CPA expands abroad

CPA Canada has been focusing on the CPA professional studies offered in the Caribbean and in China.

It’s widely known that CPA Canada has been rolling out the new CPA Certification Program across Canada over the past year. At the same time, it has been focusing on the CPA professional studies offered in the Caribbean, as well as in China. The delivery model for the programs will be the same as that used in Canada. “This is, in my opinion, the strength of the new program,” says Nancy Foran, vice-president, Americas, CPA Canada. “We have an excellent learning platform that blends a distance approach with in-class sessions for the optimum learning experience.”

Happening now

Foran says a priority in the Caribbean will be to make sure the new designation’s programs are fully operational while the legacy CMA and CGA programs wind down. “With the strength of the CGA and CMA programs in the region, ensuring a smooth transition is a priority for us. The goal will be to have the CPA Prerequisite Education Program (CPA PREP) and CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) offered throughout the region, with in-class sessions held in Barbados and other major centres,” she says. The CPA PREP is already a distance-based program, so it is widely available to students.

The CPA PEP was launched in the Caribbean in September 2014 with face-to-face classes in Barbados. As more students register for the program, additional centres will be added in the locations where the majority reside. “We will be adaptable to the needs of the local market,” Foran says. “If we have more students in St. Lucia than in Jamaica, we will hold the class in St. Lucia over having it in Jamaica. This is communicated to the students, so that they know to plan their travel accordingly.”

With this initiative, CPA Canada joins the other four global accounting bodies that have some form of program or examination in the Caribbean: the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, the American Institute of CPAs, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

CPA PREP is also being offered in China, in collaboration with a dozen partner universities, says Lyle Handfield, vice-president, International, CPA Canada. “Our professional designation has high credibility and value [in China],” he says, adding that businesses in Asia appreciate the quality of training students receive through the Canadian CPA program. Students in Asia are also seeking greater mobility and prospects, and one of the key reasons they pursue Canadian training is to have the opportunity to work here.

Coming soon

There are plenty of opportunities for students and members on the horizon, in both the Caribbean and Asia. Foran points out, for example, that strong branding and marketing campaigns will be launched and locally based staff will be engaged for marketing, program delivery and member services.

Caribbean chapters will be launched to support members in the appropriate regions. Among other benefits, chapters will provide a sense of belonging to members and promote CPA Canada’s image and brand, says Foran.

When it comes to expanding the Canadian CPA into the broader Americas region, Foran explains that preliminary work will be required at the academic level. Critical relationships will also need to be formed with local governments and the business community, she says.

While the emphasis in the Caribbean is on supporting local businesses, the overall goal of CPA international programs, such as the one in China, is to support the federal government’s priorities, including its efforts to help foreign-trained accountants to become market ready before they come to Canada. For that reason, Handfield’s overall goals echo Foran’s. “I’d also like to see us offering courses elsewhere overseas where we can integrate quickly — that’s a top priority.”

In 2015, CPA Canada will launch the CPA Canada Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (CPA Canada ACAF), an online program for those seeking a midlevel career in accounting and business. For more information, go to