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General

CPAs must continually enhance their knowledge and expertise to remain at the forefront of today’s competitive market. It is imperative that CPAs remain knowledgeable and current in all areas in which they practice or work in order to best serve the interest of clients, employers and other stakeholders.

No, there are no formal limits or maximums on learning activities. It is up to the member to determine the learning activities that best suit their professional role. However, the expectation is that the member take a balanced approach towards CPD, and therefore not generally derive all CPD hours from the same source or the same topic.
Yes, “professional role” is defined in the broadest sense. CPAs should engage in learning activities that are relevant to their current or future professional role. Those learning activities do not necessarily have to include accounting, tax or assurance courses. Take an inventory of your current skills and competencies and consider whether you allocate sufficient time to building or refreshing the various skills and competencies you need to do your job well. Consider whether you have the range of soft skills (leadership, communication, etc.) and sufficient knowledge in your particular industry. The time you spend gathering these skills and industry knowledge all count towards your CPD requirements.
 
Selection of learning activities should be a thoughtful, reflective process addressing your current and future professional plans, current knowledge and skill level, and desired or needed additional competence to meet future opportunities and/or professional responsibilities.

Under CPABC’s Bylaws, the membership of those who do not comply with the CPD requirements will be suspended and/or cancelled. This is necessary to protect the public and ensure that we maintain public trust and uphold the reputation of the CPA designation.
 
Members who believe they have a valid reason for an exemption from the minimum CPD requirement may submit a written request to the Membership Committee to consider their circumstances using the online reporting website. Members who submit a request related to a medical condition must attach a CPABC Medical Form completed by their medical practitioner. The Committee will review each request on a confidential basis. Based on the information submitted, a determination will be made and forwarded to the member. Download CPD Medical Form.
 

The CPD program does not mandate areas of study, other than the four hours of professional ethics in every rolling three-calendar year period (special requirements apply to new CPA, CGA graduates – see next FAQ). Note, however, that members must meet the professional competence requirement of Rule 203 of the Code of Professional Conduct. They should choose learning opportunities that are relevant to their professional role. Take an inventory of your skills and consider whether you allocate sufficient time to building or refreshing the various skills needed to do your job well. Qualifying CPD is not limited to accounting, assurance, tax or other technical areas. Consider, for example, whether you have the range of soft skills (leadership, communication, etc.) and sufficient knowledge about your particular industry.
 
Selection of learning activities should be a thoughtful, reflective process addressing current or future professional plans, current knowledge and skill level, and desired or needed additional competence to meet future opportunities and/or professional responsibilities.
 

Sitting on a board of directors or on an audit committee does not in itself qualify as CPD. In order to qualify as CPD, the volunteer activity must help members to develop and maintain professional competence to enable them to perform their professional role. Such activities may include participation in technical discussions and receiving or delivering presentations that help them make more informed decisions and help with their oversight responsibility.

When evaluating whether or not a meeting qualifies for CPD, consider the following questions:

  • Were any formal presentations made at the meetings? If so, what was the topic and duration of each of the presentations?
     
  • Did the presentation contain significant intellectual or practical content that provide for the development of new or existing competencies in areas that are relevant to the members professional responsibilities and growth?

The activity must help CPAs develop and maintain professional competency to enable them to perform their professional role. The activities qualify for verifiable CPD subject to supporting documentation being available to verify the learning activity.

Members report the actual number of hours they engaged in learning activities, up to a maximum number of hours as estimated by the course provider for the activity. For conferences and conventions, report the amount of time that was spent engaged in activities with significant intellectual or practical content.  Marketing, networking or social activities do not qualify as CPD.
You are allowed to report the number of hours you actually engage in a learning activity.  Report the number of hours you actually spent learning at the course in-person. If you read the seminar materials on your own to learn what you missed, you can report unverifiable CPD for the amount of time you spent doing so.
The following are examples of items which qualify for technical reading:
  • Professional magazine articles relating to accounting, taxation, finance, management or other technical subjects
  • Newspaper articles relating to your current and/or future field or industry
  • Self-study of published materials
  • Self-study courses

Reporting

The reporting deadline is January 31 for the previous calendar year.

Members are required to report their CPD activities on CPABC’s Online Services secure website. Members may report their completed CPD activities throughout the year. If you encounter any difficulties signing in to the secure website, please contact support@bccpa.ca.

CPABC’s in-person seminars are automatically uploaded from the registration system. Starting May 19, 2020 live webinars are included in the automatic upload process. Members may only report the actual time that was spent developing new or existing competencies in the course, so members may need to adjust the eligible CPD hours before posting the hours to their CPD log. CPABC’s PD Online On-Demand seminars, Chapter seminars or the Pacific Summit will have to be manually reported.
New members admitted to membership will be required to report CPD in the calendar year of admission. The CPD reporting year is the calendar year. There is no proration of the CPD requirements in the year of admission. CPD completed anytime in the calendar year will be eligible for CPD credit in. The first rolling three-calendar-year period begins in the year of admission.
Beginning 2019, Effective Management Skills and the additional seven-hour soft skills course are no longer required to be completed prior to admission to membership. As a transitional provision, students who have completed these courses prior to the year of admission may carryover these courses into their first CPD reporting year. Except for this transitional provision, there is no carryover of CPD from one calendar year to a subsequent year.
 
