As of July 1, 2013 I am now a CPA! Let me explain if I can:
The country of Canada has a new designation called CPA which stands for Chartered Professional Accountant. There is a movement to unite all the existing professional accounting bodies into one. The current designations are:
1) Chartered Accountant or C.A. – This is me up until July 1, 2013. I am not allowed by my Ontario Institute to continue to use this designation on its own.
2) Certified Management Accountant or C.M.A.
3) Certified General Accountant or C.G.A.
A lot of the C.A.’s and a few of the C.G.A.’s can also be Licensed Public Accountants – This allows you to prepare financial statements for the public. (Well technically the pizza place could include preparing your financial statements in with a pizza order, but he would just need to not mislead you by saying he was licensed.)
There is also a subset of C.A.’s called F.C.A.’s – or Fellow C.A. (If you do great things for your profession you get this recognition.)
Ok, back to CPA Canada. This is a national organization, and each professional body has a provincial institute. In my province, Ontario, the C.A.’s and C.M.A. have agreed to unification, but the C.G.A,’s have not.
What about the “C.A.” brand? Well no problem, CPA Canada is going to run a branding campaign to quickly educate the market about the wonders of the new CPA’s. I suppose that would involve reversing the brand of C.A. that has been built up over a hundred years to be different than CMA or CGA brands . Maybe the slogan will be:
“C.A. used to be different, now it’s the same. Together we are now different, even though some of us are the one’s we were different from before.”
Now in the U.S. there is a designation called “CPA”. These may seem like it’s similar to “CPA” but it is much different. The U.S. CPA is “Certified Public Accountant”.
If I was a U.S. CPA in Ontario, I would simply put my state after the letters CPA and everyone will understand. Like Paul Foster CPA, CA, CPA (Pennsylvania).
Just one problem. If I go to the U.S. to do business as a business advisor, my Ontario Institute (the ICAO) does not allow me to put (Ontario) after the CPA.
Therefore to the U.S., marketplace, Paul Foster CPA, CA might be confused to mean I am a U.S. Certified Public Accountant.
Maybe I could ask the people doing the new branding campaign to change the message a bit?
“C.A. used to be different, now it’s the same. Together we are now different, even though some of us are the ones we were different from before, except that we are not the US CPA – that’s a totally different thing that just looks identical”
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