Editor’s note: the new norm

Okey Chigbo, Editor of CPA Magazine, introduces the features in the January/February 2016 issue.

In 2011, the heads of two major Canadian accounting organizations entered into talks to unite the profession under a new professional designation. That process culminated in the unification of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada at the national level, and the creation of CPA Canada in January 2013. In October 2014, the Certified General Accountants of Canada joined the national organization, making CPA Canada one of the largest national accounting bodies in the world.

One of the guiding principles of the unification was the establishment of a new certification process and the development of a new certification exam. That process was completed in September 2015 with CPA students taking the first Common Final Examination for the CPA certification.

The results of the exam were released in December and to mark the occasion, CPA Magazine is running a special issue on CPA education. Our cover feature is about the stars of the CPA academic firmament. Writer Susan Smith was asked to find the teachers and professors of accounting in Canadian universities who are doing the most exciting work, who are making the most waves. In “Campus Confidential,” she profiles Natalia Kochetova-Kozloski, associate professor of accounting at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. Kochetova-Kozloski was born in Russia and went to the US on a scholarship in the ’90s before coming to Canada. Based on the papers she wrote between 2002 and 2009 about the audit process, she and her research team have been invited to Washington to contribute to the debate policy-makers are having about revising standards. The feature includes profiles of other academic stars such as Merridee Bujaki, president of the Canadian Academic Accounting Association, Timothy Daus, executive director of the Canadian Federation of Business School Deans, and a number of other academic lights.

What do employers want in new CPAs? Writer Rosalind Stefanac asked business owners and other employers this question. In “The Ideal Candidates”, she writes, “It’s not surprising, then, that employers are looking to the new chartered professional accountant for that ultimate candidate — a professional who is smart enough to interpret massive amounts of complicated data and who possesses the business acumen to put it to optimal use for the betterment of a company or clients.” The article also features those who will put young CPA skills to use in their companies, the people at CPA Canada who design professional education programs, and young CPAs who will be employed by businesses.

Two other features include one on how accounting ethics is taught in universities, and one on the ups and downs on the road to the Common Final Examination.