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The CPA Way




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Tashia Batstone, MBA, FCPA, FCA

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If your goal is a career in business, CPA has the path to get you there. When you take "The CPA Way," you learn how to integrate diverse pieces of information, see situations more accurately and apply reasoned judgment.

There are multiple paths to the CPA designation, which is extremely important in our changing business world. This means there's flexibility for entry, meeting the needs of students already in the work force, career changers, those with international training, university graduates in unrelated areas, as well as new business graduates.

The CPA certification program combines elements that ensure its graduates finish with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills as professional accountants - rigorous theoretical learning, practical application, and a contextual understanding of the broader issues of industry, government and public practice. 

It is based on a methodical problem solving approach articulated as The CPA Way. When you practice the CPA Way, you learn how to integrate diverse pieces of information, see situations more accurately and apply reasoned judgment. This approach extends far beyond the CPA Program. CPA professional development courses provide life-long learning, making sure those skills gained in the CPA certification program are maintained and enhanced as best in class through all phases of your career as a professional accountant.

Career Opportunities

The new CPA is more than an accounting designation - it also is a business credential that can open many doors.

Want to be a CEO, CFO, or Chairperson of the Board?

Whether you take the audit or industry stream, the CPA professional program gives you the strategic, management and technical skills to open the doors to the highest echelons of business.

Want international recognition so you can work anywhere in the world?

The Canadian CPA designation is recognized and respected worldwide. The high quality of the CPA Program allows the CPA profession to enter into reciprocity agreements with many of the world's leading accounting bodies, providing members with the opportunity to live and work abroad.

Want an accounting career in industry, government, not-for-profit or under the guidance of a CPA in public accounting without becoming a designated CPA?

CPA Canada's Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) is designed to appeal to those who aspire to a career in accounting, but not as a designated professional accountant. 

CPA Certification - The Design

The new CPA certification program charts the pathway to becoming a Canadian CPA and incorporates the best of the legacy programs (CA, CGA and CMA). It consists of three components: education, examination and experience. The program is nationally developed and provincially/regionally delivered.

Admission to the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP), a graduate-level program, requires completion of a post-secondary degree, with specific subject-area coverage. Applicants who lack some or all of the specific subject-area courses can fulfil these requirements through the CPA Prerequisite Education Program courses offered by provincial/regional CPA bodies or through post-secondary institutions. 

CPA PEP candidates complete six modules: two core modules, two elective modules and two capstone modules. The modules focus on enhancing a CPA candidates' ability to apply knowledge, values, ethics and attitudes in a professional context, and prepare them for the three-day Common Final Examination (CFE).

In addition to successfully completing their education and passing the CFE, all candidates must complete a prescribed term of relevant, progressive practical experience.

There are two routes to obtain qualifying practical experience:

  • Pre-Approved Program: Relevant experience is gained in training positions pre-approved by the profession.
  • Experience Verification: Relevant experience is gained with the candidate's employer and verified by the profession. 

Experience may be gained through either route or a combination of both. No matter the route taken, candidates must complete a minimum 30-month term (24 months in Quebec).

CPA Canada Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance

This fall, CPA Canada launches the Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF), a new program for individuals seeking to enhance their career in accounting or finance, but not as a qualified CPA.

Today, flexibility is essential. Offering multiple paths to join an exciting and evolving profession helps us attract the best and brightest minds. The passion and talents of these individuals will ensure that Canada's accounting profession continues to deliver positive results with commitment to the highest standards of professionalism.

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TashiaAbout the Author
Tashia Batstone is the vice-president of education services at CPA Canada. She is responsible for CPA Canada's student qualification standards and assessments, continuing education products and services, specialization programs and the profession's international qualification appraisal program. Tashia can be contacted at: tbatstone@cpacanada.ca.