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. The 2020 CPA Competency Map is the next major update to the 2019 CPA Competency Map.

The 2020 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 2020 CPA Competency Map include:

  • an update to the enabling competencies
  • revisions to various competencies related to data analytics and information systems (DAIS) 
  • minor improvements to technical competencies and learning outcomes

2020 Competency Map Tool

In addition to the changes to the 2020 Competency Map, an online tool is now available. It provides users with a variety of convenient features, including a streamlined layout that displays competencies alongside knowledge lists, as well as the ability to filter the Map by competency area, module and proficiency level.

Rollout and incorporation of the 2020 Competency Map

The timing of when the changes to the 2020 Competency Map will be incorporated into the different components of the CPA certification program will vary. Below are the key implementation dates:

  • CPA preparatory courses – January 2021
  • CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) – January 2021
  • CPA practical experience requirements (CPA PER) – January 2021
  • Common final examination (CFE) – September 2021
  • Accredited CPA PEP courses/programs and recognized CPA prerequisite courses – September 2022

Rollout and incorporation of the 2019 Competency Map

Due to the significance of the changes to the 2019 Competency Map, incorporation of the DAIS and taxation changes were rolled out over a period of time to allow students/candidates, employers, and post-secondary institutions time to transition to the new competency requirements. The CPA PEP and CPA preparatory courses have completed their incorporation of the changes. The outstanding components of the CPA certification will be updated as follows:

  • Common Final Examination (CFE): The first offering of the CFE scheduled to align with the 2019 Competency Map is the September 2020 CFE. However, due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the CPA certification program and the resulting cancellation of the May 2020, the new data analytics and information systems (DAIS) competencies and the new GST/HST competencies will not be tested. 

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

  • CPA Practical Experience Requirements (CPA PER): Incorporation of the new DAIS and taxation content into the CPA PER was deferred and will be updated to align with the 2020 Competency Map. 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 January 2021 to adjust their positions/programs to meet the updated CPA PER. No adjustments to positions are required if a student/candidate’s practical experience term is completed before January 2021.

  • Post-secondary institutions (PSIs) offering accredited CPA courses/programs: PSIs that offer prerequisite courses for the CPA PEP or accredited CPA PEP modules must incorporate the 2019 Competency Map in their formal curriculum by September 2021, but earlier adoption is encouraged.

The 2019 CPA Competency Map Outreach Package and Feedback Summary

The 2019 Outreach Package and Feedback Summary provide the rationale for the changes that were incorporated into the 2020 Competency Map.