Foresight: CA + CGA + CMA = CPA

Posted on January 30, 2014 by djb | Posted in General Business Articles

Is your CA now using “CPA” after his or her name? If so, it’s because the Canadian accounting profession is moving toward a consolidation under one national organization: the Chartered Professional Accountants Canada, or CPA Canada.

CPA Canada combines the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), the Certified Management Accountants (CMA) and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada). Although accounting clients will not necessarily notice any changes, accountants will now belong to an entirely new professional organization.

Why Merge?

The idea behind the move is to create one internationally recognized Canadian accounting designation (CPA) instead of three (CA, CMA and CGA). The unification program was initiated in 2011, and the CICA and CMA Canada joined together on January 1, 2013. CGA-Canada members just voted to approve the integration agreement in October 2013, so all three national bodies are now on board.

Because accounting in Canada is governed provincially, each provincial body must also approve the merger. In Quebec, unification is already complete. In other provinces, CGA approval had been lagging, but the October vote from the national CGA organization is likely to motivate CGA provincial approvals.

CA or CPA?

If all of the provincial bodies approve the merger, all Canadian accounting professionals will use their “legacy” designation (CA, CMA or CGA) as well as the “CPA” designation for the next 10 years. The new organization will eventually establish a CPA certification program for students entering the accounting field — a program designed to be “at least as rigorous as all current certification programs,” according to CPA Canada.

The new organization will also establish a common code of conduct, practice inspection, disciplinary processes and a nationally consistent accounting regime. It is estimated that the unified organization will represent as many as 170,000 Canadian accounting professionals.

If you have any questions about the CICA-CMA-CGA merger, please contact DJB.