Office Hours: CPA Ontario’s Student Recruitment Team Answered Your Questions

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TalentEgg hosted Office Hours with CPA Ontario on September 9th!

Office Hours is an hour-long, live Q&A with industry eggs-perts for TalentEgg-ers like you.

It’s your chance to learn about career paths, hiring practices and connect directly with an industry expert in your field.

We were joined by three members of the Student Recruitment Team at CPA Ontario: Jane Lalonde, Daniel Booth and Catherine Millar!

If you missed the chat, you can check out the transcript below.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Welcome to Office Hours, TalentEgg-ers! My name is Elias and I’ll be moderating today’s chat.

Over the next hour, you can share your questions with the team from CPA Ontario, get expert insight into accounting designations and gain tips for successfully hatching your career.

You can start submitting your questions now!

Before we begin, I’d like to remind everyone that it’s also Accounting Week on TalentEgg, in partnership with CPA Ontario!

Make sure to follow the #AccountingWeek hashtag and check out the Accounting Career Guide.

We’ll be adding new resources and career insights throughout the week. Got friends who are planning on hatching a career in accounting? Be sure to let them know!

Many of you took the opportunity to submit a question in advance – fantastic!

Today, the team from CPA Ontario is going to address some of the pre-submitted questions, as well as a number of questions submitted live. We’re going to cover as many topics as we can, so you’ll learn a lot over the next hour!

Let’s meet today’s experts! Could you please tell the audience a bit about yourselves and what you do at CPA Ontario?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

Hello everyone! I am a member of the Student Recruitment Team for CPA Ontario and focusing on the GTA universities. Happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the CPA designation.

Daniel Booth, CPA Ontario:

Good evening everyone, I am part of the student recruitment team at CPA Ontario. My area of focus is the GTA university region. Along with my colleagues Jane and Catherine, we look forward to interacting with you for the next hour and to answering your questions about the CPA program.

Catherine Millar, CPA Ontario:

Hi everyone, My name is Catherine and I work in student recruitment for CPA Ontario, specializing in the GTA college market. Excited to chat with you all!

Elias (TalentEgg):

Fantastic! Let’s kick things off with a question that was submitted by a student in advance:

Aaron, an Accounting student at St. Francis Xavier University, asks:

How long will it take to get a CPA designation with the new PEP program in place?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

The lengths of the CPA designation program depends on what point you come into the program at. The PEP program is designated to take about 2 years from start to finish. Remember it is part-time as the goal is to be working full-time.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Great! Let’s take another question:

Dave, an Accounting student from the Sauder School of Business at UBC, asks:

What is the difference between getting a designation with a company, and getting a designation with an accounting firm?

Daniel Booth, CPA Ontario:

You have the option in the CPA program to get work experience through a pre-approved program (over 800 approved training offices) or through the experience verification route, whereby you can try and find a job outside of the approved training offices at a company of your choice. You will have to work with your employer to satisfy the work experience competencies.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Fantastic, Daniel!

Sarah, a student at the Schulich School of Business at York University, asks:

What’s the best way for me to stay informed about accounting unification? I’ve been doing some research, but it’s easy to get confused!

Catherine Millar, CPA Ontario:

The best way to get more information about unification is to check out the goCPAontario.ca website. You can also follow us on facebook and instagram (@gocpaontario) for more information. Additionally, for those of you thinking of doing the CGA to CPA stream, you can also get more info at www.cga-ontario.org.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Remember, you can stay up to date with the latest resources on CPA’s TalentEgg profile! For example, you’ll find their calendar of upcoming events here: http://bit.ly/WOd9yu

Great discussion so far. If you’re just joining, welcome!

Derek:

What are the necessary skills for becoming an accountant? Do you need to be good at fast math?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

Thanks for your message, Derek. Successful accountants find that having strong communication, teamwork, leadership, analytical skills along with professional judgment will assist them in the working world. You have to have a strong understanding and be comfortable with accounting principles.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Want more insight into the CPA designation? Check out TalentEgg’s interview with Jane here: http://bit.ly/1qe9WVQ

Arek B.:

I’m considering achieving the CPA designation. Do you think you could tell me what some designation holders consider the biggest challenges of the designation’s process?

Daniel Booth, CPA Ontario:

Great question Arek! Some of the biggest challenges that CPA students have are with time management and effectively balancing your work and schooling. Remember: gaining work experience is part of getting your CPA designation.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Egg-citing! Let’s take another question that was submitted in advance.

Keith, an Accounting student at Waterloo, asks:

What has been the most interesting part of the accounting unification talks and process for you? Why?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

The most interesting part of the unification process has been getting the chance to work with new teams and learn from their processes and experiences.

Ariel:

Can someone with an unrelated background pursue a CPA designation (English, Sociology, etc) or is it better to pursue with a related degree?

Catherine Millar, CPA Ontario:

Hi Ariel, great question. Yes, you can still pursue the CPA designation with a background other than accounting or finance. You will just need to pick up the courses you may be missing in our PREP program prior to entering our PEP program. The only entry requirement into PREP is that you have a 3- or 4-year degree.

Kie:

What do you look for when evaluating practical experience for verification?

Daniel Booth, CPA Ontario:

Great question Kie! One of the exit requirements in the CPA program is to have 30 months of professional level work experience in an accounting or finance role. In addition to formal education and the Common Final Examination, the new CPA certification program requires CPA Students to complete a term of relevant practical experience. The knowledge and competencies gained through practical experience complement those developed through education. The standards for practical experience apply to qualification for entry to the profession only. Practical experience requirements for the practise of Public Accounting are recognized separately from practical experience requirements for membership. The specific regulations and bylaws of CPA Ontario reflect the requirements of the Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario. The Public Accountants Council has authorized CPA Ontario to license public accountants in accordance with the Public Accounting Act, 2004 and these requirements take precedence over these general requirements.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Egg-cellent, everyone! Let’s take a question about entrepreneurship.

