Accounting | The Profession

The two competency map updates you need to know about

Changes centre on data analytics and information systems in effort to help prepare CPAs for the digital age

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Woman positioning color arrows between paper blocks creating a algorithm-decision-making chartThe 2019 competency map now includes a greater emphasis on data analytics and information systems (DAIS) as well as updates to tax content (Shutterstock/Yuriy Golub)

Two major updates to the competency map will help prepare CPAs for the digital age, says Joy Thomas, CEO and president, CPA Canada.

“In this information age, data is power,” Thomas says. “In a world increasingly awash with information, making sense and best use of data is the key to making better business decisions.”

The 2019 competency map, which outlines the knowledge and skills required to enter the profession, now includes a greater emphasis on data analytics and information systems (DAIS) as well as updates to tax content. It also includes the Knowledge Supplement, which was previously a separate document that helps post-secondary institutions ensure their programs meet CPA program admission requirements. 

This recent update is the most significant change in the past five years, says Jane M. Bowen, FCPA, FCA, chair of the competency map committee and program director of accounting at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ont. With input from employers, academics and more than 4,000 CPAs who participated in various feedback initiatives, the committee—made up of nine CPAs—gathered suggested changes through a series of consultations. But choosing the highest priority items was easy.

“We got a fairly lengthy list of possible changes,” says Bowen. “But the one that came up loud and clear was technology—specifically data analytics and information systems.”


The 2019 competency map includes two significant changes:

  1. Incorporation of DAIS competencies in each of the existing six technical competency areas. This change will help meet the growing demand for accountants skilled in these critical areas.
  2. Updates to the tax content. This change reflects the growing and evolving array of tax regulations, both domestic and international.

In addition to preparing new CPAs with enhanced DAIS and tax knowledge, CPA Canada is providing a range of professional development opportunities for current members so they, too, can meet the needs of the ever-evolving digital economy.


Keeping the competency map up to date in an ongoing process because the profession doesn’t stop changing, says Bowen, adding that the committee plans to make more changes to the map at the end of this year. 

“We also want to do a lot of work on enabling skills—to include emotional intelligence, more ethics, and critical thinking, for example—in 2019,” she says. [Join the CPA Canada Foresight discussion on the core skills CPAs need to develop, as well as those required for the emerging future.]

Over the next two years, CPA Canada will announce further updates to the competency map to reflect the ongoing evolution of technical and enabling competency requirements.

“Business doesn’t stand still so continuous improvement and professional development are vital to CPA Canada, our students and our members,” notes Tashia Batstone, senior vice president, external relations and business development. “Our country’s future economic success depends on having a deep and up-to-date pool of top business and accounting professionals.”


Visit the CPA Competency Map: Qualifications for the Canadian CPA designation for more details on the technical and enabling proficiencies needed.