frequently asked questions

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4. Ensuring sufficient quality and quantity of practical experience opportunities to develop the competencies expected of a newly qualified CA

Requirements for the minimum term of practical experience (duration) are set out in Section 3.2 of CA Practical Experience Requirements (PER).

Requirements for Depth and Breadth of direct experience in CA competencies are set out in Section 3.3.

The CA competencies are set out in Appendix 1.

Purpose

The purpose of the duration, depth and breadth requirements is to ensure that the CA student has sufficient opportunity to build on his/her foundation of academic knowledge by developing his/her competencies in the workplace.

Requirements

The CA profession’s approach to CA qualification is competency-based, focusing not just on what the CA Student knows, but also on what he/she can do with that knowledge. Thus the expectations of CA students are expressed as “CA competencies” — the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected of a CA Student. All CA students are exposed to CA competencies through their academic training and are subject to examination on the full range of competencies in the Uniform Evaluation (UFE).

A unique feature of the CA qualification process is the requirement that all CA students develop a significant number of these CA competencies in the workplace, and CA Training Offices are approved on the basis of their ability to provide CA students with sufficient opportunities to do so.

There are two kinds of CA competencies:

  • Pervasive Qualities and Skills, comprising Ethical Behaviour and Professionalism, Personal Attributes and Professional Skills; and
  • Specific, or Technical competencies, of which there are six broad areas: Performance Measurement and Reporting; Assurance; Taxation; Governance, Strategy and Risk Management; Management Decision-Making; and Finance.

During their terms of practical experience, CA students are expected to acquire significant experience in both.

Minimum term of practical experience:

  • The minimum term or practical experience is three years, including graduate-level professional education.

Depth and Breadth requirements:

  • CA students are expected to develop and demonstrate all of the pervasive qualities and skills of the newly qualified CA;
  • To meet the profession’s depth requirements for practical experience, the CA student is expected to gain sufficient direct working experience in ALL of the specific competencies of ANY ONE of the six specific areas of competence. For the majority of the competencies, the CA student is expected to demonstrate Level 2 proficiency (Section 3.4). In addition, all CA students are expected to demonstrate an awareness of emerging topics in their area of depth, either independently or as part of a team, with little direction or supervision (Section 3.4);
  • The area of Depth and Breadth developed through each CA Training Office is based entirely on the specific CA Training Program that has been approved by the Provincial Institute/Ordre. That means the specific competencies developed depends on the CA Training Office at which the CA student is working
  • If the CA student is working in the external audit path in a CA firm, there are additional requirements, as highlighted in FAQ section 6.

Minimum Requirements on Final RQE for Your Chosen Depth Area:

Specific Competency AreasMin # of Competencies at Level 1Min # of Competencies at Level 2Total Competencies in That Area
Assurance347
Performance Measurement and Reporting347
Taxation246
Governance, Strategy and Risk Management246
Management Decision-Making347
Finance347

 

  • To meet the profession’s breadth requirements for practical experience, the CA student is expected to gain sufficient direct working experience in at least half of the competencies in TWO additional areas of Specific Competency and demonstrate the ability to work at Level 2 proficiency in at least half of those (Section 3.4). If the CA student’s area of Depth is not Performance Measurement and Reporting or Assurance, then one of the two areas of Breadth must be Performance Measurement and Reporting and must provide the opportunity to gain sufficient direct working experience in the three competencies highlighted in Appendix 1 of the PER and demonstrate the ability to work at Level 2 proficiency in all three. These three competencies, demonstrated at Level 2 proficiency, are sufficient to satisfy an area of Breadth requirement in Performance Measurement and Reporting when the CA student’s area of Depth is not Performance Measurement and Reporting or Assurance.

 

Minimum Requirements on Final RQE for your chosen Breadth areas:

Specific CompetenciesMinimum Number of Competencies at Level 1Minimum Number of Competencies at Level 2Total Competencies in That Area
Assurance

2

2

7

Performance Measurement and Reporting

2

2

7

Taxation

1

2

6

Governance, Strategy and Risk Management

1

2

6

Management Decision-Making

2

2

7

Finance

2

2

7

 

“Sufficient direct working experience” is the amount of quality experience required for the CA student to develop the expected level of proficiency in each competency (See Section 5: Proficiency expected of CA students, for a discussion of expected proficiency levels).

