Chartered Professional Accountants: It’s all in the name

Written by Darren Buma, CPA, CA on Sep. 15, 2015

On July 31, 2015 legislation in Alberta came into effect that will govern all professional accountants under one organization and one brand:  Chartered Professional Accountants or CPA for short.

Prior to this change, you would have found Chartered Accountants (CA’s), Certified Management Accountants (CMA’s) and Certified General Accountants (CGA’s) all practicing in Alberta.  Although this merger had taken place at the national level of our profession some time ago, and evidenced through an extensive marketing campaign, accountants in Alberta were not allowed to use the new CPA designation until the new legislation was enacted.

Although the education and training to obtain one of these designations was quite different from one another, the reality is that once designated, these individuals’ careers take them all in similar and overlapping paths.  It was determined to be inefficient to have multiple professional bodies trying to coordinate with each other and manage their members in similar ways.

There is only one Law Society for lawyers, and one College of Physicians and Surgeons for doctors.  In both those cases, their members have very diverse training and experiences, yet they are governed by one organization.  This model made sense for accountants.

Going  forward, all existing accountants are allowed to continue to use their legacy designations (CA, CMA, or CGA) and not bother using the CPA brand.  If however they wish to use the CPA, they need to do it in conjunction with their legacy designations for the next 10 years:

A Chartered Accountant would be – John Doe CPA, CA
A Certified General Accountant would be – Jane Doe CPA, CGA

The only professional accountants allowed to use the CPA designation on its own will be those students who are trained under and graduate through the CPA training program.

So what does this mean for you?  Nothing has really changed.  You need to evaluate your accountants abilities based on their training and experience, which is no different than before.  You can be assured that professional standards remain high and your best interest should still always be put first.

Thanks to Darren Buma of KWB Chartered Accountants for providing this content.

If you would like more information or have any questions, feel free to contact us at 780.466.6204, or click here to send us an email.

Darren Buma, CPA, CA

Darren Buma, CPA, CA

Partner

Darren has a passion for small business and loves to work with both budding and experienced entrepreneurs. After articling with KPMG and receiving his Chartered Accountant designation, he left to explore the world of small business. What he was expecting to be a short exercise turned into nine years of excitement. During that time he helped to grow and operate a variety of private companies in both commercial real estate development and computer software development.

In 2004 Darren joined KWB so that he could have the best of both worlds, running a small entrepreneurial firm and being in a position to help entrepreneurs like you, grow your business and secure your future. He became a partner at KWB in 2007. His knowledge and advice isn't just academic, Darren lives the roller coaster of entrepreneurship that you ride every day.

Aside from his responsibilities at work, Darren is active in the community. He is a past Chair of the Edmonton Chapter of Financial Executives Canada, sits on the disciplinary tribunal roster for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta, and is active in minor hockey both as Treasurer for his local hockey association as well as coaching numerous hockey teams over the years.

Darren's Contact Information

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