What’s the difference between a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and an Accountant?

Mock Webware |

The main difference between a CPA and an accountant is in their level of training and certification.

Almost anyone can call themselves an accountant- but only those who have met stringent education and experience requirements and then passed the Common Final Examination – a three-day examination - can call themselves a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in Canada.

CPA’s must adhere to a strict code of professional ethics and perform their work in accordance with the Canadian technical and professional standards. The Provincial regulatory bodies regularly review the work of CPA’s to confirm they adhere to these requirements.

These rules do not apply to accountants, nor is their work required to be scrutinised.

Only a CPA can sign a report for a Compilation Engagement. A Review Engagement report or an Audit report must be a CPA who is a Licensed Public Accountant which has a further set of rules and experience requirements, An accountant cannot sign an audit report nor can a CPA who is not a Licensed Public Accountant.

CPA’s must complete ongoing education requirements specified by their Provincial regulatory bodies to maintain their professional designation, There are no ongoing education requirements for accountants.

CPA’s have a fiduciary responsibility which means they must legally act in the best interests of their clients. There are no fiduciary responsibility requirements for an accountant.

CPA’s are always held to a higher standard of behaviour when acting on behalf of clients or a Board of Directors than an accountant.

At Morley CPA Professional Corporation, we have two CPA’s on our team, two experienced and certified bookkeepers, two client excellence coordinators and an office administrator. At Morley CPA Professional corporation, we hold all our team members to a high standard of integrity where our vision is to provide leadership that inspires confidence and hope in our team and our clients and sets up a cycle of growth and transformation for our client’s businesses as we grow and transform our accounting leadership and team.