Accounting (CPA)

What do Chartered Professional Accountants do?

“Chartered Professional Accountants are trusted by Canada's business leaders to help make the financial, strategic and leadership decisions that matter.” (CPA Ontario). CPAs work in every sector of the economy, including industry, public accounting, the non-profit sector, government, education, and private practice. The CPA designation is recognized internationally. CPAs can be involved in financial reporting, finance and taxation, strategy and governance, assurance, and information technology.

How Can I Become a CPA via CPA Ontario?

The CPA certification program consists of education, relevant experience, and the Common Final Examination (CFE). It meets/exceeds all International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) standards in these areas. Entry into the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) requires:

  • a 120 credit-hour university degree
  • the completion of specific courses/modules in each required subject area
  • specific grades in prerequisite courses and a minimum overall average in all core courses

The UTSC BBA Specialist in Accounting currently fulfills all core/non-core courses to enter CPA PEP.
Additional information: www.cpaontario.ca/Students/CPACertification/PreReqEdu/1014page21302.pdf
Graduates from non-Accounting programs will have to complete additional coursework to gain admission to CPA PEP. See Prerequisite Education: www.cpaontario.ca/students
Note: Transcript assessments for CPA PEP enrolment take 4-6 weeks. Please review the following for important application deadlines for CPA PEP registration: www.gocpaontario.ca/submit_transcript

CPA PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (PEP): PEP consists of a series of two core, two elective and two capstone modules that focus on enhancing the ability to apply knowledge, values, ethics and attitudes in a professional context. The program takes two years to complete on a part-time basis.  

PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE: The CPA certification program requires completion of relevant practical experience. The knowledge and competencies gained through practical experience complement those developed through education. Experience can be gained in a range of relevant jobs (see below). There are two options for reporting your experience to CPA Ontario.

CPA Pre-Approved Programs Route (PPR): Students can gain relevant experience via employers who have been pre-approved by CPA Ontario. These training programs are designed for students to meet their practical experience requirements within 30 months.

Experience Verification Route (EVR): This flexible route allows students to demonstrate competencies in a qualifying employment context and in a qualifying role.

COMMON FINAL EXAM (CFE): PEP concludes with the CFE, which is a three-day examination requiring students to demonstrate depth and breadth of competency development in accordance with the CPA Competency Map. For more information see: www.gocpaontario.ca/programinfo/cfe

How Can I Gain Relevant Experience or ‘Sell’ Myself to a Pre-Approved Training Programs?

  • Learn how to find work at our workshops Work Search Strategies and Jobs for Grads Orientation
  • Attend employer information sessions and job fairs: log into cln.utoronto.ca and click on Events & - Workshops followed by Scarborough Calendar for upcoming events
  • Learn about Volunteering and Internships: www.utsc.utoronto.ca/aacc/tip-sheets
  • Part-time and summer jobs are a great way to gain experience – see the Jobs board in CLN
  • Speak with a Career Counsellor / Strategist in the AA&CC

Start Early!

Recruitment in accounting is fairly cyclical. Internship and long-term positions are often posted in August (for the following summer, 8 months later!) and December. We recommend that you connect with AA&CC staff and resources to ensure that you are ready to job search.

Work Study (on-campus) positions can provide opportunities for gaining skills that you can apply to accounting. They are posted in August for Fall-Winter and April for Summer in CLN.

The SCSU also hires Tax Associates every year to help students file their income taxes!

Get Involved on Campus!

Participate in volunteer and co-curricular activities that demonstrate your skills and ongoing interest in a career in accounting

  • Consider joining DECA or MESA (Management & Economics Students' Association) to enhance your skills in, and knowledge of, the world of business
  • Visit: https://ulife.utoronto.cafor information about student clubs, organizations and activities

Compete for leadership positions in volunteer and co-curricular activities especially for roles in which you will manage a small budget or otherwise be responsible for finances

Do You Need to Improve Your Grades to meet the CPA requirements? 
Visit the AA&CC and the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) to enhance your study skills.

Have you heard about the Master of Accounting and Finance at UTSC?
Learn more at: Learn more at www.utsc.utoronto.ca/mgmt/maccfin

Where Can I Find More Information on Becoming a CPA?

Chartered Professional Accountants Ontario: www.gocpaontario.ca/becomecpa
Your Path to Becoming a Student with CPA Ontario: www.gocpaontario.ca/submit_transcript
CPA Ontario Career Services: www.cpaontario.ca/PD/CareerServices/1016page18510.aspx
Chartered Professional Accountants Canada: www.cpacanada.ca

Sean Mullin, UTSC Campus Lead for CPA Ontario
smullin@cpaontario.ca or 416-962-1841
Sean is on campus every 2-3 weeks!

Please note: While this tip sheet aims to ensure accuracy, requirements do change. Consider it a starting point for your further research. Visit individual regulatory bodies and program websites for detailed, up-to-date information about admission requirements and application procedures.

Last update: August 2017