R.G.:

I watched the interview with the MADE Clothing founder (Thomas Romita). I didn’t know the CPA was good prep for starting your own business, how do the skillsets align?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

Hi R.G – if you’re looking to start your own business, it’s important to have a financial background and understanding. Many executives have their CPA designation because of this, it provides the foundation along with giving you that credibility. You will also gain a large network of CPAs as there are 80,000 members in Ontario. Your network is your net worth!

Miri:

I completed my university education in Economics 3 years ago and am currently thinking of completing the CPA. Considering my age, is there a way to finish the PREP course faster? (My workplace gives me a very flexible schedule in order to study any financial certification.)

Catherine Millar, CPA Ontario:

Hi Miri, You can take multiple PREP courses at a time in order to fast track. The PREP course lengths range from 4 weeks to approximately 12 weeks. We offer 3 methods of study – online, in-class or self-study, so that you be flexible in how and when you learn.

Todd:

Are you able to repeat the CFE if you are not successful the first time?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

Yes, you will have 3 attempts to complete the common final exam.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Great discussion so far, TalentEgg-ers! There’s a lot to learn from the CPA Ontario team.

Bex is completing a Master’s degree in Economics at Trent University, and asks:

I am already enrolled in the CPA PREP program and have 1 module to complete, what is my next step after fulfilling the CPA PREP program?

Daniel Booth, CPA Ontario:

After completing the CPA PREP program students will then enter the Professional Education Program (PEP). After completing all 12 modules in the CPA’s PREP, you then will start with Core 1 & 2 in PEP and go from there.

Harinee:

Hello, I’m a second-year student at the University of Toronto Mississauga. I was wondering, what type of experience should I focus on obtaining in order to be prepared for obtaining my CPA after graduation?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

Hello Harinee! Could you clarify what type of experience you’re referring to? Work experience or education?

Harinee:

I’m referring to work and volunteer experience, Jane!

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

Ok, thank you for clarifying that, Harinee. You will want to gain any relevant experience to assist you in gaining full-time employment after graduation. If you can get involved in your on-campus student clubs such as the business or accounting clubs that would be helpful for you.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Needhi, a student at the University of Western Ontario’s DAN Management Program, asks:

Could you explain the difference in terms of process and/or qualification prerequisites between the CPA and CA legacy routes?

Catherine Millar, CPA Ontario:

Students interested in completing their CPA, CA dual designation (which follows the legacy CA 51 credit-hour pathway) must be enrolled by Feb 1st 2015 with an offer of employment from an ATO. You require a 70% average and you must pass all courses. The CPA pathway does not require you to have an offer of employment at an ATO. As Dan mentioned earlier, there are two options for gaining work experience- experience verification or pre approved program. You must have a 65% average of all required courses and 60 or above in each course.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Ok! I think this would be a great time for our poll!

What are you hoping to learn during today’s Office Hours with CPA Ontario?

  • How the CPA equips new professionals for success ( 31% )
  • What the requirements are for completing the CPA ( 15% )
  • How to manage the designation process ( 15% )
  • What career opportunities are open to CPA holders ( 38% )

Elias (TalentEgg):

Michael, an Economics student at the University of Toronto, asks:

How does the CPA set a designation holder up for career success? How does it position itself as superior to the earlier range of accounting designations that were available?

Daniel Booth, CPA Ontario:

The CPA designation is a required credential for any mid- to senior-level position and it is considered prestigious and a well-recognized designation in the field of accounting and finance. The CPA designation is also considered an international password in which you can take your career as a CPA anywhere in the world. The sky’s the limit when you have your CPA designation.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Well put, Daniel!

Sara:

Are we required to write the UFE after completing the PEP?

Catherine Millar, CPA Ontario:

Hi Sara, the new CPA program has a Common final exam (CFE). The UFE was a term used under the legacy CA designation. But yes, students will end the PEP program by writing the CFE. I hope that helps. :)

Mike:

Are the required courses set in stone? Or do I have to worry about taking courses later to qualify for the PEP program?

Daniel Booth, CPA Ontario:

Hi Mike, there are required courses that need to have been taken in accounting and finance to gain entry into the PEP program. In the event that you are missing any of those courses, you can take modules in PREP to gain entry into PEP. Check out the CPA website to see if your institutions courses are listed for exemptions.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Angad is a student of Administrative Studies at York University, and asks:

How do you apply to a CPA training office?

Jane Lalonde, CPA Ontario:

Any organizations that are registered as a CPA pre-approved program will post their own job postings usually in the fall (postings were put up on August 27) and again in January. Students can apply directly to these postings and it’s also encouraged that students attend on campus events where these jobs are being promoted so you can interact with representatives from those companies who are recruiting.

Elias (TalentEgg):

Fantastic, Jane!

That’s all the time we have for questions today. Thanks for participating in Office Hours! And of course, a big thank-you to the CPA Ontario team as well for answering all these questions! Do you have any final comments?

Catherine Millar, CPA Ontario:

On behalf of all of us, thank you for attending! We hope you have found this informative. Be sure to check out the CPA website for more information. If you would like to attend an info session, you can see the dates listed there as well. www.gocpaontario.ca

Elias (TalentEgg):

Egg-cellent! To learn more about CPA Ontario, check out their profile on TalentEgg and be sure to follow them on Twitter (@gocpaontario) for insider info.

Thanks again for joining us today, TalentEgg-ers! Keep your eyes on our Twitter and Facebook for upcoming Office Hours events!

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