How to become a CPA
Chartered Professional Accountants, or CPAs, are globally respected and recognized for their knowledge and trustworthiness. If you are looking to enter the world of finance and business and it brought you here, you have likely made up your mind already, but still have this question: how to become a CPA?
It is definitely a wise decision and you won’t regret it. There will always be a high demand for CPAs, as even in a slow economy, accountants are always needed in practically every business and organization.
What You Need To Do To Become A CPA
Simply put, there are minimum education, program participation and experience requirements.
As for education, an undergraduate degree in any university discipline is sufficient. Transcripts and some additional documentation will be required.
Next you need to enroll in the CPA Program, either at PREP (Prerequisite Education Program) or PEP (Professional Education Program) level, depending on what you have studied before.
PREP programs cover introductory financial and management accounting, economics, statistics, intermediate and advanced financial reporting, corporate finance, audit and assurance, tax, performance management, business law and finally introduction to Information Technology.
CPA PEP (Professional Education Program) is a two year part-time graduate program which prepares for industry, government and public practice. This certification process ends with the Common Final Exam.
The CPA Practical Experience Requirements include both the general practical experience requirements for a CPA certification as well as the specific practical experience requirements for those wishing to be public accountants. There are two ways you can go about meeting the criteria:
- You can take two and a half year long pre-approved program as a trainee under the mentorship of an experienced CPA, or…
- You can get your current job experience verified as relevant, by finding your own mentor. This route is more flexible.
With both routes, you will find the following common elements:
- 30 months are needed to gain the experience required to develop as a professional accountant.
- Your experience has to be developed with a mentor.
- You will be required to write systematic, scheduled reports about your work while becoming a CPA.
- You will work in a team on assignments and present real world business cases.
- You will have liberty to specialize in one or several non-core competencies
Common Final Examination takes 3 days, where you will have to demonstrate six core competencies.
The CPA certification program will prepare you with the technical, business and leadership skills you need for today’s business world.
You will learn both knowledge and accounting competence through the practical experience. You will be prepared to take on any accounting and management issues after receiving your CPA certification.
Certified CPAs are well rounded, good communicators, trustworthy, confident, honest, fair, creative and professional.
It is a prestigious profession, destined for leadership positions in the industry, government and public life.
License to become a CPA is territorial, so check specific detailed requirements and processes in your province or state. If you intend to be certified in Ontario, check your requirements here.
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