news

Webinar – November 12, 2013 – Record of CA Qualifying Experience (RQE)

Webinar – November 19, 2013 – Understanding your Roles and Responsibilities as a CA Training Office

Record of CA Qualifying Experience (RQE) - Archived Webinar

Employers, Students Thrive as Top CA Students Drawn to Non-External Audit Training Environments

Mid-sized CA Firms Offer specialized CA Training Programs

April 25, 2013 – Training CA Students in Corporate and Government Sectors Webinar

Training CA Students on review, compilation, and taxation engagements

From Sole Proprietor to Mid-Sized CA Firm: Addressing succession planning

Corporate and Public Service Organizations benefit from becoming CA Training Offices

There’s a new 2010 edition of the CA Practical Experience Requirements (PER) available. Be sure you catch up on all the updates and changes

May 13, 2013 – New Opportunities for CA Firms to Train CA Students Outside of Audit Engagements Webinar

2010 UFE honour roll includes CA students outside of external audit

New eLearning module provides education to Counseling Members, CA students and Training Principals. The module replaces the booklets previously published for each of these stakeholders

Welcome to the newest CA Training Offices

Snapshot of CA students working in industry

New opportunities for small and mid-sized CA firms

New Webinar - Understanding Your Responsibilities as a CA Training Office - March 26, 2013

There’s a new simplified process for those wishing to become a CA Training Office

 

 

Webinar – November 12, 2013 – Record of CA Qualifying Experience (RQE)

This hour-long webinar is designed for new CA students. Current CA students will also benefit from a refresher on this topic in preparation for their next RQE completion. The webinar will address:  a step-by- step walk-through of each RQE sections; illustrative examples of level 1 and 2 proficiencies and an opportunity for an interactive question and answer session hosted by the Approved Training Offices team. At its conclusion, the webinar will be archived for future viewing. Registration is required in advance. Please use the link below and follow the instructions.  

http://www.snwebcastcenter.com/webcast/catraining/20131112/site/


Webinar – November 19, 2013 – Understanding your Roles and Responsibilities as a CA Training Office

This hour-long, interactive webinar is designed to help you better understand the roles and responsibilities of CA Training Offices. It will clarify and address common knowledge gaps that can often result in certain roles and responsibilities not being effectively fulfilled at CA Training Offices. We encourage all CA Training Offices to participate as a way to enhance/refresh their knowledge and gain an understanding of their significant roles and responsibilities. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and learn from the experiences of other CA Training Offices. Members who complete the quiz will receive one hour of “verifiable” CPD; all others may claim one hour of “unverifiable” CPD. This webinar will be archived for future viewing. Registration is required in advance. Please use the link below and follow the instructions.  

http://www.snwebcastcenter.com/webcast/catraining/20131119/site/


Record of CA Qualifying Experience (RQE) - Archived Webinar

On May 23, 2012, a student webinar was held to help explain the Record of Qualifying Experience (RQE). The webinar explained, among other things, how to complete the RQE and provided illustrative examples of proficiency levels and reflective thought. To access the archived webinar click on the link below:

http://www.snwebcastcenter.com/custom_events/catrainingoffices-20120523/site/


Employers, Students Thrive as Top CA Students Drawn to Non-External Audit Training Environments

As more organizations in industry, as well as in government offices, qualify as accredited CA Training Offices with the ability to offer significant training opportunities in diverse fields, they have benefitted immensely by attracting top quality students. This includes talented individuals whose academic achievements have placed them on the UFE Honour Roll.

The UFE (Uniform Evaluation) is a rigorous assessment used by the profession to measure a CA student’s readiness to enter the CA profession in Canada. Each year, the UFE Honour Roll celebrates the top 50 students across Canada who have achieved the best standing out of nearly 4,000 writers.

Some of these talented Honour Roll students are employed by training offices outside of external audits. As indicated by the testimonies below, students believe they are on the right career path – and that they have been propelled in that direction, which speaks volumes for the success of the program.


Kelly Schmitt, the Treasurer and Director of Investor Relations for SMART Technologies Inc., a Calgary-based maker of interactive displays, provides an excellent illustration of how accomplished candidates are attracted outside of external audit in the CA Training Office program.

The 2011 UFE Honour Roll student is in the process of completing the final stages of her training in a finance rotation competency

“I’ve done all of my training here at SMART. I joined the company more than four years ago, even before I knew I would be working towards the CA designation. I’d already been out of school for quite some time, and had also earned my CFA designation. Shortly after I joined SMART I heard that you could now do your CA training in industry. Once I learned that, I initiated the application process here to get SMART qualified to be a CA training office, which we succeeded in doing in 2009,” she explains.

