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All the Certifications Your Canadian Accounting Employees Need to Do Business

All the Certifications Your Canadian Accounting Employees Need to Do Business

Nov 11, 2020 | Business

Before 2014, Canadian accountants could get one of three different accounting designations: Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), or Certified Management Accountant (CMA). The year 2014 saw the unification of the titles under the umbrella Certified Professional Accountants (CPA).

Accounting profession regulations come from the provincial or regional level. The provincial bodies’ rules have precedence over national requirements, and they give the members the power to:

  • Audit
  • Be registered
  • Use the CPA designation
  • Conduct other services or get a practicing license

Certifications That Canadian Employees Need to Do Business, Either in Canada or Virtually in the United States

The US International Qualifications Board (IQAB) signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with all Canadian CPA bodies in 2018. 

As it is, the Canadian CPA is the only recognized certification. You get a Canadian CPA membership through the CPA legacy of CA, CMA, or CGA, or having earned CPA after the unification. The requirements include:

  • Hold a bachelor or higher degree
  • Satisfied the regional CPA body education program
  • If you are an auditor, have the right to be one under your regional body
  • Completed the CPA’s Post Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) exam

After that, you need to meet the experience requirements of the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) from the relevant State Board. It may involve verifying your experience through the Experience Verification Service by NASBA.

Additionally, you have to pass the International Qualification Examination (IQEX), then apply to the State Board. The State Board may require you to:

  • Complete educational course work and ethics exams
  • Provide evidence of good character
  • Provide proof of compliance with the requirements of the Board’s Continuing Professional Development (CPE)

American and Canadian Certifications That Different Accounting Employees Need

To be a public accountant after you become a regional member, you must acquire a license. You must have 1,250 assurance chargeable hours, with a minimum of 625 hours of financial information auditing.

For auditing, the relevant experience includes the chargeable hours under public accountants, but it must be within five years before you applied to the regional body. You must also meet any auditing requirements of your regional CPA body.

You must also register for your regional CPA Reciprocity Education and Examination (CPARE). If you complete the CPARE within two years, you do not have to sit the CPARD exam.

Equivalent Certifications That Carry Over to Fulfill Different Requirements

Under the 2018 MRA, you may be eligible to gain a Canadian CPA designation if you have a US CPA designation. Other requirements include:

  • Must be a member of good standing
  • Pass the uniform CPA exam
  • An equivalent of 150 hours of college or university semester education from a State Board recognized institution. If you have a US CPA and met the Canadian CPA qualification before the introduction of the 150 hours rule, they assume you have completed this qualification.
  • Have complied with your State Board’s Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements
  • Thirty months of relevant practical accounting experience. If you have two years’ worth of post-qualification experience, that is equivalent to the 30-month experience requirement. Those with less than two years or 30-month experience must fill the International Practical Experience Verification and Employer Details form.

If you took part of your US CPA exams while you were residing in Canada, you must fulfill the above requirements and:

  • Have a full year of relevant accounting practical experience in the USA
  • Have a university degree from a recognized university in the USA after attending classroom lectures in person and on a full-time basis.

Additionally, you can still get a CA certification if you are a member of good standing from an equivalent international accounting organization like the England and Wales Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA).


For more information, questions or clarification, contact us at BrightR Limited.

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