Certified General Accountant

According to "CGA-Canada Recommends Move to International Accounting Standards" (1999), the Certified General Accountants Society of Canada (CGA-Canada) is the issuing agency for the certified general accountant credential to those professionals who have completed a specified course of study and a two-year work experience program. "Certified general accountants are permitted to do audits in some of the Canadian provinces, following auditing standards as set forth in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Handbook" (1999, p. 9).

The certified general accountant credentials are intended to demonstrate a certain level of accounting expertise and require adherence to a code of professional conduct. Individuals who are pursuing the CGA credential are very frequently doing so through distance learning. The Society reports that it has 60,500 CGAs and students as members. There are other also CGA associations in Bermuda, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, and China. CGA-Canada issued a white paper in 1999, "The Case for International Accounting Standards in Canada," in which it recommended that Canada cease developing its own accounting standards in favor of adopting those established by the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC).

The first step to accomplish this would be to create an independent Canadian standards setter in the pattern of the United Kingdom and others, which would include representatives from the various constituencies involved in the financial reporting process. Canadian standards are presently established by the Accounting Standards Board (AcSB).

Eight of the 13 members of AcSB are currently appointed by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) which, according to CGA-Canada, also provides most of its financial support. Tiffs, in the view of CGA-Canada, gives it de facto control over the board. The white paper discussed the possibility of Canada adopting U.S. accounting standards, but concludes that the better way to go is to adopt IASC standards. An independent standards setting board would still be required for Canada, though, according to the white paper, to maintain a domestic focus where special occasions or local conditions dictate.