Top Accounting Designations in Canada

In the world of finance and accounting, obtaining a recognized professional designation can be a significant milestone for professionals in Canada. These accounting designations signify expertise, commitment to ethical standards, and a high level of competence.

This blog, we have shared information regarding various accounting designations in Canada, including the difference between the Certified General Accountant (CGA) and the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), as well as the evolution of these designations.

Accounting Designations in Canada: Understanding the Path to Professional Excellence

1. Chartered Accountant (CA):

The CA designation was the most prestigious accounting designation in Canada until 2013 when the profession integrated to become the CPA designation. CAs were recognized for their expertise in audit, tax, and financial reporting.

2. Certified General Accountant (CGA):

The CGA designation was known for its focus on management accounting and strategic business planning. CGAs excelled in areas such as cost accounting, financial management, and budgeting.

3. Certified Management Accountant (CMA):

CMAs specialized in management accounting, focusing on financial planning, budgeting, and performance management. They played a crucial role in strategic decision-making within organizations.

4. Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA):

The CPA designation, established in 2013, unified the accounting profession in Canada. It brings together the best attributes of the CA, CGA, and CMA designations, creating a single, globally recognized accounting designation. CPAs possess expertise in areas such as assurance, tax planning, financial reporting, and management accounting.

5. Certified Payroll Professional (CPP):

Certified payroll professionals (administrator) are the one who manage the payroll services within an organization. Collecting employee payroll information, which may involve gathering time sheets and production numbers to ensure accurate compensation calculations.

Is CGA the Same as CPA?

No, CGA is not the same as CPA. The CGA designation became one of the legacy designations that were integrated into CPA following the unification process in 2013. This integration aimed to create a stronger and more unified accounting profession in Canada.

When Did CGA Become CPA?

The integration of the CGA designation into CPA took place in 2013. Various regulatory bodies, including the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada), and others, worked together to merge the accounting designations.

Also read: Preparing Your Corporate Tax Returns

Difference Between CPA and Other Designations:

The CPA designation offers a broader focus and a more comprehensive skill set, encompassing the areas covered by the CA, CGA, and CMA designations. They are capable of managing wide ranges of accounting services, including financial reporting, auditing, taxation, management accounting, and more.

The integration into a single designation has eliminated fragmentation within the accounting profession, fostering collaboration and ensuring a consistent set of professional standards across the board.

Full Form of Accounting Designations:

  • CA: Chartered Accountant
  • CGA: Certified General Accountant
  • CMA: Certified Management Accountant
  • CPA: Chartered Professional Accountant


Understanding the diverse accounting designations in Canada is vital for professionals seeking to advance their careers in the field of finance and accounting.

The integration of the CGA designation into CPA has created a unified profession with a broader scope of expertise and enhanced professional standards.

Whether you aspire to become a CPA or pursue a legacy designation, these designations signify a commitment to professionalism, ethics, and excellence within the accounting profession in Canada.

Accountant Salary Canada

According to the information available, the salary of an accountant in Ontario, Canada can vary depending on various factors such as experience, qualifications, and the specific industry they work in.

Based on the 2021 Member Compensation study by CPA Canada, individuals holding the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation in Canada had a median compensation of $124,000 and an average of $173,000[1](#user-content-fn-2). However, it is important to note that this data is not specific to Ontario.

Also read: Where can I find accountants that specialize in small businesses?

How much does an accountant make in Ontario

To get a more accurate estimate, it is recommended to refer to more specific sources. Websites like Indeed and Glassdoor provide salary information based on user-submitted data. As of my search, the average base salary for accountants in Canada was around $58,000 to $78,000 per year.

Remember that these figures are average estimates and individual salaries may vary depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, and the specific employer.

Please consider these figures as a general guideline and make sure to consult up-to-date and reliable sources for the most accurate and specific salary information.

Important Link to follow

  1. Chartered Professional Accountants Ontario (CPA Ontario):
  2. Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) – History:
  3. Canadian Accountant – CGA and CPA provincial bodies approve designation unification:
  4. Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) – CMA Merges with CGA Canada and CA-IFA to Create a New Professional Accounting Designation:

Back to top button