Presented by Colin:Thank you for attending tonight.As you know, the leadership of Canada’s Certified Management Accountants, Chartered Accountants, and Certified General Accountants have proposed uniting our national and provincial organizations through the creation of a new professional designation, Chartered Professional Accountant, or CPA.The 3 Canadian Professional Accounting bodies have been in negotiations aimed at setting aside decades of almost ‘rivalry’ within our own profession. If professional accountants in Canada want to stay relevant they are going to have to get out of their current comfort zones. They have to understand that the world around them is changing fast—yet many are still reluctant to keep pace and come together. In addition, in Canada, a clearer picture about the accounting profession would benefit the entire business community. Small and medium sized companies want things as clear, simple and efficient as possible. They don’t want to have to figure out all the differences between CAs, CMAs and CGAs—they just want the work done.Tonight we’re going to provide an overview of the issues driving this discussion; the national Unification Framework; the proposed CPA Certification Program; and the BC Provincial Merger Proposal.This is an unprecedented time for our profession — change, in one way or another, is coming. We hope this presentation leaves you with a better understanding of the issues and what is at stake for accounting professionals in Canada.Ours is a fragmented profession, which means it’s not efficient. Each of the 3 national bodies spends millions of dollars annually promoting its brands. The duplication, the fees, the confusion—accountants are supposed to be responsible about bottom-line issues, and we’re not setting a great example in the way we’re currently structured. By now, all members should have received the both the national Unification Framework and the BC Merger Proposal.Knowing how our members feel about the unification of the profession is incredibly important to all the members of your Board, and I would like to give you my assurance that we will be taking that into consideration as we decide how to move forward in the months ahead.While member and stakeholder input is incredibly important, ultimately it is the provincial government that will decide the future of BC’s accounting profession. We are provincially legislated, and as such, the final say rests with the provincial government. Currently, the Minister of Advanced Education is aware of the unification initiative and is watching how things unfold, not only here in BC, but across the country. In fact, just yesterday Minister of Advanced Education Naomi Yamamoto wrote to myself and the other 2 BC CEO’s-thanking us for the merger information and confirming she wants to be kept informed as the process & progress continues.Once our consultation period has ended, we will provide the Minister with input on a possible direction for BC’s professional accountants.And now, Bob Strachan will provide a brief national update…
Presented by Colin:This is a snapshot of the accounting profession in BC right now.Nationally, there are 172,000 professional accountants, and it should come as no surprise that the majority of them, almost 70%, are located in Ontario and Quebec.
Presented by Colin:In 2010, the Quebec government brought together the three accounting professions to discuss the possibility of merging in that province, and the merger process there is moving forward rapidly. Nationally, the Unification Framework was released in January 2012, and the BC Merger Proposal came out shortly thereafter.Across the country, most other provincial accounting bodies are also part of the merger talks, although CA Alberta recently withdrew from the merger discussions in that province.
Presented by Colin:The unification initiative has developed and evolved since the discussions began. Throughout the process, many members have questioned whether or not we need to change the status quo. There are no guarantees that the status quo can continue, and there are risks found in the current volatile environment.For example, if we do not use the CPA in Canada we run the risk of having someone else use it. The profession could also face government intervention, such as what happened in Quebec. Governments currently see a fragmented accounting profession in Canada.Should governments decide to take a more active role in regulating the profession, we could see the development of a US-style model, which would establish a government regulating body for all designations and make current bodies’ member services entities or trade associations, like medical or bar associations.Moving to this model would negatively impact member fees as members would have to pay fees to both the regulatory and member service organizations. In professions or jurisdictions where this has happened, membership in the member services organizations decreased dramatically as membership in the trade association is optional while it is mandatory with the regulatory body. We think that the unification framework not only deals with government concerns and issues, it also retains our self-regulating and member service model.