As Treasurer, Schmitt says she has been able to participate in a number of different projects to satisfy the CA Training Office program requirements, including being put in charge of researching whether strategic changes in the business warranted a change in the organization’s functional currency from the Canadian to the U.S. dollar; and participating in a lengthy project aimed to take SMART Technologies public.

“I was very fortunate. SMART being a CA training office allowed me to stay in my current career and get the designation. The reason I did the CA designation is because I truly believed it would open up more doors. While the CFA would have sufficed in my current role, if I want to move up and become a CFO, the CA designation is really valued throughout the business world,” says Schmitt.

“I worked at a Big Four accounting firm in the summer after my third year of university in the late ‘90s. Although I had always thought really highly of, and wanted the CA designation, audit just wasn’t interesting to me. I couldn’t see myself taking that career path,” explains Schmitt.

“But as soon as I heard they had opened up new training paths, I thought ‘that’s great,’ because the reality is that all CAs can’t stay at CA firms. They end up coming out working in businesses, and it’s a different type of work.”


Michael Murney, a consultant with Deloitte & Touche in Toronto, and 2011 UFE Honour Roll student, is in the midst of obtaining the practical experience required to qualify as a CA. The university graduate, who has a business administration degree and also studied computer science, expects to earn his CA designation in 2013.

Murney is completing his training without requiring a rotation through Deloitte’s external audit practice.

“I’m with the Information and Technology Risk Services group, which is part of Deloitte’s Enterprise Risk Services practice. I chose this group because it allows me to combine my knowledge in information technology with my accounting and business acumen to work on challenging projects. At the same time this gives me the opportunity to earn my CA through an assurance competency,” he explains.

“I’m doing some interesting things right now in software asset management helping clients manage licenses throughout their network based on what they’re entitled to under the terms of their purchase agreement from somebody like a Microsoft, or IBM,” notes Murney.

Murney enjoys having the opportunity to work with client firms’ most senior financial people and assist with tasks such as providing assurance services to certify that proper controls over financial reporting, compliant with regulations, are in place.

Another aspect of Murney’s training that he finds particularly fulfilling is being able to provide value added services such as recommendations to business clients that will assist them not only in terms of dealing with an accounting issue, but also to make business decisions that will help them prosper.  


Daphne Huang, who earned her CA designation in 2011 after placing on the 2010 UFE Honour Roll, also prospered through the CA Training Office program, which allowed her to pursue training in the field of taxation – a subject that had interested her from a very young age.

Huang began a 30-month training program on the tax path with the Vancouver office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) in May 2008, after receiving encouragement from her university tax professor, who told her about the new training options available.

The CA Training Office program provided both interesting memories in addition to the valuable experience necessary for Huang to pursue her goal of attaining a CA and ultimately specializing in the tax field. “One experience that stands out the most is my four month secondment to the tax group in the San Jose office. I learned a lot about U.S. tax and about what it’s like to work in the States,” she says.

Huang enjoyed the personal contact her training provided with Chief Financial Officers and Controllers of client companies, including the opportunity to learn about different corporate tax strategies. That, too, was very beneficial in preparing Huang for her current role, as a fully fledged CA, in PwC’s international tax group.

The work has led to a number of interesting assignments and international contacts, Huang stresses, citing a current project she is working on involving Hungarian tax.

“The thing I really like about international tax is that every client is in a different country. One day I’ll think I’ve figured out Hungary’s tax regime. Then the next thing I’ll be doing is consulting for a Russian client, having to learn the tax laws between Canada and Russia, and reading the treaty between the two countries. And then the next client will be in, say, Indonesia.

“So I feel like I’m always learning,” she stresses.


Eric Chow, who is just completing his final rotation on an assurance path with TELUS Corporation’s Toronto office, also earned a spot on the UFE Honour Roll in 2010, and is a newly minted CA.

Chow praises the CA Training Office program with providing him the opportunity to experience complex financial issues and management decision making within multiple business units of TELUS. “The ability to rotate to various areas of the business and learn and pick up experience in each of those areas, has given the tools I need to become successful,” he says.

Chow’s first rotation involved analyzing a number of business cases and reporting on corporate efficiency programs. His second examined the areas of revenue assurance and fraud management; and the third has dealt with corporate controllership issues.

“In my current rotation, I’m doing a variety of management reporting at a consolidated level for my senior vice-president and also the chief financial officer. There’s a lot of variance analysis involved, so I’m constantly being challenged,” says Chow.

Chow has also worked in TELUS’ revenue assurance and fraud management rotations. “Going through those rotations has given me the competencies I need for a successful long-term career with TELUS,” he stresses.   


Mid-sized CA Firms Offer specialized CA Training Programs

When the profession changed the practical experience requirements to a competency-based model, it opened up new opportunities for mid-sized accounting firms to recruit the talents of the best and brightest university and co-op students who want to pursue a career path that doesn’t require external audit training.

