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So, you want to become a CPA?


Are you a student looking at becoming a designated accountant? Whether you are still in high school or already working through a 4 year degree, here is some good information to let you know what to expect when becoming a CPA.


The majority of students will go through the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) in order to obtain their CPA designation. PEP is a two year, graduate-level program delivered on a part time basis. Before starting PEP you must complete a 4 year post-secondary degree, including some prerequisite courses (as can be found on the brochure found on the link below). Once enrolled in PEP, the program consists of two core modules (financial reporting and strategy and governance), two elective modules (chosen from the four electives: assurance, tax, performance management, and finance), and two capstone modules. For those individuals interested in Public Accounting, tax and assurance elective modules must be taken. The PEP program costs approximately $12,000. Some employers, including White Kennedy, will pay course fees as a benefit to their employees.


While PEP is by far the most common alternative to getting the education requirements needed to write the Common Final Evaluation (CFE) and obtain your designation, there are alternative options. The Masters of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) offered by the University of Saskatchewan is a graduate program that allow students to undertake an alternative route that covers the first five modules of the CPA PEP program. Upon completion, students will be able to enroll in Capstone Module 2, and then take the CFE. This program has been the only CPA Accredited post-secondary institution in western Canada since 1998. This program is approximately $22,000. There is also a brand new Masters of Accounting (MAcc) offered by the University of Alberta in Western Canada. This is a similar program to MPAcc and costs approximately $36,000. Both programs are full time programs during the May to August months over two summer terms. This allows students to focus and dedicate yourself to your studies without the distractions of work unlike the PEP program where students typically complete modules as they work full time.


Alongside the education requirements needed to get your designation, work experience must also be completed. A total of 30 months of relevant practical work experience is required. There are two training routes to obtain this experience; pre-approved program route and experience verification route. White Kennedy is an organization that has been pre-approved by the CPA profession and therefore less documentation is required of CPA candidates.


Finally, there is the CFE. This is a three day exam that evaluates candidates on their breadth of the six core competency areas and depth in two core competency areas. Public accounting candidates will be tested on financial reporting and assurance. The exam cost is approximately $1,500.


Please refer to the following websites for more information:


The information presented is only of a general nature, may omit many details and special rules, is current only as of its published date, and accordingly cannot be regarded as legal or tax advice. Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.


Written by Angie Vriends – Manager
White Kennedy LLP – Chartered Professional Accountants