Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF): Course summaries

The CPA Canada ACAF program, offered by the profession, is made up of 11 courses: six technical courses and five applied courses.

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 the entire ACAF program. Contact your provincial/regional CPA body for additional information.

Technical courses

Advanced Financial Reporting

Covers financial accounting topics such as:

  • consolidations
  • foreign currency
  • not-for-profit accounting

Corporate Finance


  • securities valuations for stocks, bonds and options
  • the time value of money
  • capital budgeting
  • investment decisions
  • weighted average cost of capital
  • optimal capital structure
  • working-capital management
  • dividend policies

Audit and Assurance

Explores at length:

  • the nature and purpose of audit and assurance engagements
  • the principles behind these engagements
  • planning
  • methodology
  • documentation
  • evidence
  • materiality
  • risk
  • internal controls
  • audit testing
  • audit reports
  • current standards


Provides an introduction to both personal and corporate tax principles, covering the how-tos of computing:

  • taxable, employment, business and property income
  • eligible deductions
  • capital cost allowance
  • capital gains
  • taxes payable

Intermediate Management Accounting

Covers a variety of intermediate management accounting topics, such as:

  • pricing decision practices
  • cost behaviours
  • relevant costing
  • cost allocations
  • inventory
  • product mix

Information Technology

Provides an introduction to:

  • the valuable role information systems (IS) play in business operations and management decision making
  • IS and IT concepts and ebusiness fundamentals
  • system planning, development, implementation and management

Applied courses

Ethics and Workplace Skills (formerly Intro to ACAF)

This foundational course introduces students to the business scenario analysis framework, which is the problem-solving approach used throughout the ACAF program. The framework underscores the importance of business and accounting ethics. Other workplace skills are integrated into the course, with special attention given to communication, as students apply the framework to various scenarios typically encountered by those working in mid-level accounting and related positions.

Accounting Software Application

This course, including the assessment, is done online directly through SAGE. It is a self-study course that prepares students for the SAGE Applications Specialist certification. On completion of the exam, administered by SAGE, students receive a SAGE 50 Applications Specialist certificate. The course fee includes access to the Application Specialist learning package and the Application Specialist assessment. The course covers all the features of SAGE 50 – Canadian edition:

  • setup, configuration and navigation
  • receivables
  • payables
  • banking
  • general ledger, budgets and departments
  • additional transactions and sales tax reporting
  • reports, forms and financial statements
  • periodic processing, management tools and year end
  • payroll
  • inventory and services
  • time slips, projects, and time and billing
  • multicurrency
  • users and security

Business Applications

This course requires students to apply the ACAF business scenario analysis framework to a single comprehensive business scenario. Each week, the business scenario will require students to demonstrate a different combination of technical skills acquired through the technical application courses along with workplace skills such as:

  • communication
  • routine problem solving
  • personal management
  • teamwork
  • ethics

Note: The ACAF National Examination is a new ACAF 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.

Electives (Choose two)

Applied External Audit

This course builds on the audit and assurance course. Students complete a simulated audit working paper file of a company. Topics include:

  • appropriate documentation
  • application of relevant sampling methods using software tools
  • execution of audit procedures in various audit cycles using Caseware
  • analysis of audit evidence for potential issues
  • understanding of the requirements with respect to reviews, compilations and special reports

Applied Personal and Corporate Taxation

This course builds on the technical taxation course, covering selected tax topics in more depth to facilitate basic tax planning for corporations and individuals in routine situations. Topics addressed include:

  • integration of personal and corporate tax
  • corporate investment income
  • corporate distributions
  • capital gains
  • estates and trusts
  • tax planning strategies for individuals and corporations
  • corporate reorganizations

Public Sector Financial Management Practice

This course provides students with a greater understanding of the technical application of public sector accounting in Canada. Topics addressed include:

  • governance and decision-making processes
  • government budgeting and planning
  • government financial reporting
  • financial analysis of government and not-for-profit programs
  • public sector auditing

Not-for-Profit Accounting and Related Topics

This course covers:

  • how not-for-profit organizations (NFPOs) are created
  • the concepts of good governance and internal controls within an NFPO
  • differences in accounting between NFPOs and for-profit entities
  • fund accounting and the use of the restricted fund method
  • the deferral method of accounting for contributions
  • the characteristics of registered charities
  • a brief overview of various types of government organizations
  • Accounting Software Application