In January 2011, Mackay LLP, based in Kelowna, British Columbia, was approved to train CA students directly in tax; the firm will be able to train three CA students in that field, in addition to the 12 students Mackay LLP trains on an external audit path.

Tax partner Ken Laloge is enthused about the prospects for both the students and his firm. “For students whose objective is to be in tax, this accelerates their career development by about three years. For the firm, this allows us to develop CA tax specialists faster than if they go through the external audit training route,” he says.

And there may also be a significant long-term benefit, Laloge points out, since many partners in the firm, which has offices throughout western Canada, are between 50 and 65 years of age, and a number of retirements are expected over the next 10 years. The opportunity to train and accept bright young talented tax partners faster than would otherwise be the case helps with succession planning, he stresses.

Hyatt Lasaline LLP of Windsor, Ontario has also recently been accredited to provide training for two students articling in tax, to supplement the training they have provided students on the external audit path since 1997.

“This will provide us with additional opportunities to recruit talented applicants. Assurance work has been difficult as a means of bringing in and keeping good solid students. Now, as an accredited CA Training Office offering a tax rotation, we can train from day one those students who have already decided in university that tax is definitely where they want to practice,” says tax partner Brad Miehls.

Other mid-sized CA firms with direct-to-tax CA Training Programs include Soberman LLP (ON), Aylett Grant (BC), and Catalyst (AB).

Hiring CA students in areas other than audit isn’t a new concept. CA firms have been doing this for years, but it came with the logistical and administrative challenges of rotating these students into other areas of the firm in order to satisfy the chargeable hours associated with the right to practise public accounting.  

 

The decision to offer these direct CA Training Office programs outside of external audit can also be based on a broader strategic recruiting campaign, enabling firms to hire top talent in areas where graduates are interested to start their career. For example, a CA student interested in tax likely gets more interesting and in-depth tax work without having to be rotated into external audit during their practical experience period. The result? These CA firms may end up with a competitive advantage in recruiting students. The same principle applies to any practice area within the firm such as financial advisory, risk, compliance, and forensics.

Other benefits include the following:

  • CA Training Office programs outside of external audit recognize that not all practice areas are bound by the requirements to practising public accounting and/or not all students are interested to practise public accounting. For those that are, the requirements to practise public accounting can be fulfilled post-qualification. This, in theory, provides more flexibility to the firm in that rotations can be optional post-qualification instead of imposed on all CA students pre-qualification.
  • For the mid-sized CA firm, offering additional CA Training Office programs can also increase the overall approval limit on the number of CA students they could otherwise train.

One only needs to look at the track record of the national accounting firms, who were quick to seek approval to train CA students in specialized practice areas of their firm without requiring a rotation to audit, to get an indication of how successful this program can be. 

The large CA firms have generally obtained approval in several, if not all, provinces in Canada. These programs include Enterprise Risk Services (Deloitte), Financial Advisory (BDO, Deloitte), Advisory (KPMG), and Tax (Deloitte, KPMG, Grant Thornton, PricewaterhouseCoopers). 

Daphne Huang is currently articling in the Direct-to-Tax CA Program of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in British Columbia. She is on the 2010 UFE national honour roll, which celebrates the 50 students from across Canada that achieved the best standing on the profession’s Uniform Evaluation. “It’s a fantastic program that has provided me with the opportunity to go directly into a field that interests me,” she says. “Other CA students have asked me whether I thought the lack of audit experience would have a negative impact on my UFE performance, and now I can honestly say that it didn’t.” 

The success of this program in the larger firms and competition for top talent at universities has been one of the factors contributing to the mid-sized CA firms more recently seeking out approval for these additional CA Training Office programs.

For a complete list of approved CA Training Office programs and offices outside of external audit, see http://www.catrainingoffice.ca/prospective/item44760.html.

To explore rolling out a CA Training Office program outside of your assurance practice, contact your regional CA Training Office Liaison, or visit CATrainingOffice.ca.


April 25, 2013 – Training CA Students in Corporate and Government Sectors Webinar

Registration is now open at the following link:

http://www.snwebcastcenter.com/custom_events/catrainingoffices-20130425/site/   

This webinar is designed for organizations in the Corporate and Government sector who are interested in attracting and or retaining high calibre employees by becoming a CA Training Office.  This webinar will cover, the benefits of being an approved CA Training Office; current requirements and process to become an approved CA Training Office; changes to the current requirements under the CPA Certification Program, including a preview of the upcoming launch of an additional training model – Experience Verification.  There will also be an opportunity to ask questions live and have them answered by the CA Training Office team.  The session will qualify for mandatory verifiable Continuing Professional Development (CPD).


