Frequently Asked Questions Page accounting degree by benbenzhou


									                                        Frequently Asked
                                        Page 1

Q: What is a Chartered Accountant?
A: Chartered Accountants, or CAs, are business professionals who work in various environments and various roles,
but typically at a senior-level of financial and business management. CAs generally work in one of three sectors:
public accounting—working in a firm providing services to clients; industry—working in a business corporation or
small company; or the public sector. Across Canada more than 50% of CAs work in industry—and the majority of
those CAs are working in senior or executive positions.

Q: Where do CAs article?
A: Traditionally, CAs have gained their work experience in public practice firms. The profession has recently
augmented the environments available to students for articling, recognizing that many students want to start
their corporate careers at the articling stage. This has allowed the CA profession to expand the opportunities for
training within a public practice firm. There are advantages to both approaches—namely training in public practice
and training in a company setting. The important thing to keep in mind, is that CA training has always been and will
always be of the highest rigour, to prepare each student for a career with limitless opportunities. See the Practical
Experience Requirements FAQs for additional information.

Q: What is different about work CAs do in accounting firms compared to Industry?
A: Typically, CAs in accounting firms provide business advisory and accounting services to a variety of clients,
ranging in scope from large corporations to small businesses and entrepreneurs. These CAs provide services in
areas such as tax, audit, financial planning, management advisory, information technology, business valuation,
receivership, insolvency, and forensic investigation. CAs can be specialized in a certain area of service, as tax
specialists for example, or they can work generally in many areas to meet client needs.

CAs who work in companies mainly work at senior levels. Chief Financial Officers are often CAs. They evaluate
their companies’ financial and administrative policies, analyze information, and develop strategies to take the
companies to the next level of success. CAs work in all sectors of the marketplace—from professional sports teams
to airlines, from construction companies to art foundations, from management consulting firms to law firms. Many
are entrepreneurs, owning the company they manage.

Q: What about CAs in the public sector?
A: CAs are also prevalent in the public sector—both in government and education. In government they can be
elected officials or senior bureaucrats. In federal and provincial departments, CAs can be tax auditors, budget
and policy planners, and financial analysts. All orders of government require accounting expertise to guide
departmental planning and maintain fiscal control. Speaking of fiscal control, Canada’s and Alberta’s highest fiscal
administrators—the Auditors General—are CAs.

Q. What will the CA designation prepare me for?
A: The CA designation is recognized widely as the pre-eminent accounting designation. Your CA designation
makes a statement about you and your capabilities in the business world. Being a CA means you are equipped to
take on any business challenge that comes your way.

                                        Frequently Asked
                                        Page 2
Q. How do I become a CA?
A: Becoming a Chartered Accountant is an excellent career choice that requires specific steps in order to gain your
1. The first step is completing a baccalaureate degree from a university or college recognized by CASB. There are also a number
     of required business and accounting courses that you must complete. Earning a Business, Management or Commerce
     baccalaureate degree with an accounting major usually allows a student to complete both the degree requirement and the
     pre-requisite courses at the same time, making this your fastest route to earning a CA designation.
2.   Once you have graduated, the next step is to secure employment with a CA Approved Training Office (CATO). You need
     to complete 30 months of practical experience as a CA student while also working through the online module component
     of the Chartered Accountant School of Business (CASB).
3.   The last step is writing the National Uniform Evaluation (UFE). CASB students are well-prepared for the UFE. For the past
     three years, the first-time pass-rate for CASB averaged 90 per cent across Canada.

Q: What is the Chartered Accountants School of Business (CASB)?
A: The CA School of Business (CASB) provides the pre-professional program of study for all CA students in B.C., Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Territories. The CASB program is an innovative, competency-based approach to learning
which combines online modules, face-to-face sessions and practical experience. You pursue graduate-level education and
paid-work-experience simultaneously, in a flexible environment. This combination of education and practical experience
ensure you develop a broad range of knowledge, skills and abilities, along with the highest standards of ethics demanded by
the profession. Visit the CASB website at for more specific information on the CASB program.

Q: Is the CA designation recognized Canada-wide? Internationally?
A: A CA in one Canadian province is a CA in any other province. In fact, reciprocity and easy mobility within Canada are
cornerstones of the profession. CAs are also recognized worldwide, and have formal recognition with many international
accounting bodies.

Q: What is the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta?
A: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta (ICAA) is the self-governing body which regulates more than 11,500
Alberta CAs and CA students. The ICAA protects the public by setting the most rigorous qualification criteria, and establishing
and enforcing the highest professional, ethical and practical standards. ICAA works in partnership with other provincial
institutes and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) to support national standards and programs.

Q: What is the CA Associate Student program?
A: The CA Associate Student Program is a way for you to stay in touch with the profession, and gain valuable insights
into the CA world, while signaling to potential employers your interest and commitment to a CA career. Associates receive
a subscription to the student publication Spotlight U, early notice of CA events on campus, special contests, prizes,
and events, as well, members stay connected with other students interested in the CA designation. To sign-up, go to and click on the ‘news’ link.

