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The program is run by the Certified General Accountants Association, the professional association representing CGAs and students in Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and China. CGA-Canada has more than 85 years’ experience in setting professional and educational accounting standards. The program meets or exceeds the criteria set for professional accounting education by the International Federation of Accountants.
While the national CGA Association takes overall responsibility for the program, it also enlists the expertise of university faculty and the professional accounting community across Canada. Joint academic and professional advisory groups and an extensive network of content experts and examiners help to design, evaluate and run the program.
During your studies, you will complete at least two years of related work experience. As you progress through the courses, you should be employed in positions of increasing responsibility, which will provide you with opportunities to apply the skills and information you are acquiring. You and your employer will participate regularly in the assessment of your practical experience.
You are expected to spend 15 to 20 hours a week on your studies. As part of that commitment, many students, during their years of study, log more than 400 hours of computer time, gaining expertise in computer technology and how it is applied to accounting and management problems.
At the foundation level, you will study financial accounting, management accounting, auditing, finance, taxation and management information systems. You also take supporting courses in communications, law and economics. Ethical issues are an integral part of the program as are computer tutorials in the latest information technology software.
At the professional level, you’ll take advanced courses in taxation, financial accounting, finance and auditing.
One of the great aspects of the CGA designation is that you take courses while you are working. The practical experience you gain is part of the requirement of the designation, but it also keeps you fiscally afloat and lets you apply what you’re learning to your job. Courses are designed for distance learning, so you don’t need to move.
The length of your studies depends on your academic background. Students with a university, college or technical institute background in accounting and business receive advance standing in the program of professional studies and can complete the professional level in two years. Students without advance standing are required to complete the foundation courses, the bachelor’s degree and professional level courses over six or seven years.
CGAs find careers in all sectors of the economy, and hold key accounting and financial management positions in business, government and in public practice. CGAs are corporate controllers or chief executive officers, tax auditors and deputy ministers. CGA public practice firms offer financial services to businesses and individuals.
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