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Framework to unify the Canadian accounting profession

On January 17, 2012, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), the Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) and the Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada) presented members with a framework to unify the Canadian accounting profession.

The Unification Framework includes details of a transition to a new common designation, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and the development of a new CPA Certification Program.

The structure of the framework is consistent with the unification process already underway here in Quebec, where the Orders of Chartered Accountants, Certified Management Accountants and Certified General Accountants have agreed to unify under the Chartered Professional Accountant designation.

Visit for more information about the Unification Framework and the supporting CPA Certification Program.

Retention but no expansion of rights

Unification would protect all existing rights of members, such as public accounting rights and rights under any existing Mutual Recognition Agreement, without granting new rights.
The new CPA organization would negotiate on behalf of all members when entering into new Mutual Recognition Agreements.
Any member not authorized to practise in a restricted area, such as audit, prior to the merger would be required to complete any necessary provincial programs to qualify post-merger.

A single designation with specialties

As in other professions like medicine and law, post-designation specialty programs would be developed to offer CPAs the opportunity to enhance their expertise and advance their careers.
A number of post-designation specialties would be considered, such as tax, forensic accounting, strategic management, and public sector accounting.


Branding the CPA designation

Early in the transition process, all branding efforts would focus on the CPA designation and there would no longer be any branding of the legacy designations.


The Risks of Continuing as a Fragmented Profession

Government mandating that we reform, and possibly dictating the terms of that reform.
Inability to respond efficiently and effectively to challenges from foreign accounting bodies or alliances operating in Canada.
If the profession does not unify it is possible that two of the existing bodies may merge, thereby potentially strengthening their position in the marketplace at the expense of the third body.
The CPA designation becoming controlled by one or more of the existing Canadian bodies — to the exclusion of the others.
Losing influence domestically and internationally if we do not speak with a single, strong voice.


Discussion Questions:

1. Do you believe the Risks of continuing as fragmented Profession are real?

2. Why will the CPA designation be more credible to foreign investors?

3. Do you agree that there should be no extension of rights during the changeover period>

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