As part of its commitment to move the New Brunswick economy forward, the Chartered Professional Accountants of New Brunswick (CPA New Brunswick) commissioned an Economic Impact Report on the considerable economic contributions made by CPAs. The report highlights that the total compensation paid to CPAs, combined with indirect and induced economic activity, boosted provincial GDP by an estimated $418 million in 2021. This represents nearly 1.4% of total provincial GDP, and a contribution similar to the total tourism industry in the province. Prepared by Jupia Consultants, this report makes the case that a focused effort should be made to ensure the CPA workforce and talent pipeline continues to thrive in New Brunswick.
“Labour productivity in the accounting services sector has been rising, and since 2011 it has been higher than the country overall. Between 2012 – 2020, the average annual operating profit margin was more than 27%,” adds Mylène Lapierre, President and CEO, CPA New Brunswick. “However, with the threat of CPA services being provided remotely by out-of-province suppliers, it is more important than ever to make certain New Brunswick has a strong talent pipeline and remains an attractive location for CPAs to live, to ensure this important economic engine continues into the future.”
Because of the education, training, and skills required to do the work, CPAs earn well above average employment income. This higher level of income translates into considerable tax revenue for governments: an estimated $77.5 million to provincial and local governments in 2021.
“To put this into perspective, just the provincial and local tax revenue induced by CPAs would cover the salaries of more than 1,000 teachers in New Brunswick, or over half the cost of all highway maintenance across the province every year,” says economist and author of the report, David Campbell. “There is a case to attract more CPAs to live and work in New Brunswick, as every $1 million in industry output boosts employment across the province by more than 12 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, which has significant tax implications for government.”
This report is timely, as it highlights challenges for the future of the CPA workforce in New Brunswick, including:
- As of the 2016 Census, 26% of accountants and financial auditors in New Brunswick were over the age of 55 and likely to retire in the relative near future (the highest share of the workforce over the age of 55 among the 10 provinces).
- There has been a steady increase in the number of vacant jobs in the occupational group “financial auditors and accountants” across New Brunswick in recent years.
- New Brunswick is attracting fewer immigrants with accounting backgrounds relative to population size (in 2021, the province attracted only 1.3% of Canada-wide permanent resident admissions with an accounting background).
“CPA New Brunswick, the professional organization for CPAs in our province, is dedicated to addressing the challenges outlined above by growing the CPA talent pipeline,” says Lapierre. “We are creating partnerships with government to support the continued growth of this crucial sector of the economy, and we welcome like-minded businesses and agencies to enhance our efforts.
“We have New Brunswick-specific advantages, such as our bilingual workforce; ranking third in the country for the share of the population with a strong or very strong sense of belonging; and the flexibility of remote working. Now is the time to leverage those advantages to promote the growth of the CPA profession in New Brunswick, allowing us to move all of the province forward,” concludes Lapierre.