Training CA Students on review, compilation, and taxation engagements

Originally printed in CheckMark – Autumn 2009

Gary Booth, CA, is the sole proprietor of Gary Booth CA Professional Corporation which is located in Etobicoke, Ontario.  The firm has been approved to train 2 CA students outside of the external audit path where students will work on review, compilation, and taxation engagements.

ICAO:  Despite not having any external audit engagements, why did you become a CA Training Office (CATO) ?

Gary:    We have been taking University Co-op students for the past 10 years.  These co-op placements were between 4 to 8 months long.  We spent a lot of time and effort in training our students in many areas, such as preparation of financial statements, bookkeeping, personal, corporate tax returns and numerous other jobs as they come up.  Depending on the length of the co-op term, some students would work on review engagements and be able to complete a straightforward review engagement.  We had many students who would like to return to our office for a second or third co-op term, or work for us after they had graduated.   Unfortunately, this was not possible since we were not an approved training office [in the external audit path].  The situation was that our students were getting great training and enjoying the work, but the efforts they were putting in were not getting recognized, as none of their hours worked counted towards their CA designation.

ICAO:    How does this program fit with your business growth or succession planning     strategies?

Gary:    We have now signed up a student who worked for us about two years ago as a co-op student.  We are in the process of hiring another co-op student who also worked for us about two years ago.  If we had not been a CA Training Office, these students would not have been able to join us.

ICAO:    As a CATO approved to train outside of external audit, CA students will not automatically obtain a licence to practise public accounting.  How does that impact your staffing needs and/or succession plan?

Gary:    The students are well aware that we are not approved to train in the external audit path and they will not automatically obtain a licence to practice public accounting.  However, since we are now able to satisfy our staffing needs, we are able to increase our audit and review engagement work.  We are hoping that we will have sufficient assurance hours in the future to satisfy the assurance requirements for our students.

ICAO:    Has your ability to recruit CA students impacted the quality of employees you have attracted?

Gary:     Since becoming a CA Training Office, we have had a significant increase in the number of students applying, as well as those with years of experience.

ICAO:    Are you concerned about your ability to retain the students post-qualification?

Gary:    At this stage, we are not concerned about our ability to keep these students once they have qualified.  What we have found is that our staffing requirements are now much easier to resolve and the candidates who are applying are top quality. Also, our initial training of co-op students is paying off in that they appear eager to join us after graduation, and want to work for us at least until they qualify.  

ICAO:    What has been the best experience you have had with training students?

Gary:    The students enjoyed working for us because the work was varied and the student had the opportunity to become involved in the entire job from the beginning to end.  In many cases, they would do the bookkeeping, then prepare the financial statements and corporate tax return and then meet the client to go over the financials.  The students, I found, were eager to take on a lot of responsibility, and would do what was required to ensure the job was completed accurately and on time.

ICAO:    Do you have any advice for other small CA firms and/or sole proprietors who are thinking about becoming a CA Training Office?

Gary:    Before we were an approved CATO, frequently students would keep in touch after their co-op term and it was very interesting to hear what many had to say about the places they were now working.  Many students had gone to work for much bigger firms and felt they were not getting the practical work experience that we offered, and of course, many were putting in extremely long overtime hours.

The students, our office trained, received a full understanding of how an accounting firm operates and the expectations of the clients.  They learned that customer service was   extremely important and made sure that we met the client’s expectations.  We always thought that students who work for smaller firms can receive excellent accounting experience in many relevant areas.   The experience would not be the same as a big firm, especially in the audit areas,  but in many other ways the student would be receiving  practical experience which they could use in a variety of company positions if they wished to go into industry, or the government, or have the knowledge to perhaps consider opening there own accounting firm.

I would recommend any firm that is willing to spend time and effort to train students, to consider this possibility. 

ICAO:    Are there any other comments that you would like to share about your experience with this program?

Gary:    I have advocated and sent letters for the past 10 years on how I consider the training process needed to be changed.    It has happened and I am very pleased.  It is a win- win for the students and employers alike.

A complete list of CA Firms that have been approved to train CA students outside of the external audit career path or Review Practicing Certifications in BC is available on http://www.catrainingoffice.ca/prospective/item44760.html.  For more information, please contact your regional CA Training Office Liaison or visit us online at CATrainingOffice.ca.


From Sole Proprietor to Mid-Sized CA Firm: Addressing succession planning

The CA Profession has been educating CA firms throughout Canada on the benefits and opportunities regarding training CA students outside of the external audit path – that is, applying for the right to train CA students isn’t necessarily bound by chargeable hours but rather can be assessed solely based on the underlying competencies developed. 