Presented by Stephen:The national unification framework and principles are heavily influenced by the position paper put out in May, and provide a common framework for the development of provincial merger proposals. During the first consultation, we heard from members that the CPA certification program was incredibly important and more details were needed. The unification framework provides greater clarity around the program and a separate document regarding the CPA program has been created.
Presented by Stephen:I’m now going to take you through the 8 guiding principles of the unification framework.The first principle is the evolution to a single designation, Chartered Professional Accountant, or CPA. Once provincial legislation is passed, all current members in good standing would be granted a CPA. However, for a period of ten years, members using the new CPA designation would be required to “tag”, or use it in conjunction with their existing designation. Once the tagging period ends, a member could choose to use the CPA on its own, or continue using it in conjunction with their legacy designation, subject to legislative approval.Ultimately, the move to one designation will eventually reduce confusion in the marketplace. As the transition takes place, tagging still allows consumers to recognize the training background of professional accountants, and protects the equity members have in their legacy designations.Second, members would continue to use their existing designations, and no one would be granted a designation for another professional body.Third, the unification framework also protects all existing rights of members, such as public accounting licensing rights or rights under existing Mutual Recognition Agreements, without granting new rights, and the CPA body would negotiate new Mutual Recognition Agreements. It is important to note that any member not authorized to practice in a restricted area such as audit prior to the merger would be required to complete any necessary provincial programs to qualify post-merger.Fourth, what we have heard loud and clear from our members is the need to maintain our rigorous education standards.
Presented by Stephen:We expect that like other professions, such as medicine or law, post-designation specialty programs would be developed. A number of specialties are being considered, such as tax, forensic accounting, strategic management, and public sector accounting.Early in the transition process, the new CPA organization will focus branding efforts on the CPA designation and there would no longer be any branding of the legacy designations.The unification framework also addresses the need for and value in creating a uniform regulatory regime for Canada’s professional accountants. While there may be some differences across jurisdictions, if the legislation is similar from province to province it will simplify things for those who practice multi-jurisdictionally. In addition, a new common regulatory framework reflecting the best practices of the existing organizations, including codes of conduct, practice inspection, disciplinary processes and an effective, nationally consistent public accounting regime would be developed. As part of our recommendation to government, we would also ask that the new CPA legislation establish a common regulatory regime for all accountants, including those who are undesignated. The new CPA organization would also be responsible for standard setting in the profession.Finally, there would be merged operations and governance at the provincial and national levels.
Presented by Stephen:The proposed CPA certification program is designed to deliver a pre-eminent professional accounting designation and internationally recognized business credential. Our goal is for it to be open and attractive to a broad market of potential candidates. A new CPA Competency Map would be designed to meet the needs of industry, government and public practice. This document would cover both technical competencies – advanced financial accounting and reporting, management accounting, taxation, financial and performance management, and others – as well as enabling competencies such as professionalism, leadership and problem-solving.
Presented by Stephen:The proposed CPA certification program draws on the strengths of the existing programs and would be recognized by members, regulators, global accounting organizations and the business community as being at least as rigorous as all existing programs. An undergraduate degree and specific prerequisite courses in business and accountancy would be required for admission to the professional education program.The professional education program would include a series of modules focused on enhancing candidates’ ability to apply professional knowledge, professional values, ethics and attitudes in a professional context. The certification process would also include a comprehensive multi-day final exam.Practical experience would also be a key component, with a requirement of three years’ practical experience, consisting of a post-graduate professional education program with strong elements of practical application and 24 months of field experience. As for timing, the new CPA certification modules would be ready to launch in fall 2013, and the first CPA final exam will be written in 2015.
Presented by Stephen:In summary, the CPA certification program will:be at least as rigorous as the current programsmeet or exceed all IFAC standards for education, assessment and practical experienceappeal to employers for its development of accountancy and business skillsmeet or exceed requirements for existing and future Mutual Recognition Agreementsbe nationally developed in structure and content and regionally deliveredWe will also be developing an alternate program that will be bridgeable to the CPA designation to meet the diverse needs of both employers and clients. This program would be developed for those who aspire to a career in accountancy, but not as a qualified CPA. This program would have distinct entrance, education and assessment requirements. A bridging program to the appropriate stage of the CPA certification program would be developed.