Q: Where can I get more information on becoming a CA?
A: There are a number of resources online that will help. You can go to for more information on becoming a
CA, or for more specific information on the CA School of Business go to Also, visit the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Alberta website at

CAs play key roles within diverse segments of the economy, including public accounting, business, not-for-profit organizations,
and government. Recognized internationally, the CA designation denotes superior financial expertise, strategic thinking,
business insight and leadership.

                                          CASB Frequently
                                          Asked Questions
                                          Page 1

Q: What is required for me to enroll in the CA School of Business (CASB)?
A: To register for CASB, you must obtain an approved undergraduate degree (the degree can be from any faculty)
and complete 12 business and accounting pre-requisite courses. You need to be employed with a CA Approved
Training Office (CATO), as experience is an integral part of getting your CA designation. A list of CATOs approved
to train CA students is available at

Q: How long does it take to become a CA?
A: Generally, it will take three years of work experience following a degree to become a CA. While you’re completing
this work experience, you will also take the six modules that comprise the CASB educational program. You will
have an option of taking the modules continuously—so you’ll be taking courses for approximately 18 months—or
spreading the courses out a bit more to fit your schedule.

Q: When do I have to get my transcripts in?
A: Your transcripts must be included with the registration form when you register as a student with CASB.
Transcripts must arrive at the CASB Registration Centre directly from the forwarding educational institution. You
must request transcripts from you educational institution; all university pre-requisites must be completed before
you can begin Module 1

Q: When am I eligible to start Module 1?
A: You are eligible to start Module 1 when you have acquired a bachelor’s degree as well as all of the pre-requisite
courses. You do not require employment with a CATO to take Module 1, but you must have an offer of employment
before you start Module 2 and have commenced employment before you start Module 3.

Q: What are the university pre-requisites?
A: There are 12 pre-requisites in general business, assurance, finance, IT, performance measurement, and taxation.
The list of pre-requisites for Alberta universities is available at

Q: Do all of the pre-requisites have to be completed before I can start Module 1?
A: Yes, all of the pre-requisites must be completed prior to the commencement of Module 1. If you are finishing a
pre-requisite just before the start of Module 1, your registration in the Module will be subject to receiving the official
transcript for this pre-requisite.

Q: Is there a GPA requirement for CASB?
A: A 65% overall average in the 12 pre-requisites is required. The GPA of your bachelor degree is not considered
when you register.

Q: How does CASB work if I am a Co-op student?
A: Students in a Co-op degree program recognized by CASB will follow a sequence of work and study terms
approved by their university, CASB and their employer. This sequence is likely to be unique to each university,
depending upon the timing of entry into Co-op, number of pre-requisites completed at point of entry, and number
of terms until degree is earned. Co-op students are eligible to begin taking CASB modules during their work
terms provided that intermediate Financial Accounting 1 and 2, and Tax (both personal and corporate) have been
completed prior to the start of Module 1.

                                        CASB Frequently
                                        Asked Questions
                                        Page 2

Q: How much time will I spend on the modules?
A: The modules have been designed to require on average between 12 and 15 hours per week of individual online
study. Each module will involve 8 weeks of individual facilitated online learning as well as a three-day face-to-face
interactive session.

Q: What happens if I do not achieve competency in a module?
A: If a student is not competent in any module, he or she is required to retake it in its entirety. All modules
(except Module 6) are offered at least three times a year. Check the Module Schedule on the CASB website
( to determine the next available offering of any specific module.

Q: How many times can I attempt a module?
A: Since the CASB program involves a continuous evaluation approach to learning, with regular feedback provided
on a unit by unit basis, students will be granted only three attempts to achieve competency in any module before
being de-registered from the program.

Q: How much flexibility do I have in determining when I take a particular module?
A: Because competency development is a building process, all modules must be taken in sequence. Students are
free to determine when to schedule specific subject to the consent of their employer. In planning their schedules,
students should consider their office’s “busy season” and their own important personal events.

Q: What is the interactive face-to-face session?
A: The face-to-face sessions involve the development and evaluation of many of the “pervasive qualities” set
out in the CA Competency Map, such as presentations and group work. The core knowledge covered in each
module will be checked by basic multiple-choice questions administered at the session. While at the session,
students will broaden and deepen their understanding of what they learned in the module using both individual
and group exercises and discussion. The session will also include a case simulation that will tie together many of
the competencies covered in the module.

Q: Where will the interactive workshops be held?
A: The interactive face-to-face sessions have been scheduled at least once a year for each module in Calgary,
Edmonton, and Lethbridge. Considerable flexibility in scheduling of modules has been provided, but this may mean
that the interactive face-to-face session for a module will not be available in each of the above locations for each
scheduled term. Locations will be determined by enrollments and student will be contacted to confirm face-to-face

Q: What is the National Uniform Evaluation (UFE)?
A: The UFE is the evaluation that all individuals wishing to become CAs in Canada must successfully complete
in order to earn their designation. It is a comprehensive, three-day, competency-based exam that challenges
candidates to demonstrate they have the skills necessary to be a competent professional.


To top