The CPA Competency Map: Qualifications for the Canadian CPA designation

Learn the proficiencies in specific technical and enabling competencies you must demonstrate to qualify for the CPA designation.

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The CPA Competency Map lays the foundation for the CPA certification program, including education, accreditation, examinations, and practical experience requirements, and describes the knowledge, skills and proficiency levels you must achieve to become a Canadian CPA. Effective January 1, 2019, the 2019 CPA Competency Map is the first major update to the original 2013 CPA Competency Map and Knowledge Supplement.

The 2019 CPA Competency Map still describes in detail the two types of competencies — technical and enabling — that employers in public practice, industry, and government require of accounting professionals. The main changes to the 2019 CPA Competency Map are the:

  • incorporation of data analytics and information systems (DAIS) competencies in each of the six technical competency areas
  • revision to the taxation competency area

Rollout and incorporation of the 2019 Competency Map

Due to the significance of the changes to the Competency Map, incorporation of the DAIS and taxation changes will be rolled out over a period of time to allow students/candidates, employers, and post-secondary institutions time to transition to the new competency requirements. To reflect the addition of DAIS and taxation content to the 2019 Competency Map, components of the CPA certification will be updated as follows:

  • CPA preparatory courses (prerequisite courses): Starting in January 2019, the taxation course will be revised and new DAIS content will be incorporated into the core CPA preparatory courses over different semesters during 2019 and 2020.

    Post-secondary institutions (PSIs) that offer prerequisite courses for the CPA Professional Education Program should incorporate the 2019 Competency Map in their formal curriculum by September 2021, but earlier adoption is encouraged.
  • CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP): Starting in January 2019, the curriculum and module-end examinations for Core and Elective modules will incorporate the new competencies. Candidates enrolled in Elective modules, who completed Core modules prior to January 2019, will receive access to DAIS guidance materials, which will contain readings and activities (in a self-study format) from the Core modules.

    PSIs that intend to continue offering accredited CPA PEP modules must incorporate the 2019 Competency Map in their formal curriculum by September 2021, but earlier adoption is encouraged.
  • Common Final Examination (CFE): The first offering of the CFE scheduled to align with the 2019 Competency Map is the September 2020 CFE. The September 2019 and May 2020 CFE offerings will remain aligned with the previous version of the Competency Map and Knowledge Supplement.

    Candidates are reminded that they are responsible for the standards and regulations outlined in the technical updates provided. Refer to the Technical Update for 2019 examinations.

    PSIs preparing their students to write the CFE can expect to see the 2019 Competency Map incorporated info the CFE, starting with the September 2020 CFE.
  • CPA Practical Experience Requirements (CPA PER): In September 2019, the CPA PER will be updated to incorporate the new DAIS and taxation content. Students/candidates working in Experience Verification Route (EVR) positions that have been assessed by the profession, and employers currently offering pre-approved (PPR) programs, will have until September 2020 to adjust their positions/programs to meet the 2019 CPA PER. No adjustments to positions are required if a student/candidate’s practical experience term is completed before September 2020. 

The 2019 CPA competency map outreach package

The CPA profession is seeking feedback on the 2019 Outreach Package, which contains the proposed changes for the 2020 Competency Map, scheduled for release in December 2019.

Please note that the 2019 Outreach Package is only a draft of proposed changes to the 2020 Competency Map. It is not a representation of the final version.