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Becoming a CA

A photo of Golaso Golaso
Just wondering about the process in becoming a CA.

1) I've heard your undergrad does not have to be in accounting, but does it have to be in something related (i.e. business, economics, math, etc) or can it be in anything?

2) Can you get it right after your undergrad or do you need to wait a little as with MBA?

3) Is there any direct academic requirements from your undergrad, i.e., 75% average, etc?

4) Is it obtained as a "masters degree" or is it something completely different?

Thanks a lot :).
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4 replies
 
A photo of aeryn aeryn
1) Your undergrad can be in anything. The requirements for becoming a CA include a list of specific courses you must take, not a specific program. If you study something else, you'll still have to complete those courses and do the exams.

2) Well, seeing as how you'll need a certain amount of hours of work experience first, you can't really get it right after your undergrad. You'll also need time to take all the exams.

3) For accredited programs offered by universities, there are minimum GPA requirements as well as course requirements.

4) Completely different. Being a CA does not mean you have a masters degree, and having a masters degree in accounting does not mean you're a CA.
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A photo of Golaso Golaso

@aeryn wrote
If you study something else, you'll still have to complete those courses and do the exams.



Thanks a lot for the help.

Do you know where I can find a list of such courses? I've looked but found different things, something about 51 courses... Also, is it possible to take a masters program in something that will give you the required courses? I swear I read something like that...
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A photo of aeryn aeryn
You're very welcome!(:

There's one masters program that will give you all the required courses + let you skip an exam, I believe. That's the MAcc offered by the University of Waterloo. To get into that, you have to be first in the AFM program or the CA programs (Math/CA, Biotech/CA).

For the list of courses..
http://www.guidetorulingtheworld.ca/Become/RequiredCourses.aspx
If you're in the top business programs though, most of them are already accredited so you don't have to worry about taking courses.

See http://www.guidetorulingtheworld.ca/Become/HowToBecome.aspx for an overview :)
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A photo of g93 g93

@aeryn wrote
1) Your undergrad can be in anything. The requirements for becoming a CA include a list of specific courses you must take, not a specific program. If you study something else, you'll still have to complete those courses and do the exams.


Not really. There are a ton of required courses that you have to take, and many of them have prerequisites that aren't part of the institute-recognized courses. You can't be in an engineering or science program and still complete all of the CA courses within 4/5 years and without overloading. Also, many of the accounting/business courses required by the ICAO will only be open to accounting/business majors at your school. These factors make it almost a requirement to be in an accounting/business program. There might be a few exceptions, but just save yourself from the grief and hassle.

If you are interested in becoming a CA, effectively you have two options:

1) Go into an accounting/business program, or

2) Look at double degrees such as Waterloo's Math/CA or Biotech/CA or Western + Ivey DD (and you could also do 2 years of non-accounting stuff at Western and 2+ years of accounting and business at Ivey) or the MMPA graduate program at UofT (undergrad degree can be in anything)

[QUOTE=aeryn]
2) Well, seeing as how you'll need a certain amount of hours of work experience first, you can't really get it right after your undergrad. You'll also need time to take all the exams.[/quote]
That is correct. An undergraduate degree (with the required courses) is only one of the requirements; work experience at an accredited training office (some of this can be completed while in school, e.g. co-op, internships) and successful completion of the three exams (the Core Knowledge Exam (CKE), School of Accountancy (SOA), and the Uniform Evaluation (UFE)) is also required. The three exams are to be written after completion of your undergraduate degree (with the CKE able to be written in January and May, the SOA able to be written in June and the UFE able to be written in September), and you must be working at a CATO or have already fulfilled your work experience requirements in order to write any of the three exams. The only way to skip any of the exams is to complete Waterloo's MAcc program (exempts you from the CKE and SOA).


@aeryn wrote

3) For accredited programs offered by universities, there are minimum GPA requirements as well as course requirements.


The ICAO requires a minimum GPA of B-, which is calculate from all the courses in your program if your program is ICAO accredited, or the courses from the accounting stream if your program is not accredited. As aeryn mentioned, each university will have its own grade requirements for its programs.


@aeryn wrote

4) Completely different. Being a CA does not mean you have a masters degree, and having a masters degree in accounting does not mean you're a CA.


Precisely. The CA is a professional designation and has nothing to do with a masters program.

The University of Waterloo's Masters of Accounting program (MAcc) technically will give you all of the required courses, but that is only because you would have gone through Accounting and Financial Management (AFM), Math/CA or Biotech/CA at Waterloo for your undergrad (as long as you keep a 75 average you get into the MAcc program if you apply). The MAcc program itself has some of the required courses (but not all of them, the majority are in the undergrad programs) plus courses for specialization. The other option at UW is to complete the diploma program instead of the MAcc (the sole purpose is to get the remaining CA courses).

There is also the MMPA (Master of Management and Professional Accounting) program at the University of Toronto. If you graduate with a B average, you meet the institute's requirements. You must have completed at least an undergraduate degree to apply. The program is designed for people with an academic background in non-business/accounting fields.

aeryn provided a few very good links as well. I suggest that you take a look at them. If you have any more questions, feel free to as or send me a PM.
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