One of the more common misconceptions is that the new opportunities only relate to creating specialized paths within CA firms that are already training CA students, such as direct-entry tax and advisory paths.  While this is a viable application of the recent changes made to the professions practical experience requirements, the breadth of the program is far more reaching in scope.  It is important to illustrate the various applications of the program, specifically as it relates to the small to mid-sized CA firm.

Unique opportunity for sole proprietors and small partnerships

With the right to practise public accounting and CA qualification no longer required to be concurrent, it greatly expands the number of CA firms that can now train CA students.  When combined with an increasing interest from students to work in smaller CA firms, especially those that are offering partnership opportunities, sole proprietors and small partnerships now have a unique opportunity to groom their own talent in-house. 

Here’s how the program to train CA students can be structured in small-to-medium CA firms:

  • Provide exposure to a combination of review, compilation and tax engagements.  Before the recent changes to the competency-based model, CA firms in B.C. already had the option to train CA students without exposure to external audits through Review Practicing Certifications (RPCs).  However, this latter model still requires a substantial number of review chargeable hours.  The competency-based model is not predicated on chargeable hours, but rather competency development so this does open up the opportunity for many more CA firms to train CA students.
  • If your firm is highly specialized in nature and you’re concerned that you can’t offer the required practical experience, consider partnering with a local CA firm, especially where a pre-existing alliance already exists.  Not only are the payroll costs shared, but the students benefit from a well-rounded training experience.  This type of structure has already been successfully implemented.
  • Succession planning means you might require a CA that has fulfilled all of the requirements to practise public accounting, which includes obtaining chargeable hours in specific assignments.  Since the requirements for the latter remain unchanged, the audit hours can be obtained by seconding the student to a CA firm that is already approved to train students in the external audit path.  CA firms taking oversight of the seconded students get the benefit of extra resources during peak audit season without the obligation of a full-time headcount, while the small CA firm offers a viable path for its students to not only obtain their CA designation but also the right to practise to public accounting.  We are observing an increasing interest in this type of arrangement. 

In addition to the above, the current economic climate has resulted in many high quality CA students seeking alternative employment.  In some cases, these students have already completed the required audit hours but still require additional practical experience time in an approved CA Training Office.  Many have completed at least part (if not all) of their examination requirements, reducing the expense associated with study leaves for the firm.  This provides smaller CA firms seeking to train CA students with a viable succession planning strategy while minimizing their upfront costs.

Greater flexibility for firms

Whether it’s as a result of the economy or CA firms consciously reallocating resources to higher return engagements, audits for the small to mid-sized CA firms are, for some practitioners, being replaced by review engagements.  Given that the firm’s current approval to train CA students in the external audit path is partly based on the number of chargeable audit hours (excluding RPCs in B.C.), the number of CA students the firm can train could be declining despite a growing business for review engagements.  As a result, we are experiencing a heightened interest from these firms to seek approval to train CA students outside of the external audit path.  With the latter being assessed solely on competency development and not chargeable hours, it offers firms greater flexibility in adapting their recruiting strategies to align with their changing business model. 

Applying to train CA students is simple

If you are seeking approval to train CA students in the routes mentioned above for the first time, or expanding your approval to include a training program outside of the external audit path, the process for all CA firms has been greatly simplified.  For more information, please contact your regional CA Training Office Liaison or visit us online at CATrainingOffice.ca.


Corporate and Public Service Organizations benefit from becoming CA Training Offices

 

The ability for corporate and public service organizations to train and develop CAs in-house is a model already employed by organizations of various sizes and sectors, ranging from national and multi-national publicly-traded companies (including Industrial Alliance, Investors Group, Bell Canada, TELUS, Fortis and Sobeys), specialized consulting firms (Matson, Driscoll and Damico, Navigant Consulting and PRA Group), public organizations (Offices of the Comptroller General of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick) and privately owned or small publicly-traded companies (including The Score Television Network, SMART Technologies and The Brick).

Most of these organizations have positioned the initial phase of their CA training program as an opportunity to hire the “best and brightest” university students through undergraduate or co-operative degree programs or a combination of both. However, the breadth of the program is more far-reaching, and can include opportunities for:

  • Existing employees within your organization to obtain their CA designation internally. These employees may have started their qualification in a CA firm or have a desire to start the process within your organization.
  • Internationally-trained professionals to acquire work experience in a CA Training Office in order to qualify as Canadian CAs. This could be of particular interest for corporations that have operations overseas.

So, why would corporate and public service organizations want to train CA students?


Attract or retain top talent

The general feedback we’ve received from CA Training Offices in the corporate and public sector is that the quality of candidates within their CA training program has exceeded their expectations. In some cases, their ability to attract CA students has enabled them to draw upon talent that wasn’t previously available through other training programs. This result is partially attributable to the strict academic requirements imposed by the profession in order to register as a CA student. In addition, the expansion of training environments to include the corporate and public sector has attracted a wider group of high-performing students to the profession, including those individuals who previously would see the value in the CA designation, and want a career in business, industry or government, but weren’t interested in spending their first three years of work experience in an external audit environment of a CA firm.


