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Key concepts
Accountant · Bookkeeping · Trial balance · General ledger · Debits and credits · Cost of goods sold · Double-entry system · Standard practices · Cash and accrual basis · GAAP / IFRS
Financial statements
Balance sheet · Income statement · Cash flow statement · Equity · Retained earnings
Financial audit · GAAS · Internal audit · Sarbanes–Oxley Act · Big Four auditors
Fields of accounting
Cost · Financial · Forensic · Fund · Management · Tax

Certified General Accountant (CGA) is the designation of professionals who are jointly members of the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) and a provincial or territorial CGA association, or a CGA association overseas. Provincial, territorial and offshore CGA affiliate associations work collaboratively with CGA-Canada as a federation.

A CGA is an accounting professional with expertise in finance, taxation, business strategy, auditing, management and business leadership. CGAs must meet the education, experience and examination requirements established, and regularly enhanced, by CGA-Canada.

CGA-Canada had 45,500 members and 25,500 students in 2008, making it the fastest growing and second largest professional accounting designation in Canada. The CGA program of professional studies is offered in Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and mainland China.

CGAs work throughout the world in industry, commerce, finance, government, public practice and the not-for-profit sector.



The national association, first known as the Canadian Accountants' Association, was founded in 1908 by a trio of Canadian Pacific Railway accountants in Montreal, Quebec. Five years later, in 1913, the General Accountants' Association, as it was then known, was granted a charter from the government of Canada. By the mid-1940s, association chapters were established from coast-to-coast. Provincial, territorial and regional (offshore) chapters were later established under their own charters.


CGA-Canada's professional education program is competency-based. Competency-based education requires candidates to perform tasks and roles to standards expected in the work environment.[1]

The knowledge, skills and professional values required of a CGA are reflected in a list of competencies. These competencies extend over three areas: professionalism, leadership and professional knowledge. They are validated periodically through extensive survey analysis. The CGA Competency Framework details the 130 competencies required of a newly certified CGA.

The complete academic program consists of 19 courses, two business cases, and professional qualification exams, all spread over five levels: Levels 1 to 3 (Foundation Studies), Level 4 (Advanced Studies), and the PACE qualification level.

Online learning

CGA-Canada is the leader in providing online professional accounting education. Using the Internet, students can complete their studies using a system that integrates text material, study guides, video and audio tools, discussion forums, group case study and project work, web research and email.

In addition to its own online program of studies, CGA-Canada has also developed online degree partnerships with several Canadian universities.[2]

Research reports

CGA-Canada develops research and supports positions with a view to influence social policy, regulation and standards-setting.

Since 2004, this initiative has resulted in 10 research papers. [1]

  • Where Has the Money Gone: The State of Canadian Household Debt in a Stumbling Economy (May 2009)
  • The Federal Budget Surplus: Surprise or Strategy? (July 2008)
  • Where Does the Money Go: The Increasing Reliance on Household Debt in Canada (October 2007)
  • Fading Productivity: Making Sense of Canada’s Productivity Challenge (May 2007)
  • Tackling Compliance: Small Business and Regulation in Canada (October 2006)
  • Demystifying Income Trusts (March 2006)
  • The State of Defined-Benefit Pension Plans in Canada: An Update (November 2005)
  • Measuring Up: A Study on Corporate Sustainability Reporting in Canada (June 2005)
  • Growing Up: The Social and Economic Implications of an Aging Population (January 2005)
  • Addressing the Pensions Dilemma in Canada (June 2004)

Mutual recognition agreements

On 18 December 2006, CGA Canada and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) announced a Mutual Recognition Agreement to take effect on 1 January 2007. Details

On 8 April 2008, CGA Canada and CPA Australia entered into a Mutual Recognition Agreement to extend the global reach of both organizations into new continents. [2]

On 3 June 2009, CGA Canada and CPA Ireland [3] entered into a mutual recognition agreement. The MRA establishes a strategic partnership between the two leading accounting organizations and gives members the opportunity to qualify for another designation. [4]

See also

CGA association websites




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