The seven-hour introductory course on the privileges, obligations and ethics of the profession (i.e. Gateway to Membership: Welcome to the Pros, or formerly, You and Your Designation) is still required to be completed prior to admission to membership.  As there is no change to this course requirement, there is no carryover of Gateway to Membership: Welcome to the Pros or You and Your Designation for CPD credit to a subsequent year.  
 
The Gateway to Membership course will qualify for seven verifiable CPD hours for those candidates who take the course in the same calendar year that they are admitted to membership. If the course is taken outside of the calendar year of admission to membership, it will not qualify for CPD credit.

Verifiable

Verifiable CPD should be supported by certificates of completion, confirmation of registration from providers, attendance records, or such other evidence that can objectively verify completion of the learning activity. For online learning such as a webinar or an online course, a certificate of completion or an assessment with a passing grade must be obtained in order to qualify for verifiable hours – otherwise the webinar or course would only be eligible for unverifiable hours.

CPABC in-person seminars that have been converted to an online virtual offering (“Live Webinar”) will qualify as verifiable CPD as attendance calls will be carried out by the CPABC coordinator. CPABC’s PD Department will not issue certificates of completion for these live webinars.

At a minimum, supporting documentation should:

  • Describe the learning activity;
  • Identify the provider of the activity;
  • Connect the member to the activity;
  • Identify when the activity took place; and
  • Provide a basis for concluding that the number of reported hours is reasonable.
Examples of documentation, any one of the following:
  • Certificate of completion or official transcript
  • Confirmation of participation by provider or employer (e.g. registration confirmation)
  • Attendance record (e.g. sign-in sheet)
  • Course assignment and exam results
  • Copy of course outline/agenda
  • Copy of course payment/invoice
Each year, CPABC verifies a sample of CPD reports for the preceding three-calendar-year period. Accordingly, members are required to retain all supporting documentation for their CPD activities for five years after the end of the reporting period. There is no need to submit the supporting records unless requested. 
CPABC does not accredit third party course providers. As long as the activity allows you to develop and maintain professional competency to enable you to perform your professional role, it will qualify for CPD. It is up to the member to determine the learning activities that best suit their professional role. The expectation is that the member take a balanced approach towards CPD, and therefore not generally derive all CPD hours from the same source or the same topic.
Verifiable CPD hours can be reported for the preparation and delivery time of courses or educational presentations that are related to the member’s professional role, but only once per calendar year for the same or similar topic. Preparation time should relate to maintaining and developing new knowledge to share with the audience. There is no formal limit on CPD hours related to presentations; however, the expectation is that the member takes a balanced approach towards CPD, and therefore not generally derive all CPD hours from the same source or the same topic.

Only new learned skills in the performance of the position would qualify as CPD.

Marking: If you mark the same question for multiple students, you can only report verifiable CPD for the particular question once (i.e., only for one student). Report verifiable CPD for the time it takes you to read the test question, review the answer key and mark your first paper.  If you mark more than one question, then report CPD once for each new question you mark.

Facilitating: You can report verifiable CPD once for each unique task that you facilitate per year. Report verifiable CPD for your preparation and facilitation time with the student with whom you spent the most time on a particular task. If you facilitate more than one student on a particular task in a module, you are limited to reporting verifiable CPD for the time spent with only one student.

You can claim CPD credits to the extent that you have achieved learning that develops and maintains your professional competence, to enable you to continue to perform your professional role.  You can claim verifiable CPD credits to the extent that the learning can be verified objectively. The amount of credit will vary from one volunteer to another, as it will depend upon a number of factors such as:  the experience level of the volunteer, the issues addressed in the presentations and feedback, and the relevance to the volunteer’s professional role.  Members should document the basis for the extent of CPD claimed.

Ethics

Bylaw Regulation 600/2(2) states that “… every member must complete … a minimum of 120 qualifying hours of continuing professional development during each rolling three-calendar year period, including at least 60 verifiable qualifying hours, of which at least 4 are ethics hours.”

Bylaw Regulation 600/1 defines ethics hours as “verifiable qualifying hours in professional ethics satisfying criteria approved by the Membership Committee.”

As required under Rule 203 of the CPA Code of Professional Conduct, “A member shall sustain professional competence by keeping informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which the member provides professional services or is relied upon because of the member’s calling.” In addition to this, members, unless otherwise exempt, must complete a minimum of four hours of verifiable CPD in professional ethics in each rolling three-calendar year period.

A CPD ethics requirement supports and encourages members to uphold the Code of Professional Conduct and continuously evaluate our professional ethics. One way to help ethical decision-making is through CPD whereby we can discuss with professional colleagues the challenges, complexities, and risks faced with ethical decision-making.

