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Get To Know About the Canadian Chartered Accountants

Chartered Accountants play a pivotal role in all fields of business and finance. Some of them are engaged in public practice work whereas others work in the private sectors. There are Chartered Accountants employed by government bodies. In 1854, they were the first accountants to form a professional body in Britain.

Chartered Accountants Institutes need to take on a minimum level of continuing professional development to have a competitive edge over the peers. They aid special interest groups - lead academic and professional thinking in accountancy. These accountants give support to members by offering advisory services, technical help lines and technical libraries. They also provide opportunities for professional networking and business development.

In Canada, Chartered Accountants must be members of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). However, it is not possible to join the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants directly. CICA membership must be held along with membership of at least one CA institute of a Canadian province or territory.

Provincial governments regulate the auditing rights. In British Columbia, the Business Corporations Act allows only Canadian Chartered Accountants, Certified General Accountants, or anyone who has been granted an accounting license by the provincial regulatory body to audit public companies. In Prince Edward Island, as per the Public Accounting and Auditing Act, only qualified Chartered Accountants and Certified General Accountants can perform public accounting and auditing. In other provinces of Canada, except Quebec and Ontario, only qualified Canadian Chartered Accountants, Certified General Accountants and Certified Management Accountants may audit public companies.

Historically, Quebec and Ontario only allowed Chartered Accountants (CA) to audit public companies. Certified General Accountants (CGA) and Certified Management Accountants (CMA) could audit only a chosen list of public bodies in Quebec. In 2004, the Ontario government passed legislation that would allow CAs, CGAs and CMAs to practice public accounting under a reconstituted Public Accountants Council. In August 2005, a report was issued by the Agreement of Internal Trade (AIT) panel to change its legislation by opening public auditing to qualified accountants who are not CAs. In 2009, regulations were passed in Quebec to grant statutory auditing rights to qualified CAs, CGAs and CMAs.

Across Canada, the size of the accounting bodies varies. In Ontario and Quebec, CA is larger than CGA or CMA whereas in Manitoba and British Columbia, CGA is the largest accounting body. The Canadian Chartered Accountant is an accounting designation that can be transferred to an American CPA by a reciprocity exam.