Presented by Colin:The BC Provincial Merger Proposal has been developed and endorsed by the leadership of the CMA, CA, and CGA Council and Boards, and we are taking it to our membership and other relevant stakeholders for their consideration.The proposal is consistent with the national unification framework, and it includes information on:GovernanceIntegrating operationsTransitionBenefits to members
Presented by Colin:BC’s new CPA profession would be governed by a volunteer Board made up of 15 elected CPAs and public reps appointed by government. Terms of office would be three years, renewable for a maximum of two consecutive terms. Exceptions to this term limit would be made for individuals appointed to the Executive Committee. The Chair of the Board would be elected by, and from among the Board directors, for a one-year term, and the Executive Committee would consist of Board directors appointed annually by the Board.The first Board of Directors would be formed once BC’s CPA legislation is enacted. To ensure continuity within the new profession, new Board members would be appointed from members sitting at that time on the CMA Board, the CA Council, and the CGA Board. The composition would be proportionate to the number of members in each of the legacy bodies, appointed by the existing Board/Council of the respective organizations, as follows: CMA with 3 positions, CA with 6 positions, and CGA with 6 positions.Over time, interim Board members would be replaced with elected CPA members regardless of their legacy designations. The first Board election would be held after the second anniversary of the new legislation taking effect, and one third of appointed board positions (one CPA, CMA; two CPA, CA; and two CPA, CGA) would be up for election in that and each of the following two years.
Presented by Colin:Management of the CPA organization would reflect and take into account the best accepted practices, processes, and management structure of the 3 bodies. The creation and operation of the CPA organization would require experienced and talented employees to maintain continuity. Successful unification would initially require utilizing the existing staff of the legacy organizations, and individuals whose education, experience, and qualifications best match the requirements would be appointed to the respective positions.Members in each accountancy body are charged dues each year. National fees differ substantially and would need to be harmonized by the national bodies. At the provincial level, the dues of each body are almost equal. Efforts would be made to equalize the fees of CPA members within a five-year period.
Presented by Colin:If a commitment to proceed with legislation is received from the government, the 3 bodies will work with government officials to draft legislation to be included in the legislative calendar at the earliest opportunity. In addition, the CMA BC, ICABC, and CGA-BC will commence planning and implementing the integration of their respective organizations.The existing levels of member services are expected to be maintained or expanded during the transition phase. To the extent possible, members of each legacy body would be granted access to the member services of the other body on equal terms. Until provincial CPA legislation is passed, members would continue to follow the by-laws, regulations, and rules of their legacy bodies and the current regulatory processes of each body would be maintained. Once provincial legislation is in place, current members would be granted the CPA designation. Members will use the CPA designation in conjunction with their existing designation for ten years, after which time it would be optional to include the legacy designation in addition to the CPA designation. Consideration will be given to developing a reasonable transition period for implementation, including specific guidance to members in public practice.
Presented by Colin:The main benefits to members are:To be better positioned to protect the public by ensuring all professional accounting and assurance services meet a uniformly high and consistent level of ethical and practice standards.To protect and enhance the value of your designation in an increasingly competitive international environment.To contribute to the sustainability and prosperity of the Canadian accounting profession.To govern the accounting profession in an effective and efficient manner.
Presented by Colin:A key task for the Society is engaging members and other key stakeholders regarding the Unification Framework and BC Merger Proposal in order to gauge the level of support. While our members views are important, they are not the only views we have to consider. Our Board will also talk to financial regulators, business leaders and consumers, and educators.We will collect and assess the input received during the consultation from key stakeholders, as well as assess the support for the merger in jurisdictions across Canada. Every question asked at these sessions as well as those received by e-mail or telephone will be noted and provided in a report to the BC Board.No merger in BC will be enacted without the approval of the BC Government. Our sense is that the government wants to know not only how our members feel about the proposal here in BC, but also how the proposal is proceeding on a national basis. Therefore once consultation has ended, we will consider this feedback and draft a formal submission to the BC government regarding the merger of the three accounting bodies. The final submission to government will reflect the response from members.We expect this process to be finished this spring.
