As many of you may be aware, there are essentially three bodies of accountant that practice in Ontario: Certified Management Accountants (CMA’s), Certified General Accountants (CGA’s) and Chartered Accountants (CA’s). In recent years there has been a movement underway to unite all three organizations under one umbrella organization, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario). In February of this year, a Memorandum of Understanding in support of unification was signed by all three organizations. This unification has the support of government.
On April 1 of this year and after the completion of negotiations and the signing of a Unification Agreement, the Certified Management Accountants to which I belong were officially granted membership to this new organization which already includes CA’s. This will mandate that I add CPA to my credentials which already include CMA, MBA and CFP. We expect that CGA’s will follow suit in short order on completion of their negotiations. In the final stage of unification, changes to government legislation will effectively dissolve the original three organizations and CPA Ontario will stand alone.
For the industry it will mean a centralized and unified body that will regulate and oversee all certified accountants in the province. Additionally, this new organization will take over the promotion and administration of continuing professional development and act as the voice for its members to government and other interested parties. For its members, CPA Ontario will provide group insurance plans, product discounts as well as member advisory services as they relate to ethical concerns, technical accounting and reporting matters.
So how does this affect our customers and the way we operate our businesses? For the most part, it will be business as usual. Any changes in the way we, as accountants, do business will take place behind the scenes. The overall effect of unification will be a more streamlined and unified approach to accounting and the licensing of accountants in Ontario. It will additionally help to provide nationally consistent and internationally recognized standards and programs for its members.