Decreasing supply, increasing demand

Historically, CA firms have trained the vast majority of CAs in Canada and will likely continue to do so in the foreseeable future. As a result, corporate and public service organizations have traditionally looked to CA firms to draw upon talent, either directly or indirectly. However, in the future, CA firms may begin to produce fewer CAs while demand increases, a trend that will likely accelerate as an expected 20 per cent of the workforce in Canada retires within the next 10 years. The resulting scarcity of qualified CAs could be addressed strategically by grooming new ones in-house.


Cost-benefit considerations

To assess the cost-benefit considerations, one needs to compare the market premium and recruiting costs associated with attracting CAs externally with the indirect and direct costs of training them in-house. While it is not a CA Training Office requirement, most corporate and public organizations will subsidize the cost of training a CA student. In fact, some of these organizations had pre-existing training and development allowances for all employees, which over the three-year practical experience period, adequately covers the direct costs of training a CA student. This implies that the costs of training CA students could simply be an internal reallocation of an expense that would have otherwise been incurred by the organization, while eliminating the overall recruiting cost referred to above.

In addition, the training provides increased upward mobility opportunities for employees who obtain their CA designation within your organization – students get a head start and learn intricate details about how multiple areas of your business are run. Being a CA Training Office is also an inherent retention tool that enhances an employee’s ability to move more quickly into senior roles, and may, over the long run also help address succession planning. This could be particularly valuable for those organizations that have been forced to lay off middle management staff as a result of recent economic challenges.

What’s much easier to quantify is the value associated with the knowledge that the CA student will have acquired about your organization and industry, upon qualification.


Organizations of any size can train CAs

The model for training CA students is based largely on providing relevant work experience and supervision, regardless of the organization’s size. Based on the structure of the employer and objectives for the training program, CA student work experience can come in various forms, including the following:

  • A choice of rotations during their practical experience period;
  • A pre-determined set of rotations; or
  • Practical experience in a single department that exposes them to multiple functions, projects and/or assignments.

What is critical is that all CA Training Offices must be able to provide a variety of opportunities at an increasingly complex level throughout the training period in order for students to develop all of the required competencies to become successful CAs. The training program is rigorous, yet flexible enough to be customized to different types and sizes of organizations. Many corporate and public service organizations are aptly suited to provide a variety of training experiences.

A complete list of CA Training Offices offering expanded experience opportunities can be found in English and in French.  For more information on become a CA Training Office contact your regional CA Training Office Liaison.


There’s a new 2010 edition of the CA Practical Experience Requirements (PER) available. Be sure you catch up on all the updates and changes

A 2010 edition of the CA Practical Experience Requirements (PER) has been published. Effective September 1, 2010, the changes are:

  1. Modifications to Depth and Breadth requirements which will allow greater flexibility for both employers and students while maintaining the standards and rigour currently required from all CA Training Offices. These changes need not affect CA Training Programs approved, or CA students registered therein, before September 1, 2010.
  2. Clarified descriptions of the Specific Competencies to reflect more accurately the competencies expected of an entry-level CA. These changes require updates to the Record of CA Qualifying Experience (RQE). We suggest that all CA students completing the RQE before September 1, 2010 transition to the new version, though there is no requirement to do so. 

Additional details on these changes are summarized in a fact sheet and are highlighted in the Appendix 3 of the PER. Additional FAQs have been provided to address transitional provisions and interpretations around the new specific competencies.

Approved CA Training Offices wanting to modify their existing training program need to speak with their CA Training Office Liaison.


May 13, 2013 – New Opportunities for CA Firms to Train CA Students Outside of Audit Engagements Webinar

Registration is now open at the following link:

http://www.snwebcastcenter.com/custom_events/catrainingoffices-20130513/site/

An interactive webinar designed for CA firms who are interested in training CA students outside of audit engagements. We will discuss how you can create training positions that combine review, compilation and tax engagements. Mid-sized firms can train in specialized areas without requiring a rotation to audit. Small specialized firms can partner to ensure CA students get well rounded experience. We will cover the current requirements and process to become an approved CA Training Office and discuss any changes to the current requirements under the CPA Certification Program, including a preview of the upcoming launch of an additional training model – Experience Verification. You are welcome to submit questions that you may have ahead of the webinar date and we will answer them on the webinar. The session will qualify for mandatory verifiable Continuing Professional Development (CPD).


