Accounting Designations

Accounting Designations

In the world of accounting there are several designations. To make the best decision about what type of accounting services you need, be it tax planning, bookkeeping, estate planning or someone to handle your audit, you should understand the different designations and the roles they play.


Here are four (not inclusive) accounting designations recognized in Canada:

CA “Chartered Accountant”

As the oldest of the three national accounting bodies recognized by CICA, Chartered Accountants require and undergraduate degree in accounting plus three years of training in a designated accounting firm. Certification as a Chartered Accountant is only received after the Uniform Final Evaluation exam has been completed successfully. The four key areas for a CA are Public Practice, Industry, Government and Education.

CMA “Certified Management Accountant”

This designation in management accounting is achieved with an undergraduate degree that must be related in discipline, such as a Bachelor of Commerce, the CMA Accountant Exam (2 parts), as well as, 2 continuous years of professional experience practicing the principles of management accounting and financial management. A provincial designation, a CMA applies their expertise in management and strategy, financial planning, analysis and control.

CGA “Certified General Accountant”

A CGA certification comparable to a CMA in qualification; however, the curriculum is slight different and the exam takes place over several. Some would say that the CGA designation is the easier of the two to obtain, but no less recognized or valuable.

CPA “Chartered Professional Accountant”

In 2012 as a collaborative agreement, over 40 provincial and national accounting associations agreed to merge the above 3 designations, to eliminate confusion and provide simplicity to the accounting designation. This was the inception of what we now know as a CPA “Chartered Professional Accountant”. Regardless of their designation, accounting professionals like Naicker CPA in (Burnaby) Port Moody, work in a variety of fields, including auditors, taxation specialists, Estate planning, and/or general accounting services, as well as, consulting to businesses.

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