Just like other verifiable learning activities, the professional ethics requirement can be fulfilled through CPABC or other sources. The four hours can be accumulated through various separate professional ethics learning activities over the three years. Professional ethics learning activities must go beyond an awareness of the law, standards or guidelines. The learning activity must address the application of ethical principles or theories to the laws, standards or guidelines relevant to the member’s work and professional responsibilities.

Professional ethics CPD can cover a wide range of topics related to ethics and ethical decision making. Examples of professional ethics topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • CPABC regulatory updates covering the CPABC Act, Bylaws, Bylaw Regulations and Code of Professional Conduct
  • Regulatory updates that are relevant and appropriate to the member’s role or industry
  • Professional conduct
  • Corporate codes of conduct
  • Independence/conflict of interest
  • Ethical decision making, approaches, thinking  and case studies
  • Ethical business culture
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Honesty in business practice
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Doing the right thing
  • Reputation and risk
  • Whistle-blowing
  • Anti money-laundering
This has been debated for centuries. Some scholars and academics say ‘yes’ and some say ‘no’. Socrates’ position (2,500 years ago), was that ethics consists of knowing what we ought to do, and such knowledge can be taught. One approach to teaching professional ethics is focusing on the different moral philosophies and looking at personal approaches to making ethical decisions. Regular consideration of how to navigate ethical conflicts and decision-making can be helpful.
Ethical decision-making will occur throughout ones’ professional career and at times professional ethics can be a difficult area to manage or adhere to. This may be especially true in areas such as accounting, finance and business where there can be complex issues, ‘grey’ areas, pressures to compromise high ethical standards for ‘the bottom line’.

When you report verifiable activities in the CPD online reporting system, you will be prompted to confirm whether the activity contains any hours that meet the ethics requirement. If the activity has an ethical component, you will indicate ‘yes’, then enter the amount of professional ethics hours for the verifiable activity.

For your convenience, CPABC PD seminars containing structured professional ethics content will pre-populate with the number of hours of qualifying ethics content. All you need to do is confirm that you were in attendance for the entire duration of the seminar and the ethics component, or edit the pre-populated hours as appropriate for the actual time you were in attendance.

For CPABC PD seminars with structured ethics content, please visit CPABC’s PD website. Find ethics courses by using the ‘Ethics Hours’ search criteria under Search PD Offerings.

CPA Chapters throughout BC provide ethics seminars. Please visit CPABC’s Chapter website.

CPABC’s Pacific Summit held each spring and fall provides an ethics course. Visit the Pacific Summit webpage to learn more.

CPABC offers web-based PD seminars:

 
CPA Canada offers online courses:

CPA Canada offers 1- hour free webinars that qualify as 1 hour of verifiable professional ethics:

For online courses to count as verifiable, you must complete the test component and keep the certificate of completion for your records.
Yes. Domestic legacy CGA graduates admitted to membership are required to complete a seven-hour rules and standards course as a condition of membership. The CPA, CGA member is required to complete CPA Canada’s online course, “Essence of Professionalism: Ethics, Rules and Standards”. No other course will qualify to meet this membership requirement.
 
As CPA Canada operates separately from CPABC, you must report completion of the online course by emailing a PDF copy of the Certificate of Completion to cpd@bccpa.ca (Attention: Lisa Murray)
 
This requirement must be completed on or before December 31 of the full calendar year following the year of admission to membership. Completion of the mandatory seven-hour course will count towards the annual verifiable CPD requirement in the year of completion and qualifies as verifiable professional ethics for the first rolling three-calendar year period.
 
If you have any questions regarding this requirement, please contact Lisa Murray, CPD Administrator at 604-488-2614 or email cpd@bccpa.ca.

Exemptions

Under Rule 203 of the Code of Professional Conduct, members must sustain professional competence by staying informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which they provide professional services or are relied upon because of their calling. This rule applies to all members, even those with an exemption from CPD reporting requirements.
All the provincial bodies in Canada have adopted international CPD standards. This has brought greater harmonization to the CPD requirements across Canada. However, there may remain certain differences at a more detailed level, sometimes due to differing legislation. If you are a member of more than one provincial CPA body, please be sure to contact the other bodies to ensure that you meet all your CPD requirements.
The criteria for a dues waiver and a CPD exemption are not the same; therefore, qualifying for one does not automatically qualify you for the other. You have to apply for each separately.
CPABC encourages members to volunteer in the community. The unpaid work that you do for the charitable organization would not in itself cause you to be required to comply with the mandatory CPD requirements. However, you are reminded that under the Code of Professional Conduct, you must sustain professional competence by staying informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which you provide professional services or are relied upon because of your calling, even if you are not remunerated for your services. 
 
Please note that, if you do not meet all of the criteria of the Members in Retirement exemption, you would be required to comply with the mandatory CPD requirements. 
No, members who work part-time or part-year need to have the same level of competency as members who work full-time.