Accounting professional designations in Ontario
“Accounting activity in Ontario falls into two categories, only one of which is licensed. The unlicensed field encompasses the work of those in industry and services to individuals, businesses and other organizations, which do not involve the adding of credibility for the reliance of third parties. These services do not require legislative regulation.
The licensed field is called public accounting. It deals with the adding of credibility to the financial statements of ‘second parties’ – individuals, businesses and other organizations, for reliance upon by ‘third parties’ – the public. It is this function, governed by the Public Accountancy Act, which requires a single standard on which the public can rely”.
There are three professional accounting designations in Ontario:
All of them require both education and experience. There are no clear advantages or disadvantages among them. Each enables its members to do different kinds of work.
The Public Accountancy Act regulates public accounting in Ontario. Read more.
Up until now, only CAs have the authorization, through legislation, to practice public accounting. However, on August 29, 2003 the Ontario government announced its Public Accounting Reform, which proposes to lead to a new direction for public accounting licensing, standards and governance. The intention is to give all qualified accountants from all three professional designations access to the practice of public accounting.
You can learn more details about these designations from the websites of their regulatory bodies.
The CA designation is awarded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario
- What does a CA’s expertise cover? At present, only an accountant with a CA designation may perform an audit.
- The occupational fact sheet provides detailed step-by-step information on the assessment process for foreign-trained accountants, the experience and examination requirements, the costs involved and a summary of labour market conditions.
- Designated foreign accounting bodies with which the Institute has reciprocity1 are listed.
- The directory of CA firms in Ontario Note that there are firms that are formally designated to train CA students. Employment in one of these firms is a requirement for CA students.
- Other CA Institutes in Canada and related links.
Certified General Accountant (CGA)
The CGA designation is awarded by the Certified General Accountants Association of Ontario. as a result of professional studies and experience.
- The CGA program requires a bachelor’s degree in any field prior to certification.
- Learn about professional competencies of this designation (this is a PDF document).
- Read Frequently Asked Questions (this is a PDF document) on how an applicant’s practical experience is assessed by the Association.
- Learn about regional chapters’ events across Ontario . You might want to attend as a guest (a fee is applied).
- The directory of Certified General Accountants of Ontario.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
The CMA designation is awarded to qualified candidates by the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario. Explore this website to learn more.
- What is a CMA?
- The CMA accreditation process – learn about CMA competencies. (This a PDF document)
- Learn about and participate in district events as a non-member (a fee is applied)
- Roster Search
Other major websites that provide information on accounting designations include:
- Canadian Information Centre of International Credentials Information for foreign-trained accountants and auditors.
- National Occupational Classification
Occupational description for financial auditors and accountants.
- Designations – Accounting Society – University of Toronto (ASUT) This brand new website may serve as a resource for those interested in the accounting profession in general. In its section Accounting 101 you will find some answers to questions about accounting designations. You may also learn here of upcoming events hosted by the Accounting Society. Many of them are open to everyone and it is not necessary to register in advance.
- Career Insider Magazines Accounting Basics by Wallie Seto. It also contains a quick guide to accounting programs at universities, colleges and accounting student clubs in Ontario .
1) a mutual exchange of privileges; specifically : a recognition by one of two countries or institutions of the validity of licenses or privileges granted by the other
Source: Miriam Webster dictionary – www.m-w.com