2010 UFE honour roll includes CA students outside of external audit

The Uniform Evaluation (UFE) is the flagship assessment used by the profession to measure a CA student's readiness to enter the CA profession in Canada. In 2010, only 8% of the CA students who attempted the UFE were from career paths outside of external audit. This percentage will grow as more and more students enter these career paths, either through specialty paths within CA Firms or through industry and government organizations.

The UFE honour roll celebrates the 50 students from across Canada that achieved the best standing on the profession’s Uniform Evaluation. Some of these honour roll students were employed in career paths outside of external audit, including Eric Chow and Daphne Huang.

Eric Chow is currently articling with TELUS through its CA Training Program in Ontario (TELUS trains CA students in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia).   “I’m extremely proud to have been the first Honour Roll student to come out of a non-assurance training office – TELUS. I’d like to continue to experience different departments within TELUS, learn more about the business and eventually settle into a management role in the finance area.”

Daphne Huang is currently articling with PwC LLP in the firm’s Tax CA Program. Daphne is one of 53 students in Western Canada working outside of the external audit path in BC. “It’s a fantastic program that has provided me with the opportunity to go directly into a field that interests me,” she says. “Other CA students have asked me whether I thought the lack of audit experience would have a negative impact on my UFE performance, and now I can honestly say that it didn’t.”


New eLearning module provides education to Counseling Members, CA students and Training Principals. The module replaces the booklets previously published for each of these stakeholders

Did you know that there is a new, efficient and entertaining way to understand the CA Training Office Program? It’s targeted information for CA students, Counselling Members and Training Principals, providing an overview of the competency area requirements, guidance on completing the RQE, illustrative examples on the proficiency levels and an explanation of the various roles involved … it’s all here.

The eLearning module will walk you through the program at your pace, so just sit back and relax and listen to our experts walk you through the program. 


Welcome to the newest CA Training Offices

Between September 2010 and December 2010 we are pleased to report that 22 organizations and offices were approved to begin training CA students in areas other than the external audit-based career path, including:

  1. Veritas Equity Research
  2. SCM Insurance Services
  3. Coast Capital Savings
  4. Ensign Energy
  5. Region of Waterloo
  6. Tax-based career path for Grant Thornton offices across Canada

As at December 31, 2010 there were 260 CA firms, industry organizations and public sector entities training CA students outside the external audit career path. The total number of CA students employed in these new career paths now exceeds 320.

We applaud these organizations both for their forward thinking and for recognizing that in order to lead tomorrow, they must develop their talent today.


Snapshot of CA students working in industry

We all know that the skills and competencies of CA students have been exceptionally developed within CA Firms for over a hundred years. So what about CA students who don’t work in a CA firm? Will they develop into the leaders of tomorrow? Take a look at what just a few of the CA students currently working in industry had to say:

Union Gas’ CA Training Office is a resounding success. From the perspective of a CA student, I can confidently say that my skills with respect to IFRS are skyrocketing, I have a better understanding of why our external auditors make the requests they do, and my decision-making skills and professional judgement have improved by leaps and bounds. From a soft-benefit perspective, Union Gas has recruited first rate students and as part of the CA student team, I can vouch that our network within the CA community is growing rapidly. I can’t imagine a better way to launch a career as a professional accountant in industry!

Kit Moore – CA Student, Union Gas Limited

“When CWB became a CATO, it was a no-brainer. It’s the perfect situation,” says Riley. “What I found attractive about the CA designation is that it promotes a strong knowledge base across all areas. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CA in industry or working for a public accounting firm, you’re given the tools to handle each situation successfully.”

Riley Clark, CA Student, Canadian Western Bank

The RBC CA Training Program has provided me with a vast number of experiences and opportunities. In my first-year rotation in the Capital Markets-Finance audit group, I was given the chance to travel to New York and London on a number of occasions to audit and ultimately provide useful recommendations to our internal clients. This allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of RBC's global operations in some of the world's largest financial markets. Now, as I work in my second rotation in the Statutory & Regulatory Reporting group in Head Office Finance [in Toronto], I can see how financial results of the business units around the world are consolidated into our Annual and Quarterly reports. The opportunity to gain such a well-rounded understanding of RBC and its global position, while being able to contribute in a variety of ways is why I ultimately chose to pursue my CA through the CA Training Office option. I am confident that by the end of the program, I will have built a wide-ranging foundation of skills, knowledge and experience that I can use in any future position I choose to pursue.

Michael Tang, CA student, Royal Bank of Canada

Experienced CAs can make numbers speak. They can assess the strengths and weaknesses of companies, and can suggest solutions to improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of businesses. I want to have these skills, so I chose to enroll in the CA program at Great-West Life.

It is a great environment for CA students to gain knowledge and experience. In addition, the insurance industry is an essential component in the financial market, and Great-West Life offers students the opportunity to work in rotations. It’s a great chance for CA students to gain access to this invaluable learning resource. 

