Long a champion of financial literacy, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) believes that helping people gain greater financial knowledge is critical to individual growth and Canada’s prosperity. To accomplish that goal, the accounting profession takes its financial literacy program to places where Canadians gather, including workplaces.
The workplace is an ideal environment for starting financial conversations, explains Doretta Thompson, financial literacy leader for CPA Canada. “Research has shown that employees say they want to learn about financial literacy from their employers.
“Creating safe spaces at work to learn and talk about money helps people plan, save and, for those struggling with debt, explore solutions,” notes Ms. Thompson, who adds that financial stress has a significant impact on productivity and absenteeism. “There’s a huge payback for employers when they help employees address their personal finances.”
CPA Canada works collaboratively with 6,500 Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) who have volunteered and trained to deliver free financial literacy sessions in locations across the country. Beyond workplaces, session hosts also include schools, libraries, community centres and more.
The unprecedented level of consumer debt in Canada is one indicator of the toll exacted by knowledge gaps about financial management, says Ms. Thompson.
According to Statistics Canada, the debt to disposable income level was 177.6 per cent in the third quarter of this year – which means households owe close to $1.78 for every dollar of disposable income.
“People don’t admit they need help because money is one of the last remaining conversational taboos in our society,” says Ms. Thompson. “With our financial literacy program, we’re opening up that conversation.”
At these sessions, CPAs draw upon their expertise to help people become better money managers. There are more than 40 session topics aimed at people in various life stages, including titles such as: Ten Healthy Habits of Financial Management; How to Teach Your Kids About Money; Effective Tax Strategies; and Planning for Your Retirement.
In 2018, volunteer CPAs delivered more than 2,200 sessions, reaching about 60,000 Canadians. The financial literacy program has also won numerous awards, including an award for thought leadership from the International Accounting Bulletin.
If you are interested in hosting a session, visit cpacanada.ca/financialsessions.
In addition to its financial literacy sessions, CPA Canada provides multiple downloadable resources and tools to bolster financial literacy. Visit cpacanada.ca/financialliteracy to learn more.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s Editorial Department was not involved in its creation.