Are you on the lookout for an accounting clerk, accounting technician or an accountant or would you like to get into one of these professions yourself? What’s the difference between these three roles? It’s true that with so many names for the different job titles and functions, it’s not always easy to distinguish between these three professions, especially if you are not a financial expert.

In order to shed light on this  matter, T2inc.ca highlight many factors to help you tell the difference between an accounting clerk, an accounting technician and an accountant.

What training do I need to become an accounting clerk, accounting technician or an accountant?

In Canada, the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) organization exists to support the unification of the accounting profession. As such, CPA Canada offers different paths into the accounting profession, and we will explain the different options depending on the desired job.

Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) to be an accounting clerk

You need to carry out professional training in order to be an accounting clerk. At the end of this training, students are awarded a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS).

This curriculum includes modules in information retrieval, spreadsheet use (such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets), letter formatting, processing and calculation of accounting documents, and even cash management.

Diploma of Collegial Studies (DCS) to be an accounting technician

An accounting technician must attend college to work in this area of finance. They have the option to take a three-year university course leading to a Diploma of Collegial Studies in Accounting and Management Technology (DCS). This program, which goes more in depth than that of an accounting clerk, can also be carried out in alternating periods of 4 months of paid work and includes training in the mastery of business accounting software.

To become an accounting technician, you can alternatively choose a shorter course offered by a CEGEP or a private college in Quebec. In this case, you’d receive an Attestation of College Studies (ACS) instead.

It is good to know that once you have the DCS, prospective accounting technicians can follow the DSP-DCS accounting route which enables them to gain two diplomas in less than 4 years of studying. All you need to do is have your accounting skills certified.

University to be an accountant

Becoming an accountant requires a university degree and so takes a lot longer than the two other options. To be an accountant, you must also have professional work experience approved by an accounting association as well as on-the-job training.

What different tasks do these three professionals do?

If you are looking for a professional accountant, an accounting clerk or an accounting technician, it is important to know what tasks they carry out on a daily basis. If their training isn’t the same, what they do at work also won’t be the same.

What does an accounting clerk do?

Accounting clerks are primarily responsible for calculating, preparing and publishing documents linked to clients’ financial accounts. This includes accounting invoices and business inventory statements. They are also responsible for compiling budget data and documents, preparing account statements, online corporate tax and cost reports in addition to performing other office administrative tasks.

What does an accounting technician do?

Accounting technicians are considered to be the accountant's assistant. They assist the accountant in tasks that the accounting clerk does not have access to. In addition, they maintain accounting records, prepare and review the company’s year-end entries. They also reconcile bank accounts, prepare payrolls and assist in budget preparation.

As the accountant’s second-in-command, the accounting technician learns quickly. This allows them to rapidly progress towards an accounting position.

What does an accountant do?

The accountant, on the other hand, plays a more prominent role in corporate accounting. On a daily basis, they review accounts, prepare and adjust journal entries and perform reconciliation analysis of bank statements. They maintain the general ledger, take part in internal control assessments and publish the company's various accounting adjustments.

The accountant’s responsibilities are important, and they are often also involved in the management team’s administrative meetings.

Accounting clerk, accounting technician or accountant: How to choose

It can be quite complex to make your choice between these three professions as their differences are so small. However, considering their training, their assignments and the role they play within a company, you have all the essential information to orient yourself towards the accountant who suits you best.

If you are a business on the lookout for a tax accountant for your corporate business tax returns, our experts at T2inc.ca are at your disposal to discuss your queries. Feel free to contact our team of professionals who will be able to offer you some advantageous solutions.

Frédéric Roy-Gobeil


As President of T2inc.ca and an entrepreneur at heart, I have founded many start-ups such as delve Labs and T2inc.ca. A former tax specialist at Ernst & Young, I am also a member of the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés CPA and have a master's degree in taxation from the Université de Sherbrooke. With a passion for the world of entrepreneurship and the growth mindset, I have authored numerous articles and videos on the industry and the business world, as well as on accounting, taxation, financial statements and financial independence.

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