Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants


Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) is the umbrella body for the Chartered Accountant profession in Canada and Bermuda. Membership of the CICA totals 70,000 Chartered Accountants and 8,500 students.

Canadian chartered accountants use the designation CA.

History

CICA was established in 1902 as the "Dominion Association of Chartered Accountants" (DACA). Milestones in the history of CICA include:

* 1922 : First Canadian woman receives the CA designation
* 1927 : Common uniform qualifying examination first proposed by DACA, supported by all provinces except Quebec
* 1939 : Standardized uniform qualifying examination implemented in all provinces except Quebec
* 1951 : DACA changes name to the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and adopts a French name - l'Institut Canadien des Comptables Agréés
* 1954 : Uniform qualifying examination extended to Quebec
* 1968 : "CICA Handbook" incorporating Canadian accounting standards, first produced
* 1977 : CICA becomes a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants
* 2004 : Proposed merger between CICA and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada failed through lack of support.

The accounting and auditing profession in Canada

Auditing rights are regulated by provincial governments. In British Columbia, the Company Act provides that only CAs, Certified General Accountants (CGAs), or anyone who has been granted an accounting licence by the provincial regulatory body may audit public companies. In Prince Edward Island, only qualified CAs and CGAs can perform public accounting and auditing in accordance with the Public Accounting and Auditing Act. In all other provinces, except Quebec and Ontario, only qualified CAs, CGAs, and CMAs may audit public companies.

Historically Quebec and Ontario only allowed CAs to audit companies. However, CGAs and CMAs can audit a selected list of public bodies in Quebec. In 2004, the Ontario government passed legislation that would enable CGAs and CMAs to practice public accounting, but only after these bodies had demonstrated to a reconstituted Public Accountants Council that they could attain qualification standards of equivalent rigour to CAs. Until that process is completed sometime in 2007 or 2008, neither CGAs nor CMAs will be eligible for public accounting licenses.

In Quebec, the situation is currently under review and challenge based on the Agreement of Internal Trade (AIT). In August 2005, the AIT issued a report recommending Quebec to change its legislation by opening public auditing to qualified accountants who are not CAs but would have to become CA's.

The size of the accounting bodies varies across Canada. In Ontario and Quebec, CA is substantially bigger than CGA or CMA. In Manitoba, CGA is the largest accounting body, whereas in British Columbia, CA and CGA are about the same size.

CICA and Provincial Institutes

In Canada, professional regulation is carried out in each province or territory. Hence, each Canadian province and territory - with the exception of Nunavut - has its own Institute of Chartered Accountants (or "ordre" in the French language).

For mainly historical reasons, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Bermuda also belongs to CICA and has the same status as any other provincial institute.

The role of CICA includes:

* setting Canadian accounting and auditing standards
* establishing the education standards for entry to the CA profession in Canada, including the "Uniform Evaluation (UFE)"
* issuing guidelines on control and governance, publishes professional literature and develops continuing education programs
* representing the profession at a national level and internationally. CICA is a member of the International Federation of Accountants

The role of provincial institutes/ordres includes:

* setting criteria for entry to the CA profession in that province. The educational requirements are broadly similar for each province, in particular the requirement to pass the "Uniform Evaluation (UFE)". However there may be some requirements specific to each province. For example, persons seeking to become a CA in the province of Quebec must demonstrate proficiency in the French language.
* representing the CA profession in that province or territory (including government relations).
* providing continuing professional education and monitoring member compliance
* monitoring and supervision of members engaged in "public practise"
* discipline of members

It is not possible to become a member of CICA directly. A person acquires CICA membership through membership of at least one provincial institute/ordre. Most provincial institutes/ordres insist that new applicants for membership are resident in that province/territory. This is different compared to the United States where the majority of state boards do not require residency in order to obtain the Certified Public Accountant designation in that state.

Members of CICA who move province may usually become a member of the provincial institute/ordre in their new province of residence with little formality required. There is no obligation to do so, however it may not be possible to practise "public accounting" in the new province without such membership. Some Canadian provinces have restrictions on the use of the "CA" designation by accountants qualified in another Canadian province who have not transferred membership.

Bilingualism

CICA is a bilingual organization and seeks to serve English and French speaking members equally. The "Uniform Evaluation" examination may be taken in either language.

Mutual recognition agreements

CICA has mutual recognition agreements in place with the following non-Canadian accounting bodies:

* * American Institute of Certified Public Accountants / National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Only to those state boards that exempt Canadian CAs from the Uniform CPA Exam
* Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia
* Institut des Reviseurs d'Enterprises de Belgique (Belgium)
* Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
* Ordre des Experts Comptables (France)
* Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
* Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
* Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
* Instituto Mexicano des Contadores Públicos (Mexico)
* Nederland Instituut van Register Accountants (Netherlands)
* New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
* Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
* South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

Membership of CICA through mutual recognition agreement is subject to a number of criteria:

* the applicant must have qualified as a member of the overseas accounting body through the normal examination based route, and not through direct entry or mutual recognition.
* Most provincial institutes impose restrictions on persons who became a member of an overseas accounting body (even through the normal route) while not a resident of that jurisdiction. This is intended mainly to prevent Canadians from bypassing the "Uniform Final Evaluation" (UFE) examination by sitting the U.S. Uniform CPA Exam instead and seeking mutual recognition based on their American Certified Public Accountant designation.
* it is necessary to pass the "Chartered Accountants Reciprocity Examination" (CARE) which tests knowledge of Canadian accounting, tax and law. The CARE examination is not as extensive or in-depth as the normal "Uniform Final Evaluation" (UFE).
* specific criteria may be set by the provincial institute/ordre. Most insist on a certain period of "public accounting" work experience and may not accept those who have trained as accountants in an industrial environment.

CICA withdrew its recognition of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland for a period of time in 2004-05. This was due to pressure the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) put on the United Kingdom government to withdraw practicing rights from Canadian CAs in the United Kingdom until similar rights were obtained by Chartered Certified Accountants in Canada. In 2005 the issue was temporarily resolved pending a resolution of the ACCA application for public practice rights in the province of Ontario

ee also

* Certified General Accountant
* Society of Management Accountants of Canada
* Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (Canada)
* International Qualification Examination

External links

* [http://www.cica.ca/ CICA official homepage]
* [http://www.icao.on.ca Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario]
* [http://www.icaa.ab.ca Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta]
* [http://www.icab.bm Institute of Chartered Accountants in Bermuda]
* [http://www.ica.bc.ca Institute of Chartered Accountants in British Columbia]
* [http://www.ocaq.qc.ca Ordre des Comptables Agrees du Quebec]

History

* [http://languageinstinct.blogspot.com/2006/08/in-balance-account-of-albe_115552342109947782.html In Balance: A History of Alberta's CA Profession]


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