Updated January 31, 2012: Since this article was originally posted, CGA-BC has since re-entered talks to unify the Canadian accounting profession. A proposed national Unification Framework and Certification Process has been released and on January 24, 2012, CGA-BC’s Board of Governors, the British Columbia CA Council and CMA Board have released the BC Merger Proposal.
- A Framework for Uniting the Canadian Accounting Profession (PDF)
- The Canadian CPA Certification Program (PDF)
- BC Merger Proposal (PDF)
You can stay up to date on the merger discussions by visiting the Merger Discussions page on our CGA-BC website.
Original Post, May 26, 2011:
The accounting profession made some big news earlier this week with the announcement that the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada are exploring the possibility of creating a new designation called the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).
My contacts on campus say that this has grabbed a lot of attention among accounting students and understandably raised a lot of questions. What designation should I choose, what will the new program be like, and which is the best route to success are just some of the issues that come to mind.
Although CGA has always been a strong supporter of competition in the profession, we do see value in a single designation that reflects the strengths and diversities of all three bodies. So, we participated in exploratory discussions. However, the CICA and CMA Canada set out a number of pre-conditions before we would be invited to join in full negotiations. You can read about our position in this message from our CEO.
So, what does this mean to you as a prospective CGA student?
First off, the proposed merger is just that – a proposal. The two bodies are engaged in a lot of exploratory discussion and won’t be making any final recommendations until at least the fall. If the merger does go ahead as proposed, the CA and CMA designations will continue to exist for 10 years. Current CAs and CMAs along with students who graduate from the current CA or CMA program will identify that they are CAs or CMAs and will have to identify their legacy designation along with the new CPA designation during this time, e.g., CPA-CMA or CPA-CA. This process is called “tagging.” If the merger stays on track, there will likely be a new CPA education program within the next several years. Graduates of the new program will be known as CPAs. It is important to note that the proposed CPA is different from the U.S. CPA designation.
Right now, the proposed merger has very little impact on CGA. We are very confident that we are an alternative designation in the same way that you might choose one university over another based on your preferences. CGA is a globally recognized designation that can be earned through a variety of open access paths. Our program is equally rigorous and students can choose more readily where they can get their practical experience. CGAs are employed in diverse and dynamic positions across a wide spectrum of business, industry, government, not-for-profit and public practice sectors.
Our Mutual Recognition Agreement with the world’s largest accounting body, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), as well as those with CPA Ireland and CPA Australia, provide great global opportunities for our members, and we will continue to seek ways to enhance international opportunities for our members and students.
I hope that this answers some of your questions. You can always email me or you can visit www.visioncga.org or www.cga-bc.org. I also fully encourage and welcome you to provide your comments in the box below.
Dan Relihan, CGA