“There is an urgent need to improve the working relationship of the three major accounting bodies in Canada.We feel the accelerating competition among the major accounting bodies, the increasing duplication of programs and services, and the resulting inefficiencies in the use of resources are detrimental to the future of the profession in Canada and to the needs of its members.We feel it is urgent and important for the bodies in Canada to begin a dialogue on ways and means to rationalize the profession.”
“The three accounting bodies in Canada are not doing an adequate job of serving the interests of the public or the profession.All three tend to deal with the issues from the perspective of their own narrow self-interest, rather than looking at the accounting profession as a whole, or how our profession can best serve the needs of the public at large...The time to start is now.”
These comments were written by Clarence Ivey, President, Certified Management Accountants of Canada....in 1969!
Presented by Colin:I hope after attending this presentation it’s clear to you that our profession is at a crossroads. It’s vitally important that all members help us develop appropriate input to government, to help it do the right thing for the profession.If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback to the Society after tonight, please email email@example.com or call 604-687-5891 or 1-800-663-9646.And now, we’ll start taking questions…
CMA BC Town Halls 2012: Uniting the Canadian Accounting Profession
Overview Canada’s CMAs, CAs, and CGAs are proposing uniting through the creation of a new professional designation, CPA, that aspires to be: • The best in protecting and serving the public interest • The pre-eminent Canadian accounting designation and business credential We want to talk to you about: • The background and current environment driving the Unification initiative • National Unification Framework • Proposed CPA Certification Program • BC Provincial Merger Proposal • Decision-Making Process 2
The Accounting Profession Professional Accountants in Professional Accountants BC, 2012 in Canada, 2012 CGAs CAs CGAs 10,319 11,006 29% CAs 40% 42% 46% CMAs 4,762 CMAs 18% 25% 4
The Accounting ProfessionUnification of the Profession Initiative Quebec 2010 – government facilitated Accounting bodies discussed options Preliminary framework published May 2011 Formal Consultation Period, May to September 2011 Where are we today? • Quebec – Legislation anticipated in 2012 • CGA-Canada and most CGA bodies are now at the table • National Unification Framework and BC Merger Proposal released to members and stakeholders – January 2012 • CA Alberta has withdrawn from the merger talks 5
Is the Status Quo a Viable Option?Possible Risks CPA will be an active accounting designation in Canada • Who do we want to control “CPA” in Canada? How long will governments tolerate four accounting designations with different standards? • Quebec merger • Oversight of regulation and standards • Will we go to a US model – government controlled • Impact on member fees… 6
This will be the AccountingProfession in Canada in April 2012CGAs CAs29% 46% TODAY CPAs 20% CAs 35% CMAs 25% APRIL 2012 End Game CGAs 24% CMAs 21% Chartered Professional Accountants 7
The Profession RespondsNational Unification Framework Provides a common framework for the development of merger proposals in each jurisdiction Initial proposals on new CPA pre-certification education system published Finalized and published for member and stakeholder review Framework and principles are based on the Position Paper published in May based on the results of the consultation 9
The National Unification Framework8 Guiding Principles1. Evolution to a single designation • Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) granted to all members in good standing from new CPA provincial body • For 10 years, CPA must be used in conjunction with existing designation. i.e. Jane Smith, CPA, CMA • “Tagging” ensures consumer and international accounting body recognition of background2. Continued use of existing designations3. Retention but no expansion of rights4. Certification 10
The National Unification Framework8 Guiding Principles5. Specialities6. Branding7. Uniform regulatory regime • Everyone meets same standards – protect public interest • Facilitates multi-jurisdictional practice8. Merged operations and governance 11
CPA Certification Model – VisionWhat is the vision of the CPA Certification Model? Designed to deliver a pre-eminent professional accounting designation and internationally recognized business credential. Open and attractive to a broad market of potential candidates, including career changers, immigrants and non- business degree holders. New Competency Map – including both technical competencies as well as enabling competencies. 13
