Q:  What is ACAF?
A:  ACAF is an online education program developed by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and offered through select post-secondary institutions for those aspiring to careers in accounting and finance, but not as qualified CPAs. The program has been designed to meet the needs of employers in all sectors of the Canadian economy. Students will learn to apply the technical accounting and software skills that employers value in this competitive job market.

Q:  What will I get when I finish the program?
A:  You will receive a certificate from CPA Canada on successful completion of the program. Earning the ACAF proves to employers that you have the applied technical and soft skills that make you a valuable asset in the workplace. The CPA profession is committed to promoting the certificate program with employers.

Q:  What is the difference between ACAF and CPA Preparatory Courses?
A:  The ACAF is an online education program created for students looking for intermediate careers in accounting and finance. It builds on the knowledge generally gained through a two-year college diploma program. You gain the applied technical and soft skills valued in today’s marketplace. Developed in consultation with employers from all sectors of the Canadian economy, the ACAF is the only nationally-recognized intermediate accounting and finance certificate in Canada.

CPA preparatory courses do not constitute a program and do not lead to a certificate or credential. They are a suite of courses offered by the CPA profession which you may take to meet the ACAF entry and technical course requirements or to meet the prerequisite course requirements for entry to CPA PEP. You may also take these courses from post-secondary institutions. ACAF’s applied courses are available through select PSIs across Canada.

Q:  What is the difference between the ACAF and the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation?
A:  CPA is Canada’s preeminent, globally recognized professional business and accounting credential that best protects and serves the public interest. The designation is regulated by provincial bodies which operate under the CPA Act to: protect the public; protect the integrity of the accounting profession; promote and increase the competence of registrants; and regulate the conduct of registrants. CPAs are held to high standards of professional conduct and competence.

ACAF is a non-regulated accreditation granted by the CPA profession. It is a separate education program designed for people seeking careers (or currently working) in intermediate level positions. ACAF has its own admission and assessment standards.

Q:  Can I use my ACAF courses towards becoming a CPA?
A:  To become a designated CPA, you must be admitted as a member of a CPA provincial body. This requires:

  • Completing the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP)
  • Passing the Common Final Examination (CFE)
  • Completing a minimum of 30 months of appropriately supervised and mentored practical experience

Entry requirements to the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) include successful completion of 14 prerequisite courses and a 120 credit hour (4-year) undergraduate degree (or equivalent) from a recognized post-secondary institution.

Q:  What are the entrance requirements?
A:  Prior to enrolling in any technical courses, it is recommended you successfully complete Introductory Financial Accounting, Introductory Management Accounting, Intermediate Financial Reporting I, Intermediate Financial Reporting II, and Business Law. These courses are required prerequisites for specific technical and applied courses.

You can meet the entry course requirements through select post-secondary institutions or CPA preparatory courses.

Q:  I have not completed a college diploma in accounting. Am I still eligible?
A:  Yes. There is no specific requirement to hold a college diploma to begin the ACAF program. You can meet the entry course requirements through select post-secondary institutions or CPA preparatory courses.

Q:  How long does it take to complete ACAF?
A:  The program can be completed within two to three years of part-time study, or sooner, depending on credits already earned.

Q:  Can I use the CPA designation after my name when I complete the ACAF program?
A:  No. The only way to become a designated CPA is to be admitted as a member of a designated CPA provincial body. This involves completing the CPA Professional Education Program, passing the Common Final Examination, and completing 30 months of appropriately supervised and mentored practical experience.

Q:  Is it possible to get an exemption from any part of the program?
A:  Yes. You may be exempt from individual technical courses if you have passed accredited academic equivalents with a minimum grade of 60%. There are no exemptions from the applied courses, with the exception of Accounting Software Application.

Q:  Can I take the ACAF if I am an internationally trained accountant?
A:  Yes. As an internationally-trained accountant, you may find the ACAF provides a helpful intermediate step in establishing an accounting career in Canada by providing a Canadian credential that recognizes international education and experience. You may be exempted from individual technical courses, of which there are six, if you have passed academic equivalents and meet our minimum grade requirement. You can complete the ACAF program online before arriving in Canada; the course examinations, however, must be taken in person and will be offered in certain locations within the Americas, the Caribbean, and Asian-Pacific markets.

Please note, there is no requirement to move to Canada to complete (or upon completion of) the ACAF program. The ACAF program gives you the right balance of technical and applied skills to help you succeed, no matter where you are based. Earn the job-ready skills employers around the world value within the intermediate level accounting and finance functions of their businesses.

Individuals living outside of Canada should email internationalinquiries@cpacanada.ca for more information on the ACAF and to check program availability in your country of residence.