The CGA: 5 Things HR/Recruitment Should Know

There are a number of reasons why this post will be incredibly helpful to you as either an HR professional, or accounting recruiter, who is in charge of communicating with, or hiring, finance and accounting professionals. Firstly, the need to establish credibility with the candidates you are interviewing is of paramount importance to the recruiting process itself. The candidate, ideally, would feel like you understand the needs and goals of his/her profession. Secondly, it enables you to determine if the additional skills and knowledge base that come with getting a Certified General Accountant (CGA) designation are a necessity for the position you are trying to fill. Finally, the post will outline how to determine if someone is, in fact, a CGA in good standing.

With 3 main designations in Canada – CGA, CMA and CA, it can be overwhelming to stay on top of what each designation demands of its

candidates. To that point, we interviewed Sean Anklesaria CGA, Business Development Manager for the Certified General Accountants of Ontario (CGA Ontario), and captured all the high level information you need to know about the admission and designation requirements to become a CGA.

With 3 main designations in Canada – CGA, CMA and CA, it can be overwhelming to stay on top of what each designation demands of its

candidates.

1) Let’s start with a basic first question – What are the qualifications to get into the program?
Sean Anklesaria: There are no entry requirements to enter the CGA program, however, in order to determine which exemptions a person can qualify for and what level they begin the program at, a person must complete an Application for Transfer Credit. To complete an Application for Transfer Credit, a person needs to submit:

  • A completed transfer credit evaluation form found here.
  • Notarized copies of original transcripts from ALL previous post-secondary institutions attended or original, sealed transcripts
  • A current resume

2) My understanding is that the program is offered on-line. What is the rationale for that?
Sean Anklesaria: There are two reasons as to why the program is offered on line. Firstly, it allows access to the program 24/7. The candidate can then work on course content and assignments on his/her own time. This is important for the second reason, which is that candidates are actually expected to work while they take the courses on a part-time basis in order to satisfy the examination and experience requirements at the same time (see below). It’s definitely demanding.

This is important…candidates are actually expected to work while they take the courses on a part-time basis in order to satisfy the examination and experience requirements at the same time…

3) When a person finishes the CGA program, what specific requirements has he/she met?
Sean Anklesaria: There are three different exit requirements that have to be met in order to become a CGA.

  1. Education – Students must have a university degree (if an international degree, must be deemed equivalent to a Canadian degree by CGA Ontario through our evaluation process). If a person does not have a university degree upon being granted entrance into the program, he/she can attain one with our partnership with Laurentian University (www.cga.laurentian.ca). There are three levels to the program – Foundation, Advanced and Certification.
  2. Examination – Must complete all 19 courses and 2 case studies in our program (or be exempted from the courses based on previous post-secondary education. This will be determined through the transfer credit evaluation process). See this link for an outline of the CGA program (http://www.cga-ontario.org/Prospective_Students/Becoming_a_CGA/Program_At_A_Glance.aspx)
  3. Experience – Must have a minimum of 24 months of “professional level” accounting or financial management work experience accomplished through our PERC (Professional Experience Required for Certification) process. A maximum of 12 months of international experience will be accepted. This is why it is ideal if the candidate is working while he/she is taking the program. As an individual progresses through the levels of the CGA program, he/she should be progressing up the ranks of their organization, so that by the time he/she has entered the Accreditation Level (final level), they will also be getting professional level experience from their workplace. See this link for a description of the work experience requirement and a list of FAQ’s.

4) I know your terminology can be quite precise. Can you give me an example of that?
Sean Anklesaria:  Absolutely, for example, we do not use the term “graduated”, but rather ‘admitted into membership.’  I want to emphasize that. When a candidate achieves all of the above he/she is admitted to the CGA Ontario membership as the word graduated would mean that a person moves on.  In contrast, someone who is admitted to the CGA membership has made a career long commitment to learning.

In contrast, someone who is admitted to the CGA membership has made a career long commitment to learning.

5) How can you tell if someone is truly a CGA?
Sean Anklesaria: Each CGA in good standing is provided with a card identifying them as a member in good standing for a particular membership year.

Any person can call our office, provide a first and last name, and receive confirmation of membership (no other information will be provided due to privacy).

With the time sensitive challenges facing HR professionals and accounting recruiters today, posts such as the one above, are designed to save you time and give you the background necessary to communicate knowledgeably with potential hires. The goal is to offer a resource that assists you in determining if a CGA is a fit for the role you want to fill. Ultimately, this can help you do your job more efficiently and advance the goals of whatever organization you work for.