plus for BDO,” says Nicole.
Myles Grant is an intern at the BDO Charlottetown office. He is also a second-year student at UPEI majoring in business studies, specializing in accounting. He has been working at BDO since the summer of 2022.
“Thanks to BDO, I have been able to gain invaluable work experience in the field of Accounting,” says Myles. “My management partners have been really supportive of my education, and they give me the flexibility to work as a part-time student during the school year and full-time during the summer. BDO has been a great place to work for a business student, and working here has been a benefit to my studies and my career.”
The CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) Program
Those who wish to enter the CPA Program ideally would have a business degree with a specialization in accounting.
The CPA prep program has two components: education and work experience. BDO is pre-approved for the experience component of the program.
“There is a lot of support for employees taking the CPA program while working at BDO,” says Nicole. “The cost of the CPA courses is covered by BDO, and they provide mentorship in preparation for the exam. There is lots of paid time off to study, and BDO will pay for study programs that help you succeed in your exams.
“Working at BDO helps you better understand the CPA courses, because you learn as you work,” says Nicole. “BDO grants us paid study days and flexible study leave. I saved up my paid study days and vacation days so that I could take off time to study for the final exam of the CPA prep program. BDO also reimburses the exam and study guide fees, which help set you up for success.”
A coach is assigned to each person taking the CPA program. “This person, who has just taken the program, will help you get through it, answer your questions, and give you study tips.”
For more about the CPA program, visit www.cpapei.ca
Other benefits of working for BDO
- “There are a lot of different areas of focus that you could pursue at BDO,” says Nicole. “As a new hire, you could experience all these areas before you decide what type of work excites you and what you enjoy.”
- Career development opportunities and professional development. “Especially for students, we provide a lot of education opportunities and training,” says Nicole.
- “Because we are a global firm, we offer secondments in other areas of the world. For example, a colleague just got back from a two-year secondment to England.”
- A Dress for the Day policy asks employees to dress professionally when meeting with clients, but they can dress business-casual on other days.
- A flexible work schedule with standard hours of 37.5 hours per week. Most people choose a hybrid model, working both in the office and from home.
- Competitive personal time off plans and extra-long weekends.
- BDO prioritizes well-being with the BDO Wellness Reimbursement program, and also offers many other perks and benefits to support their employees.
How to apply
Current openings are posted on the BDO Careers web page. Open roles are shared on LinkedIn (BDO Canada) and Instagram (@BDOCampus). Job seekers should keep an eye on the BDO career page and apply directly through that application form.
Interested and want to know how to apply? If you wish to apply to an open role at BDO, apply directly on the BDO website through the application form for the role you are interested in and upload your resumé, cover letter, and a copy of your unofficial transcript if available.
Students are encouraged to attend recruitment and networking events to chat with the BDO team and network and connect with them on LinkedIn.