What is chartered professional accountant ? - Giggle & Bytes

What is chartered professional accountant ?

A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) is a highly skilled financial expert and professional in the field of accounting. This designation represents a unified and prestigious status in the accounting profession in Canada. CPAs play a crucial role in handling the financial operations of various entities, including clients, firms, and government bodies. The CPA designation is the result of the amalgamation of three distinct Canadian accounting designations that existed previously: Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified General Accountant (CGA).

Role and Responsibilities

Chartered Professional Accountants are responsible for a wide range of financial tasks, including financial reporting, management accounting, audit and assurance, corporate finance, taxation, and strategy & governance. They are experts in handling financial matters, ensuring compliance with regulations, and providing valuable financial insights to their clients or organizations. Their duties may involve filing taxes, auditing financial statements, managing financial records, and offering advisory services.

 Education and Certification

Becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant involves rigorous education, accreditation, examinations, and practical experience requirements. Prospective CPAs typically need a university degree in a related field such as accounting, finance, or mathematics. Specialized coursework and practical training are essential components of the certification process. For instance, in Canada, individuals aspiring to become CPAs must complete an undergraduate degree with coursework in accounting before enrolling in a professional education program for Chartered Professional Accountants.

History and Evolution

The history of the CPA designation in Canada dates back to a significant merger process that began in 2012 and culminated in the full integration of the accounting profession under the CPA banner in 2014. This unification aimed to streamline the accounting designations in Canada, enhance the profession’s influence and relevance, and strengthen the disciplinary systems and licensing regimes. The adoption of the CPA designation marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of the Canadian accounting profession, bringing together various accounting bodies under a single, recognized designation.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for Chartered Professional Accountants is generally positive, with strong demand for their skills and expertise. In Canada, the median hourly salary for CAs was $38.46 in 2021, reflecting the competitive compensation offered in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States projects a 6% job growth rate for accountants and auditors between 2021 and 2031, indicating a stable and promising career outlook for accounting professionals.

Global Recognition and Reciprocity

The CPA designation is internationally recognized, with reciprocity agreements in place between various accounting bodies. Members of organizations such as Chartered Professional Accountants Canada, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and Chartered Accountants Ireland have agreements that allow their qualifications to transfer to the United States, enabling them to work as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) upon passing the required examinations. This global recognition enhances the mobility and professional opportunities for CPAs across different countries.


In conclusion, a Chartered Professional Accountant is a distinguished financial professional with expertise in accounting, financial management, and compliance. The CPA designation represents a culmination of efforts to unify the Canadian accounting profession under a single, recognized banner. CPAs play a vital role in ensuring financial integrity, providing valuable insights, and contributing to the growth and success of organizations. With a strong job outlook, competitive salaries, and global recognition, the CPA designation continues to be a mark of excellence in the accounting profession.