CPA Certification ModelCPA certification program elements: academic prerequisites for admission post-graduate CPA professional education program culminate in a comprehensive, multi-day final examination relevant practical experience 14
CPA Certification – SummaryCPA certification program will: be at least as rigorous as the current programs meet or exceed all IFAC standards for education, assessment and practical experience meet or exceed requirements for existing and future Mutual Recognition Agreements be nationally (pan-Canadian) developed in structure and content and regionally delivered appeal to employers for its development of accountancy and business skills include options for post-designation specialties 15
Provincial Merger Proposal BC Steering Committee coordinated development This proposal has been endorsed by the leadership of the CMA, CA, and CGA Council and Boards We are now taking this to the membership and other stakeholders for consideration Key Elements: • Consistent with the national unification framework • Governance • Integrating operations • Transition • Benefits to members 17
Governance BC’s new CPA profession would be governed by a volunteer Board • 15 elected CPAs, public reps appointed by government • 3 year term of office, max two consecutive terms; exceptions made for those appointed to Executive Committee • Chair elected by, and from among, Board; 1 year term • Executive Committee – Board directors appointed annually by Board Interim Board of Directors appointed from sitting members of CMA Board, CA Council, and CGA Board • Composition proportionate to number of members in legacy body • Over time replaced by elected CPA members; first election 2 years after legislation taking effect 18
Operations Management of new CPA organization will reflect best practices, processes, and management structure of current bodies Existing staff to be utilized where appropriate National fees differ substantially from the provinces and need to be harmonized by the national bodies In BC, dues are almost equal among 3 bodies • Efforts would be made to equalize CPA fees within 5 years 19
Transition Transition will only proceed if government commits to change legislation 3 bodies will work with government to draft legislation and get it on legislative calendar as quickly as possible 3 bodies will plan and implement integration; during transition: • Members services would be expanded or maintained • Members of each body would be granted equal access to all services • Existing processes maintained until legislation is passed Once legislation in place, current members granted CPA, which must be used with legacy designation for 10 years • Optional tagging thereafter 20
Benefits to Members To be better positioned to protect the public by ensuring all professional accounting and assurance services meet a uniformly high and consistent level of ethical and practice standards, including a consistent code of conduct for all members. To protect and enhance the value of your designation in an increasingly competitive international environment. To contribute to the sustainability and prosperity of the Canadian accounting profession. To govern the accounting profession in an effective and efficient manner. 21
Hearing all Viewpoints Key stakeholders we have talked to and need to formally consult about a provincial proposal: • Members • Financial Regulators • Business Leaders • Firms • Educators • Governments – the ultimate decision makers Board will develop recommendation to members and the government 22
A Closing Thought“There is an urgent need to improve the working relationship ofthe three major accounting bodies in Canada.We feel the accelerating competition among the majoraccounting bodies, the increasing duplication of programs andservices, and the resulting inefficiencies in the use of resourcesare detrimental to the future of the profession in Canada and tothe needs of its members.We feel it is urgent and important for the bodies in Canada tobegin a dialogue on ways and means to rationalize theprofession.” 23
A Closing Thought“The three accounting bodies in Canada are not doing anadequate job of serving the interests of the public or theprofession.All three tend to deal with the issues from the perspective oftheir own narrow self-interest, rather than looking at theaccounting profession as a whole, or how our profession canbest serve the needs of the public at large...The time to start is now.” 24
A Closing Thought These comments were written by Clarence Ivey, President,Society of Management Accountants of Canada, in 1969 25
Comments/Questions/Input For more information or to share your comments and questions: www.CPACanada.ca www.cmabc.com firstname.lastname@example.org