The ACAF program

Learn about the CPA Canada Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) program.

Important change to ACAF program delivery

Effective January 1, 2018, the CPA profession will no longer deliver ACAF applied courses. The profession will continue to offer ACAF prerequisite requirements and technical courses through CPA preparatory courses, while all ACAF courses will be delivered through accredited programs and courses offered by post-secondary institutions (PSIs). Beginning September 2017, select PSIs will begin offering accredited ACAF applied courses. Contact your provincial/regional CPA body for additional information.

Program outline

The ACAF program is made up of 11 courses: six technical courses and five applied courses.

Technical courses are offered by the CPA profession and post-secondary institutions (PSIs). Applied courses are offered exclusively by PSIs. 

A flow-chart graphic showing The CPA Canada Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) course map. 

Course prerequisites

For admission to the ACAF program, you must successfully complete the following five entry courses, or equivalent courses, typically covered in an accounting diploma program. Individual PSIs may have additional admission requirements. The following five courses are prerequisites for specific technical and applied courses:

  • Introductory Financial Accounting
  • Introductory Management Accounting
  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 1
  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
  • Business Law*

*At least one course in business law must be completed prior to entering or completing the program.

You can complete the entry courses either through courses at PSIs or CPA preparatory courses.   

ACAF Course Prerequisites Chart

Technical courses

These six courses offered by the profession build on the typical two-year college accounting diploma program, providing intermediate- to advanced-level technical content in financial reporting, corporate finance, audit and assurance, taxation, management accounting and information technology.

Note: All entry courses and technical courses must be successfully completed before enrolling in any applied courses. You may take entry and technical courses through the CPA profession or from a post-secondary institution.

Applied courses

These five courses, offered by PSIs, enhance your existing accounting education and experience with the additional technical knowledge, IT applications, communications and workplace skills needed to progress in your career.

  • Ethics and Workplace Skills introduces students to the business scenario analysis framework, which is the problem-solving approach used throughout the applied courses in the ACAF program. The framework underscores the importance of business and accounting ethics.
  • The elective courses provide more depth in areas of particular interest to employers and students, such as external audit, personal and corporate taxation, public sector financial management and not-for-profit management.
  • The Business Applications course requires students to apply the ACAF business scenario analysis framework to a single comprehensive business scenario, tying the program together.

Ethics and Workplace Skills and Accounting Software Applications are prerequisites for specific applied courses.

ACAF National Examination

The ACAF National Examination is a new program requirement that will come into effect January 1, 2018. The exam evaluates students’ understanding of the information taught in the Business Applications applied course and will be administered through the CPA provincial/regional bodies. See the ACAF National Examination Policies for more details.

Note: Students who have completed the ACAF technical courses and complete the Business Applications applied course before December 2017 are exempt from the ACAF National Examination requirement. See the ACAF transition guidelines for more details. 

Delivery

ACAF technical courses offered by the CPA profession are offered online; you can take them from anywhere in Canada or from a number of international locations. ACAF technical and applied courses offered by PSIs are delivered both in-person and online. Contact your provincial/regional CPA body or a PSI offering ACAF courses for information on course delivery options.

Language

The ACAF is an undergraduate level academic program, requiring proficiency in English. Success depends on your ability to understand and articulate ideas orally and in written form with clear descriptions and explanations. If you are taking the ACAF in English, it is strongly recommended that you have achieved a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark of at least Level 7 in reading, writing, comprehension and listening at the time of enrolment. For information on language proficiency requirements in Quebec, please contact CPA Quebec.