For the rising accountant, it
pays to develop specialities. One of the most rewarding areas to focus on is
U.S. tax services.
In Canada, a country
connected both physically and fiscally to the U.S., there is a huge need for
accountants with expertise in this area. However, accountants with this
expertise are few and far between.
As J. Rolland Vaive, the
founder of Ottawa-based Vaive and Associates, puts it, there’s a lot of work
available in the field, but not many people qualified to do it.
“In Canada, it’s a very hot
area,” he says. “There’s huge demand, and it’s a case of the demand far
outstripping the supply.”
Part of the reason there are
so few accountants specializing in U.S. tax services is that it can be
difficult work. Those in the field can anticipate numerous technical
challenges. Yet those challenges are also what makes the work interesting.
“You can’t be complacent if
you practice in that area,” says Vaive. “The ever-changing aspect of it makes
it challenging, particularly in Canada, where if you’re a U.S. tax specialist,
you also have to have a solid understanding of the Canadian system as well.
“But for the right person,
who likes to be stimulated, who likes to work in an area that is growing
constantly and requires constant learning, it’s a really interesting
These challenges are also
softened by above-average salaries.
“It’s very lucrative,”
explains Vaive. “The profession is a well-paid (sector) to begin with, but
these sub-specialities, they pay very well. It leads to higher-than-average
salaries compared to what you might get in other areas of the profession.”
In addition to a solid
income, accountants who develop an expertise in U.S. tax services can also
anticipate employment for life. The sky-high demand for specialists in this
field, coupled with the ever-evolving needs of clients, means that work will
never be difficult to find — anywhere in the country.
“They are pretty much
guaranteed employment for life (by specializing),” says Vaive.
“U.S. tax expertise also
allows you travel. If you look at job postings in the tax and accounting world,
it’s very much in demand.”
The rewards of getting
involved in U.S. tax services, of course, extend beyond the life of the
accountant personally, and into the life of the client. This is important work,
and Vaive has seen firsthand how clients can benefit from it.
“You can really add value to
your client’s lives,” Vaive concludes. “When you get involved in U.S. tax
issues, you’re helping them out. You’re making a huge difference.”