Peter Wang, CA student, Internal Audit, Great-West Life


New opportunities for small and mid-sized CA firms

Think audit hours restrict your ability to train CA students? Think again!

Now more CA firms can benefit from training CA students:

  • Firms of all sizes can create positions that combine review, compilation and tax engagements.
  • Small specialized firms can partner to ensure that CA students get well-rounded experience.
  • Mid-sized firms can train in specialized areas like tax without requiring a rotation to audit
  • Those who want to practise public accounting can get audit hours through secondments and partnerships.  

Small and mid-sized CA firms offer aspiring students an excellent environment in which to build the CA competencies.  You work closely with a wide range of clients.  The work you do for them can be complex and varied.  The contributions you make to your clients are business critical -- and highly valued. 

That’s why small and mid-sized practices can produce well-rounded CAs with the solid foundation they need to build exciting, satisfying careers.

New opportunities to train

New rules for recognizing qualifying experience make it possible for small and mid-sized practices to train CAs even if your practice’s business model doesn’t include audits.   

  • Review, compilation and tax engagements:  for many smaller firms, audits have given way to these kinds of engagements.  The skill set – and the challenges – are the same, offering students the opportunity to develop the competencies they need to be successful CAs. 
  • Specialized practices: Specialized firms, such as those in valuations, forensics, bankruptcy and insolvency, can also offer CA students great experience. There’s also the opportunity to partner with a CA firm to ensure CA students get well-rounded experience.
  • Mid-sized firms can train in specialized areas like tax without an audit rotation.

What about auditors?

CAs who qualify through these new routes may not be licensable to practice public accounting when they qualify as a CA.  The road is always there.  CAs can earn the right to practise public accounting after they qualify, by getting the required audit hours through secondments or partnerships with CA firms approved for public-practice training.  

Your CA students

Not only are there new opportunities for you to consider hiring CA students – but you will find that there are bright ambitious graduates who would love to join your team.

Research tells us that many qualified university graduates are interested in pursuing the CA designation but they would prefer not to work on audit engagements.  Many are interested in training with smaller firms and in smaller communities.   Some have even tried the “big firm” route – and have learned that it is not the career path they want to follow. 

Whether you are growing your practice, or are thinking down the road to succession planning, the talents and skills of these aspiring CAs can make a major contribution to your CA firm.

Prospective CA Training Office – Changes to the CA Practical Experience Requirements add flexibility for corporate and public-sector employers. 

 Effective September 1, 2010, the profession approved some modifications to the practical experience requirements, which will allow greater flexibility for both employers and students while maintaining the standards and rigour currently required from all CA Training Offices. For more information, please contact your regional CA Training Office Liaison.


New Webinar - Understanding Your Responsibilities as a CA Training Office - March 26, 2013

A new webinar will take place on Tuesday March 26, 2013 at 12:30pm (EST) and is designed for current CA Training Offices to help them understand their responsibilities when training CA students.  It will clarify and address common knowledge gaps that can often result in certain roles and responsibilities not being effectively fulfilled at CA Training Offices. We encourage all CA Training Offices to participate as a way to enhance/refresh their knowledge and gain an understanding of their significant roles and responsibilities. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and learn from the enquiries and experiences of other CA Training Offices. The session will qualify for mandatory verifiable Continuing Professional Development (CPD). To register for this webinar please follow the following link:
http://www.snwebcastcenter.com/custom_events/catrainingoffices-20130326/site/

There’s a new simplified process for those wishing to become a CA Training Office

In 2009, the application process was streamlined and simplified.  Based on experience gained and feedback received from various stakeholders, the profession spearheaded a national working group to streamline the application process for corporate and public sector employers seeking to become CA Training Offices, and for CA firms looking to offer training opportunities outside of external audit.  We are pleased to report that the changes have now been approved and include shifting the onus for the collection of the required documentation from the applicant to the Institute, thereby enabling employers seeking approval to train CA students in multi-jurisdictions to deal with only one point of contact, while standardizing the application process across Canada. 

The biggest component of the application is to document the tasks that the CA students will perform over the three-year period of practical experience and then “map” these tasks to the competencies that CA students are required to develop. But don’t let this intimidate you. The CA Training Office Liaison will complete the first “mapping” of these tasks for you and will guide you to complete a program that is beneficial to your CA students and to your organization.

We remain committed to working with our various stakeholders to ensure that our CA Training Offices continue to deliver the best training to all of the CA students that they employ and equip them to become successful CAs.  

You can read more about the application process and remember, if you ever have any questions about the process or anything to do with the CA Training Program, help is only a phone call away. Your local CA Training Office Liaison representative can be contacted at anytime.


 

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.