To become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in Canada, you first need to get an undergraduate degree. Then, you can apply to enrol in a CPA Professional Program. While you’re in college, consider consulting with an adviser to ensure you’re taking the right classes. You don’t have to take a test to get into the professional program, but you need certain classes on your transcript. A degree in accounting works perfectly. Alternatively, you can take CPA prep courses, which typically include coursework in finance, taxation, ethics, and professionalism as well as many other topics.
Once you complete the CPA Professional Program, you need to complete 30 months of practical experience. That number may differ in Quebec. Finally, you sit for a three-day exam, and if you pass, you are a CPA.
To keep your CPA credentials active, you need to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses throughout your career. Those courses cover topics such as updates to tax laws and changes to international accounting standards, but they also cover general business issues such as marketing, dealing with technology, and making ethical business decisions. All of the provinces in Canada require CPAs to meet International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) standards. Based on those standards, you must complete at least 20 hours of CPD every year, and you must complete 120 hours every three years. That refers to the total of the current year plus the last two. For instance, if you did 20 hours last year and 20 hours the year before, you need to do 80 hours this year.
Becoming a CPA is just the first step. To continue in this career path, you need to complete classes annually and let the CPA organization in your province know.