Ethics and the CPA way

CPA Canada has created a variety of online learning and publications to help you maintain your ethical edge.

It's no accident that the first competency listed in the CPA Competency Map is professional and ethical behaviour. This is at the core of the CPA certification program and a key component of The CPA Way, the five-part approach to addressing professional problems.


It’s also part of the Canadian Ideal of Good Business; the understanding that acting with integrity and minding the bottom line are not mutually exclusive goals.


Ethics is about more than just thinking; it’s about doing — often repeatedly. To be able to do your job in an ethical manner, you must be able to apply ethical reasoning, be driven by ethical motivation, and maintain a persistent ethical character.


None of that is as black and white — or as simple — as it seems. Knowledge is the foundation, but practice is what gets you closer to mastery. Attaining your Canadian CPA designation is the first step in a lifelong journey that will see you encounter many ethical questions.


To that end, CPA Canada has created a variety of online learning and publications to help you maintain your ethical edge.


Ethics online course series

A comprehensive, on-demand collection, these courses offer interactive case studies, theory and real-life scenarios designed to help you navigate your day-to-day activities with transparency and clarity. Three new additions to the series are especially noteworthy. Each course offers four CPD hours. BC, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia members can also use these courses to fulfil their mandatory four-CPD-hour verifiable ethics requirement over the rolling three-calendar-year period.


Ethics for the CFO

For a CFO, ethical questions are common. One wrong decision by a CFO can lead to a damaged organizational reputation and financial losses. Learn common ethical issues faced by CFOs with supply chain, key responsibilities, codes of ethics and professional codes of conduct, how to recognize a conflict of interest, the importance of the whistleblowing function in an organization, and more.


Ethics for the auditor

Learn about ethical best practice, key responsibilities for internal and external auditors, auditor independence and credibility, working ethically with different stakeholders, and maintaining trust and protecting the reputation of your clients or organization.


Ethics for the consultant

Consultants aren’t employees, but they are expected to adhere to a high ethical code of conduct with the clients and organizations they serve. Learn what’s needed to offer sound ethical judgment as a business adviser, how to be alert to ethical problems, and potential ethical roadblocks.


Success podcast series: ethics and governance

This six-part, on-demand series is designed to complement and support real-life experiences about the common ethical challenges encountered by CPAs. Listen to CPAs and other business professionals discuss ethics and governance, and learn about challenges CPAs face being on boards of organizations, and how to detect and prevent fraud in your organization.


Applied ethics in a professional setting

Learn about the complexities of 21st-century corporate ethics and how you can foster a higher standard of ethical behaviour in your organization. Topics include ethics versus laws, six sources of ethics, a framework for ethical decision-making, corporate whistleblowing policies, and various ethical case studies.


Educating professionals: ethics and judgment in a changing learning environment

CPA Canada partnered with the University of Toronto for a one-day symposium on best teaching practices for teaching the principles of ethics and professional judgment within five different professions: education, healthcare, engineering, law and accounting. Read the thought papers and a summary of the commentary from the symposium to learn about how the educational and professional landscape is changing, and the potential impact on professional education.