A Supportive Accounting Firm in London Helping You Grow

Whether you are at the start of your accounting career or a seasoned accountant looking to take your career to the next level, navigating the multiple steps towards achieving your designation and becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) can feel overwhelming. With a number of avenues to explore, ensuring you have the support and direction to guide you on your journey is an essential step to successfully achieving your CPA goals.

At Ford Keast LLP, we highly encourage team members to continue their learning and development as they progress in their careers. As an accredited training office for CPA students, our team can obtain the hours required for their CPA designation while gaining valuable exposure to relevant topics for the Common Final Exam (CFE).

Why Pursue Your CPA Designation?

As trusted accounting and business advisors, CPAs deliver high-quality taxation, financial reporting, and business strategies to companies and individuals with a combination of analytical and technical expertise.

A CPA designation provides accountants with enhanced credibility, higher salaries, and increased potential for career stability and growth.  

How to Become a CPA

Canadian CPAs are industry leaders, guiding business owners and individuals to make informed financial decisions. Becoming a CPA requires four key steps, ensuring candidates are prepared and qualified for the designation.

Step 1: Education Requirements

The first step to obtaining your CPA designation is completing a four-year bachelor’s degree. With this degree, completing the remaining components should take two to three years.

  • There are other educational avenues that students may explore to expedite the CPA process. Ford Keast works with and supports team members on these alternate options.

CPA Preparatory Courses

Individuals with a Canadian degree in something other than accounting can start working toward their CPA designation through the CPA Preparatory Courses (PREP). PREP helps students obtain the necessary accounting skills and specialized knowledge to move on to the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP).

Completing PREP will take between 14 and 24 months. To be eligible for PREP, you will need 30 credit hours of post-secondary study or three years of relevant work experience.

International Credential Recognition

Individuals with international credentials could be eligible for streamlined programs and start at Capstone 1 and 2. After quickly and fairly assessing your qualifications, CPA Canada offers streamlined bridging programs geared to help you achieve any additional credentials. The programs are designed to help you achieve any educational or experiential requirements as efficiently as possible.

Step 2: CPA Professional Education Program

The CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) is a comprehensive program designed to prepare candidates for the CPA designation. There are six modules covering essential topics such as financial reporting, assurance, taxation, and strategy and governance to ensure candidates have a solid accounting foundation and are prepared for the Common Final Exam.

  • Core 1
  • Core 2
  • Elective 1
  • Elective 2
  • Capstone 1
  • Capstone 2

Step 3: Common Final Exam

The Common Final Exam (CFE) is a three-day examination that evaluates all areas of study and ensures comprehensive knowledge of all key competencies. The CFE assesses candidates’ ability to apply technical knowledge, critical thinking skills, and professional judgment in solving complex accounting and business scenarios.

To successfully complete the CFE, you must pass all three days. The exam is offered twice a year, in May and September.

Step 4: Practical Experience

In addition to comprehensive education requirements, CPA candidates also submit practical experience reports through the practical experience reporting tool (PERT). CPA Canada requires a minimum of 30 months of employment experience from CPA Candidates in Ontario, including an allowance of up to 12 months of previous work experience. This requirement can run concurrently with prerequisite learning, i.e., PEP and CFE. This experience must be supervised and include regular reporting. Twice per year, candidates are expected to meet with a CPA mentor to have their experience assessed.  

There are two routes future CPAs can follow to gain the necessary experience hours:

  • Pre-approved programs: Through positions pre-approved by the profession, CPA candidates gain meaningful experience. Ford Keast LLP provides a pre-approved program for students to obtain practical experience hours.
  • Experience Verification: Future CPAs show relevant experience at their choice of employer.

To gain the necessary experience from either path, or a combination of both, the following five requirements must be met:

  1. Qualifying Experience: Candidates must gain relevant paid employment as a professional accountant, and the period of practical experience can not begin until candidates have a CPA mentor.
  2. Appropriate Supervision: Supervisors, who must also be designated accountants, verify experience is factually accurate.
  3. Reporting & Self-Assessment: The experience reports detail the duration and type of experience as well as candidates’ self-assessments of their experience.
  4. CPA Mentorship: Candidates will meet with their CPA mentors twice a year to review their progress.
  5. Review by Profession: An experience report must be reviewed by the provincial/regional body at significant milestones.

How Can Ford Keast LLP Help You Succeed

Becoming a CPA is a significant achievement that paves the way for a successful and rewarding career in accounting. With dedication, perseverance, and the right support, you can achieve this prestigious designation.

At Ford Keast LLP, not only do we support our team  financially through the CPA process from PEP (or equivalent) to the exam, but we also support:

  • Educational leaves of absence (unpaid) for our team to obtain education requirements
  • Multiple options for study time off in preparation for the CFE and other courses.
  • CPD courses, both internal and external as well as CPA dues.

Through our RSM PS+ Collaborative, team members have access to multiple courses and content, including CFE prep, leadership programs, and more.

Contact Ford Keast LLP in London to Grow Your Career

At Ford Keast LLP, we are always looking for dedicated and talented individuals to join our inclusive team of accounting, tax, and business advisory professionals. We offer competitive compensation and benefits packages as well as a dynamic and supportive work environment. To learn more about how you can join our active team, contact us online or call us at 519-679-9330.

Office Location

624 Maitland Street
London, Ontario N6B 2Z9
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T (519) 679-9330
F (519) 679-3204