Accounting | The Profession

The new tool that will help you with the competency map

The 2020 updates continue last year’s revisions to data analytics and information systems in an effort to better prepare CPAs for the digital age

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Woman focused on laptop doing researchThe new online map tool can be used to filter the information in a way that may be more relevant to a particular user (Getty Images/Fizkes)

The 2020 competency map, which outlines the competencies required to enter the Canadian accounting profession, includes several new changes and a tool to use the map in a way that better meets users’ needs.

“The CPA Profession continually evolves and so must the Competency Map,” says Jane Bowen, FCPA, FCA, chair of the competency map committee and teaching faculty at the Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ont.

“It is not just important, but essential that the Competency Map reflect the expectations of an entry-level CPA since it becomes a guide for pre-qualification education, the professional education program and practical experience requirement.”

The Competency Map Committee (CMC) uses various criteria to prioritize changes to the map. For example, the CMC looks to technical changes in specific technical areas such as financial accounting, assurance and income tax, and others. Employers and educators are also consulted on new developments to keep the CMC aware of how the expectations of an entry-level CPA may be changing.


The new online map tool provides users with a variety of convenient features, including a streamlined layout that displays competencies alongside knowledge lists, as well as the ability to filter the map by competency area, module and proficiency level.

The tool can be used to filter the information in a way that may be more relevant to a particular user, adds Bowen.

“For example, if a CPA candidate is starting to prepare for the Core 1 Module (C1) of the CPA Canada PEP Modules, they can look at the content of the map by filtering by that Module C1. By including the feature to download to Excel, it allows any user to work with the data in the map any way they want to.”


The other main changes to the 2020 CPA Competency Map include:

  1. An update to the enabling competencies
  2. Revisions to various competencies related to data analytics and information systems (DAIS)
  3. Minor improvements to technical competencies and learning outcomes

The enabling competencies were revised to reflect an updated view of the enabling skills, says Bowen. 

“Many employers indicated that the career success of a CPA is dependent on strong enabling skills,” she says. “The adding value enabling competency stands out now—it was important to the CMC that this enabling competency expand beyond the concept of adding value to the firm, but to society as well.”

Updates to DAIS continues the revisions started in 2019, and Bowen expects revisions to continue as the technological environment evolves.

“The revisions help by updating the entry level expectations to reflect the changes in the external environment our new CPAs will experience,” she says.

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. 


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

Also, explore what the future holds for the accounting profession in the report, The Way Forward, which presents insights from CPA Canada Foresight: Reimagining the Profession, a six-month consultation process with that involved more than 1,200 members and stakeholders.