Certified Professional Accountant

By: Sharanjit Johel, Jasleen Banga and Dilveer Dhaliwal

Have you ever wondered what an accountant really does and if this job is right for you? If you have, fear not because through this flyer you will learn more about a CPA. Accountants are people who examine financial information and give advice to their clients according to it and alongside this accountants are usually good with numbers.
Why become a CPA?

Job Description

Accountants focus on the following aspects:


  • tax planning and tax returns

  • helping clients with choices that affect taxation, employee pay and protecting assets

  • helping companies decide what is beneficial for them

  • assessing business values

  • giving business and management leadership

  • strategic and financial planning

  • may move up to managers, budget directors and some can even be chief financial officers or president of a company

Branches

  • Forensic Accounting: These accountants examine financial records in order to determine any thefts and frauds that may have occurred.

  • Government: Government accountants examine companies and employees and guide their financial planning as well as provide financial analysis.

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Become a Chartered Professional Accountant

Steps on Becomming a CPA

1. Meet the degree requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in any discipline is your only entry requirement to a fulfilling career as a CPA

For example: a four year university accounting degree


2. Submit a transcript

  • Provide a complete transcript assessment with all post-secondary transcripts


3. Register as a student to enroll in the program. Depending on the subject area and coverage of your post-secondary study you will be enrolled in one of the two programs.

  • CPA Prerequisite Education Program (CPA PREP)

- CPA PREP educates you on the necessary prerequisites for admission to CPA program. PREP is delivered on a part time basis through online, self-study and classroom learning. Part time PREP allows students to complete the prerequisites for the program and get time to do practical experience. Once you have completed PREP you can enroll for PEP


  • CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP)

- If you already have all the prerequisites for the PEP you can enroll

- The PEP program is a two year part time graduate level program that prepares yout to meet the need of industry, government and public. At the end of the program there is a final examination

* To become a CPA you also require 30 months of qualifying practical experience which you can complete during PEP.


4. Complete the CPA Certification Program

  • PEP program is split into Core 1+ 2 and electives 1+2. Once completing the Core and Electives there will be a final examination.
  • The Common Final Examination (CFE) is a three day examination that requires students to show their knowledge in one of financial reporting or management accounting, and one of assurance, finance, performance management or taxation.


5. Get a CPA designation

Exam

After finishing the PEP program there will be a final 3 day examination that you need to pass in order to get your CPA certificate. Once you have your certificate you can work in a CPA designation in sports, schools, companies, stores , banks and much much more.

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Suggested High School Courses- Courses you take also depend on the program that you take and the university you go to

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Sample Career Path

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Working Conditions

Accountants work in various types of areas some of which include accounting firms, governments, non-profit groups and educational institutions. Some accountants work for small businesses while others work for more prestige ones. Although, whether they work for small or big businesses they work indoors in offices and are on their computers for long periods of times alongside this they also tend to work with numbers and read a lot to. Public practice accountants spend a lot of time meeting with clients. The work can be stressful, especially when there are deadlines to meet.

Working Hours

Most accountants work at least 40 hours a week but those who run their own firm work longer hours. People who do taxes may have to work 50 or more hours a week during the busy tax season.

Earnings

Accountants can earn from about $35,000 to more than $125,000 a year. Those at the executive level, such as chief financial officers, can earn a lot more and the median income is about $60,000 a yeas. Earnings in this field vary based on the experience, location, and employer. Larger firms tend to pay more than smaller firms meaning that the earnings vary by sector. For example those working in oil and gas make more on average than accountants in financial services. Pay also depends on the level of education, someone with a master’s degree will make more than someone with a bachelor’s degree, as well as having a professional credential can also lead to higher pay. The earnings of self-employed accountants depend on the number of clients they can attract and the rates they charge for their services. Most full-time accountants get benefits along with a salary the benefits include dental coverage, paid sick days, and may also have pension plans but self-employed accountants do not get these benefits and must provide for themselves.
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Work Experience Requirements

Two routes you can take or take both:

1.CPA pre-approved programs: Future CPA will gain applicable experience in training positions which will be pre-approved

2. Experience verification: Future CPAs will perform applicable experience at a place of employment of their choice


Another requirement is to meet with a CPA mentor while taking your designated path this is to review the progress and making sure you are meeting the requirements

  • CPA pre-approved: CPAs are matched with a CPA mentor by the organization that offers the program.
  • Experience verification: CPAs seek out their own CPA mentor.
Five common things between both of them:

  1. Gain experience and develop as a professional accountant in a minimum of 30 months.
  2. Experience must be appropriately supervised.
  3. You must record detailed reports at regular intervals.
  4. You must meet and discuss your progress with a CPA mentor.
  5. Your experience is assessed by the CPA profession.

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Bibliography

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CPA Canada. (2016). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/become-a-cpa/cpa-designation-practical-experience-requirements-overview/cpa-practical-experience-overview-for-studentscandidates

CPA Canada. (2016). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/become-a-cpa/cpa-designation-practical-experience-requirements-overview

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