The Canadian CPA designation is one of the more demanding designations out there. Having completed your course work throughout university, you’ll be required to complete a series of challenging modules throughout the year that culminate with the CFE exam – an intense 13 hour exam spanning over 3 days. Oh, and all the while keeping customers happy since many CPA students work with public accounting firms throughout their 30 month practical experience requirement.

As with most professionals, many budding CPAs hone their skills during their on-the-job experience. It’s this experience that moves beyond the theoretical and builds practical skills – skills that many companies rely on to drive their organizations. For this reason, the nature of those 30 months of practical experience is taken quite seriously.

CPA Pre-approved Programs are programs offered by employers, which have been approved by the public accounting regulatory body (in Ontario, that’s CPA Ontario) that allow CPA students to satisfy all of the practical experience requirements within the required minimum term of practical experience. It’s basically a stamp of approval that says that the complexity and diversity of the work as well as the professional environment of the firm, is up to the high standards required to help students develop their skills and become a successful CPA.

Traditionally, Canadian Pre-approved Programs have been brick and mortar offices. However, this past week, we became the first virtual firm to be officially granted Pre-approved Program status. While this news may not knock your socks off (it did for us), it does in fact represent a fairly significant advance for the CPA profession in Canada. For us, it’s a sign that the profession is changing – that is it accepting of new business models and that it recognizes the need to adapt in what is today a rapidly changing world.

As more accounting firms begin to embrace technology, adapt different pricing methods that focus on the customer and create meaningful work environments – we look forward to seeing what a positive effect it will have on the profession as a whole.