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 challenge.”
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.”