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February 5, 2023

Canadian Accounting Firms Are Getting Rid of Bonuses So They Can Pay More?

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CPA Canada has shared some Canadian accounting firm hiring trends worth keeping an eye on. Among them? Ditching bonuses.

Despite their longtime presence in the traditional CPA compensation package, bonuses are being abandoned in some firms, notes Adele Harraway, managing partner, Canadian Accounting Consultants, which specializes in CPA recruitment. Instead, firms are upping the starting salary to entice candidates. This is in line with the results of a CPA Canada poll, where members ranked salary as the top benefit that would affect their decision to accept a new job.

“Salary increases have not kept up with inflation with many companies capping increases at five per cent, often resulting in people having to leave to get an increase,” says Harraway. “As a result, companies are getting more creative in their recruitment efforts by upping the base salaries to above the market average.”

And firms with generous WFH policies might get away with paying less than their militant office-working counterparts:

“The first question I get asked now by candidates is whether the role is remote, hybrid or in the office. Not what the job pays,” says Jennifer Mazzarolo, CPA, president of GTA-based firm, Maverick Consulting Group, which specializes in recruitment, transition and coaching services for CPAs. “Base salary is still important, but people are willing to give a little in that regard to get the flexibility we have all enjoyed during the pandemic.”

Friendly reminder: do not accept a pay cut for the privilege of working remotely.

CPA Canada also breaks down annual mental health coverage provided by three of the four Big 4 firms in the Great White North offered as part of overall wellness incentives:

  • KPMG: CA$2000 ($1,557)
  • Deloitte: CA$4000 ($3,115)
  • EY: CA$5000 ($3,894)

The average accounting firm salary in Canada is CA$50,000 ($38,978) per year or $25.64 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $42,800 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $95,000 per year (

“It’s an active candidate-driven market,” says Mazzarolo. “Instead of The Great Resignation, I think it’s ‘The Great Awakening.’ Candidates are looking at what’s in it for me, realizing they are the architects of their own careers.”

Work-life balance preferred over big salaries, CPAs say [CPA Canada]

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