Want to take control of your money and financial wellness? A certified financial professional can help
Published November 1, 2021.
Alberta-based Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Esteban Rivera, immigrated to Canada more than 20 years ago. He shares how accounting and other financial professionals can help immigrants and refugees make stronger money management decisions.
New Canadians can be unfamiliar with Canada’s financial and tax systems, products and available services.
According to University of Calgary research, immigrants and refugees are at a higher risk of financial fraud, exploitation and vulnerability because of this lack of knowledge.
Originally from Venezuela, Esteban Rivera, Principal and Senior Consultant at Edmonton public accounting firm Newriver Professional Corporation says seeking expert financial advice can help newcomers navigate the unknowns of the Canadian financial system.
“New Canadians often have a lot of uncertainties about their tax rights and obligations when they arrive here,” says Rivera. “An accountant can provide professional advice to explain Canada’s tax rules and regulations, types of documentation to be gathered for the preparation of personal tax returns, can assist in that preparation, inform about important deadlines for filing as well as available government financial assistance. As accountants, we play a key role on providing guidance and professional advice to newcomers in order to minimize their taxes by applying effective and proven tax strategies.”
Rivera indicates newcomers often need clarification about the different kinds of financial experts and advisers available to them, including understanding of their unique roles and credentials. For example, a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation refers to an accounting professional who has completed a comprehensive certification program consisting of education, professional experience and examination. Similarly, certified financial planners must also complete several steps in their accreditation process.
Rivera believes accountants and financial planners play different but important roles in supporting newcomers.
“It is common for newcomers to arrive to Canada with a lot of uncertainty about how to plan for their current and future financial situations,” he says. “As a CPA, I’m entrusted to help individuals, businesses and other organizations save money by advising on effective tax strategies. A financial planner provides guidance on how to achieve your financial goals such as short and long term savings, retirement plans and education savings for yourself or your children. They help your money grow for the future, according to your goals.”
Based on his own immigration experience, Rivera recommends that in addition to seeking out financial expertise, immigrants and refugees take initiative and show adaptability in building their own knowledge and skills in financial and career matters.
“Accountants can help their clients with personal financial strategies but as immigrants, we need to adapt very quickly. We cannot sit and wait for things to happen.”
Rivera believes new Canadians can improve their financial literacy and wellness by strengthening their communication skills and pursuing education opportunities to better position themselves for increased income through career advancement.
As for financial advice offered by accounting professionals, he believes there simply is no substitute.
“Effective and relevant professional advice prepares clients to understand the future financial and tax implications of their current investment decisions,” says Rivera.
For newcomers to Canada, this expert advice can mean the difference between a successful or challenging financial future in their new country.
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