BComm students only: The Asper School of Business has ONE undergraduate co-op program. However, there are many different ways a co-op student can secure a co-op job. One way is through the annual CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) Recruitment that occurs annually, each fall.
CPA Recruitment is a structured and formalized recruitment process specifically for students majoring/interested in accounting. Accounting firms that have a pre-approved program to support employees working towards a CPA designation are referred to as “CPA Firms”. Participating firms include “the Big Four”, other public accounting firms, and training offices. They recruit and hire university students for positions in the future including winter/summer/fall co-op work terms and full-time graduate-level positions. This is an intensive process which includes writing applications (CACEE forms), the CPA Wine & Cheese, off-campus networking events, interviews, and may also include company tours. The Asper Co-op Program offers an “Early CPA Intake” with an earlier application deadline in order to have the time to admit students into the co-op program AS WELL AS prepare them for participating in the CPA Recruitment process.
Going through CPA Recruitment for a student’s first co-op work term is not the only path to an accounting career and a CPA designation. Organizations that do not participate in this process and post at later dates may also offer similar supports to employees. CPA firms that participate in the annual recruitment process may have additional openings that become available throughout the year. The Asper Co-op Program also conducts a structured “general co-op recruitment period” three times a year, in advance of the start of each distinct work term. Any organization may post during general co-op recruitment, which typically includes various opportunities in all majors, including accounting. Students who do not opt to participate in CPA Recruitment for their first co-op work term still have the option to participate in CPA Recruitment for future co-op work terms if their schedule permits.
Wondering if you should apply to a public or private accounting firm? Public accounting firms often prepare, review, and audit clients' financial statements. They may also conduct tax work including the preparation of income tax returns, and estate and tax planning. Private/industry firms typically employ accountants in the finance and accounting departments of the business to fulfill a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting duties. They record and analyze the financial information of the business, and provide it for internal use by managers.
Typically, students that apply for “Early CPA Intake” are pretty serious about pursuing accounting as a major and career, but it is not necessary. If a student is undecided as to whether or not they want to try CPA Recruitment, they are welcome to still apply and participate. However, a heavy workload is to be expected as they will be required to attend co-op workshops and recruiting events, prepare multiple job applications, and attend interviews all in a short timeframe of approximately eight weeks. All other co-op students admitted under “general intake” have a co-op preparation schedule that is spread out over the course of six months and still have the opportunity to apply for accounting positions.