Q: What does the CA Training Office need to understand about CA competencies, and where can they get this information?

CA Training Offices, through their Training Principals and Counselling Members, are required to gain a general understanding of the CA competencies as set out in Appendix 1 in the document CA Practical Experience Requirements. More detailed information on the CA competencies is available in The UFE Candidates Competency Map; however, Training Principals and Counselling Members are not required to become experts of this detailed document. Further information is also provided through the Training Principal and Counselling Member sections of the eLearning module on this website.


Q: What do CA students need to understand about CA competencies and where can they get that information?

CA students are required to gain a thorough understanding of all CA competencies through their academic studies as well as through their practical experience. This knowledge will also be very important for CA students as they approach the Uniform Evaluation (UFE), as these competencies mirror the competencies that are assessed in the UFE.

Students typically gain an understanding of the CA competencies through training programs, many of which are delivered by the applicable Provincial Institute/Ordre/Region and by preparing for the UFE. Students should thoroughly read and understand the CA competencies as set out in Appendix 1 in the document CA Practical Experience Requirements.


Q: Is the CA Training Office expected to provide CA students with experience in all the CA competencies listed in Appendix 1 to CA Practical Experience Requirements?

No. CA Training Offices are approved based on their ability and commitment to provide CA students with a significant range of experience in the CA student’s areas of Depth and Breadth. Specifically, the CA Training Office is expected to provide the CA student with exposure to:

  • All the competencies in his/her area of Depth; and
  • At least half of the competencies in at least two other areas of Specific (or Technical) Competencies to achieve the required Breadth. For positions offering Depth in Taxation, Governance, Strategy and Risk Management, Management Decision-Making or Finance, one of the Breadth requirements must be provided in Performance Measurement and Reporting, with breadth defined as a Level 2 proficiency in three specific competencies (see the PER or the RQE for details on these three specific competencies). Achieving these three competencies at Level 2 proficiency satisfies the requirement for one Breadth area.

For more information on experience in CA competencies, refer to Section 3.3 of CA Practical Experience Requirements, and to the Training Principal and Counselling Member sections of the eLearning module on this website.


Q: We have an internal performance evaluation system that currently documents and evaluates performance development of our staff. Is it acceptable for us to use that system to measure CA competencies?

Yes. It is the CA Training Office’s responsibility to provide evidence of:

  • A semi-annual discussion between the CA student and the Counselling Member; and
  • Results of that discussion, e.g., that the CA student was progressing as expected in the firm’s program and, if not, counselling/direction provided.

An internal performance evaluation system documenting these items is acceptable.

While it is highly recommended that CA students use the RQE provided by the profession, some CA Training Offices have developed software that will track the same information. The RQE is the CA student’s responsibility and as such they are required to ensure that all sections of the RQE are adequately covered if they are using a CA Training Office's software instead of the profession’s RQE. They must also retain a copy of their RQE for at least one year following certification.


 



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Chartered Professional Accountants/ Comptables professionnels agréés


Welcome to CPA Canada!

CPA Canada is the national organization established to support unification of the Canadian accounting profession under the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. CPA Canada provides services to all CPA, CA, CMA and CGA accounting bodies that have unified or are committed to unification.

Our integrated CPA Canada website is currently in development and will launch in fall 2014. Until that time, all our existing resources, services and information are available through the CICA, CMA Canada and CGA-Canada legacy websites, or through newly developed microsites designed to provide specific CPA content.

Bienvenue à CPA Canada!

CPA Canada est l’organisation nationale établie pour soutenir l'unification de la profession comptable canadienne sous la bannière du titre de comptable professionnel agréé (CPA). CPA Canada fournit des services à toutes les organisations comptables de CPA, de CA, de CMA et de CGA qui se sont déjà unifiées ou qui sont engagées dans le processus d’unification.

Le nouveau site de CPA Canada est actuellement en développement et sera mis en ligne à l’automne 2014. Entre-temps, toutes nos ressources et tous nos services sont accessibles sur les sites d’origine de l’ICCA, de CMA Canada et de CGA-Canada, ou sur des microsites nouvellement créés afin de donner accès à du contenu spécifiquement CPA.