- Accounting in Canada
- Before You Come to Canada
- Becoming a Certified Management Accountant in Canada
- Finding a Job in Canada
- Provincial and Territorial Regulators
- Additional Resources
Canada has three accounting designations, each with its own education, examination and experience requirements: Certified Management Accountant (CMA); Chartered Accountant (CA); and Certified General Accountant (CGA). Review the requirements for each designation to determine which will be the best match for your qualifications. It is possible to work in the field of accounting without a designation, but a designation can bring career advantages. As well, some employers and certain types of accounting work require one.
CMAs provide a balance of three essential and interdependent business disciplines: accounting, management and strategy. Working in organizations of all sizes and types, CMAs have unique competencies in cost management, strategic performance measurement, process management, risk management and assurance services, and stakeholder reporting. CMAs also have the ability to connect strategy with operations and anticipate customer and supplier needs.
While you are waiting to go to Canada, there are many important things you can do to improve your chances of success.
The FCRO has helpful resources such as the Planning to Work in Canada? workbook and the Working in Canada Tool. Use these resources to find and collect important information and to develop your job-search plan.
You might need to prove your language skills in English or French or be tested. If you need to improve your language skills, start before you come to Canada.
Your official education, work and identity documents are important. It is much easier for you to gather and organize your documents while still in your home country. At a minimum, you will need to arrange for official copies of your university transcripts, work references and a letter of good standing from your professional accounting body.
If your documents are not in French or English, verify the translation requirements set out by the provincial or territorial regulator. In most cases, your translations will have to be certified. You may have to use a professional translation service in Canada.
Some of the provincial or territorial regulators will allow you to start, and even complete, the assessment process of your foreign qualifications before you move to Canada. Research the assessment requirements and understand all deadlines and fees associated with the applicable province or territory.
CMA Canada actively works on issues of recognition and mobility.
Mutual Recognition Agreements currently exist for the following foreign designations: Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), both in the United Kingdom, and CPA Australia.
Professional Advanced Standing opportunities are available for the following foreign designations: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA); Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); and the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP). Candidates who have completed the applicable qualification process for these accounting bodies and who have a university degree will be granted an exemption from the CMA Canada entrance examination, but will be required to complete the Strategic Leadership Program™ to obtain their CMA designation.
Foreign-accredited professionals with university degrees and other foreign university degree holders may be eligible for advanced standing in individual CMA Prerequisite Study topics based on the specific courses they have successfully completed. Advanced standing candidates must successfully complete the CMA Strategic Leadership Program.
The first step is to have your university degree and foreign accounting designation evaluated by the provincial or territorial regulator. Determine if the regulator will conduct the assessment, or if you will be required to use a specific credential assessment service. Be sure to clarify which documents are required and how you should arrange for them to be sent to the regulator or assessment service. In many cases, you will be required to have your university send official transcripts and course descriptions directly on your behalf, along with certified translations. The regulator will require that you have courses in specific topics in management and accounting that are considered equivalent to those taken by students in that province or territory. The regulator will advise you of any credits for past education or training and will also provide instructions on meeting the remaining requirements before being admitted to the CMA national entrance examination.
CMA Entrance Examination
The entrance examination is a comprehensive test of accounting knowledge gained through university studies. The test focuses on management accounting, corporate finance, financial accounting and taxation, and international reporting standards. A smaller portion of the examination (approximately 15 percent) will be devoted to the remaining CMA competencies.
The entrance examination is held twice a year, in mid-June and mid-October. It is four hours in duration and is comprised of 100 to 120 individual multiple choice questions. The examination is available in both English and French. A pass mark of 60 percent must be obtained to be eligible to enter the Strategic Leadership Program. Be sure to investigate the examination preparation materials, including sample tests that may be available from the provincial or territorial regulator.
Work Experience and Strategic Leadership Program
Each provincial or territorial regulator will require you to obtain relevant work experience in accounting. In most cases, this will take two years. However, previous work experience may reduce this requirement. You are also required to participate in the Strategic Leadership Program while you are gaining your work experience. The Program consists of seminars and assignments on strategic management and strategic accounting, and it also takes approximately two years to complete. During these two years, you will study with other candidates while completing your assignments. You will also be required to complete two major components of the program: the CMA Case Examination—a four-hour comprehensive examination—and the CMA Board Report, a complex business case which you and your fellow students complete together over four months.
The CMA Canada’s Employment Connection site is designed to help employers solve staffing needs and assist members seeking new career opportunities. Located on the CMA Canada website, it allows you to apply for jobs and make your résumé available to prospective employers. The provincial or territorial regulators also have employment and volunteer resources listed on their websites.
You may be eligible for a bridging program. Bridging programs ease the transition from your international training and experience to the Canadian workplace. Do some research to learn which accounting firms, companies or immigrant-serving organizations have bridging programs.
The Government of Canada also posts jobs on behalf of employers.
- CMA British Columbia
- CMA Alberta
- CMA Saskatchewan
- CMA Manitoba
- CMA Ontario
- Ordre des comptables en management accrédités du Québec
- CMA New Brunswick
- CMA Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Bermuda
- CMA Newfoundland and Labrador
- CMA Yukon
- CMA Northwest Territories and Nunavut