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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We have answers!

  • What is the Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF)?

    The ACAF is an education program for those aspiring to intermediate careers in accounting and finance, but not as qualified CPAs. The program has been designed to meet the intermediate needs of employers in all sectors of the Canadian economy. Enrollees will learn to apply the technical accounting and software skills that employers value in this competitive job market.

  • How long do ACAF courses take to complete?

    Enrollees should expect to spend 10-12 hours per week for applied courses and 15-20 hours per week for entry and technical courses. All Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance applied courses are 8 weeks of study, followed by a study week, and a three-hour, in-person final exam, except for:

    • Ethics and Workplace Skills, a 6-week course followed by a 3-hour exam
    • Accounting Software Applications, a 10-hour self-study online course

    All entry and technical courses are 6 weeks of study, followed by a study week and four hour exam with exemptions of law, IT, Intro MA, Intro FA which have a 3-hour exam.

  • How many courses can you take at once?

    There is no limit on the number of courses you can take at one time, provided you have met the prerequisites and the examinations are not conflicting.

  • What score do I need to pass each course?

    A 60% score in each of the entry, technical and applied courses is required to pass with the exemptions of: Intro FA, Intro MA, Law, and IT which requires a pass grade of 50% to pass. Accounting software applications which is a pass or fail course.

  • Will you have assistance along the way?

    Yes. You are given access to a subject-matter expert who will answer questions and provide coaching and guidance.
  • How are final grades assessed?

    Each entry, technical and applied course is assessed through a combination of quizzes and assignments worth a maximum of 30%, and a final exam worth 70% of the final course grade with the exemptions of: IT and Law - Exam 100% of final grade. Accounting Software Applications which is a pass or fail course.

  • How often are ACAF courses offered?

    ACAF entry and technical courses are offered through CPA Ontario’s preparatory courses four times a year. ACAF applied courses are offered three times a year with Winter, Spring and Fall enrolment. See the Schedule for ACAF Courses for upcoming enrolment dates. 

  • How are ACAF courses offered?

    The CPA preparatory courses for ACAF are offered through both online and lecture (based on sufficient enrollment) platforms with in-person examinations. ACAF applied courses are currently offered exclusively online with examinations taking place in person in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and London with the exception of Accounting Software Applications which has an online examination.

  • What does the ACAF program consist of?

    The ACAF Program consists of 16 courses, five entry, six technical and five applied, each requiring a minimum 60% in the course except for Information Technology which has a passing grade of 50%, and Accounting Software Applications which is a pass or fail course. Intro FA, Law, Intro MA also have 50% pass.

    Enrollees can take as many courses at once, provided they have  met the prerequisites and the examinations are not conflicting. 

    You are required to complete:

    Six Technical Courses (or their equivalent exemptions):

    • Advanced Financial Reporting
    • Corporate Finance
    • Audit and Assurance
    • Taxation
    • Intermediate Management Accounting
    • Information Technology

    Five Applied Courses:

    • Ethics and Workplace Skills
    • Accounting Software Applications
    • Business Applications
    • Electives (choose two)
      • Applied External Audit
      • Applied Personal and Corporate Taxation
      • Public Sector Financial Management Practice
      • Not for Profit Accounting

    Note: these courses are in addition to the five entry courses

    Five Entry Courses (of their equivalent exemptions):

    • Introductory Financial Accounting
    • Introductory Management Accounting
    • Intermediate Financial Reporting 1
    • Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
    • Business Law
  • What will enrollees get once they successfully complete the program?

    Enrollees will receive a certificate from CPA Canada on successful completion of the program. Earning the ACAF proves to employers that you have the applied, technical and soft skills for mid-level positions, which makes you a valuable asset in the workplace.

  • What is the process to sign up for ACAF?

  • Is it possible to get exemptions for any ACAF courses?

    Enrollees may be exempted from individual entry and technical courses if they have passed recognized academic equivalents with a minimum grade of 60%. To ensure appropriate recognition of accounting courses and programs, CPA Ontario has assisted post-secondary institutions throughout the accreditation assessment process. Enrollees who qualify for exemptions from all entry and technical courses could complete the program in as little as six months. There are no exemptions from the applied courses.

    It is technical and passing grade is 50%.

    Intro FA, Intro MA, Law with passing grade of 50%.

  • Can I take ACAF courses if I am internationally educated?

    As an internationally educated professional, the ACAF will be helpful for establishing an accounting career in Canada because it provides a Canadian credential that recognizes international education and experience. You have the option to demonstrate equivalent academic credit by submitting your academic record for a transcript assessment.

  • Can I use the CPA designation after my name once I complete the ACAF program?

    ACAF is a certificate offered by CPA Canada for intermediate level jobs and should not be confused with the provincially regulated CPA designation. The only way to become a designated CPA in Ontario is to be admitted as a member of CPA Ontario. This involves completing a recognized degree and the CPA Professional Education Program, including passing the Common Final Examination, and completing 30 months of appropriately supervised and mentored practical experience.

  • How many ACAF courses are there?

    The ACAF program is made up of 16 courses, 5 entry, six technical and five applied.

    Ethics and Workplace Skills which is a six-week course followed by a three-hour exam.

    Accounting Software Applications which is a 10-hour self-study online course which is a pass or fail course.

    Enrollees should expect to spend ten to 10-12 hours per week on course activities for applied courses, and 15-20 for entry and technical courses offered through CPA Preparatory Courses.

  • What is the difference between the CPA Canada ACAF and CPA preparatory courses?

    The ACAF is an education program created for enrollees looking for intermediate careers in accounting and finance. It builds on the knowledge generally gained through a two-year college program by providing or enhancing the applied technical and soft skills valued in today’s marketplace. Developed in consultation with employers from all sectors of the Canadian economy, the ACAF is the only nationally-recognized intermediate accounting and finance certificate in Canada.

    CPA preparatory courses do not constitute a program and do not lead to a certificate or credential. They are a suite of courses offered by the CPA profession which you may take to meet the ACAF entry and technical course requirements or to meet the prerequisite course requirements for entry to CPA Professional Education Program (PEP). You may also take these courses from a post-secondary institution (PSI). ACAF’s applied courses are available exclusively online from CPA Ontario.

  • What is the difference between the CPA Canada ACAF and the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation?

    The CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) and the CPA Canada Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) are designed to help you achieve career success at different levels. CPA PEP is a graduate level program for candidates pursuing the CPA designation. The CPA designation is Canada’s pre-eminent, globally recognized professional business and accounting designation. The ACAF is a separate education program, designed for people seeking careers or currently working in intermediate level positions. The ACAF has its own admission and assessment standards.

  • Can I do ACAF and then become a CPA?

    Yes. To become a designated CPA, you must be admitted as a member of a CPA provincial body. This requires:

    • completing the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP)
    • passing the Common Final Examination (CFE)
    • completing a minimum of 30 months of appropriately supervised and mentored practical experience (24 months in Quebec)

      You must complete a degree and have accumulated 120 credit hours (or equivalent) of post-secondary education to be admitted to the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). If you do complete the ACAF program and later decide to pursue the CPA designation, your ACAF courses will be recognized through a partnership with Athabasca University towards an undergraduate degree and specific knowledge requirements needed for admission to CPA PEP.

  • Do I have to do ACAF in order to get into the CPA program?

    No, they are two separate education programs.

  • I haven’t decided whether I want to be a CPA or get the ACAF. Can I take CPA preparatory courses first and decide later?

    You are required to make a declaration at the time of registration whether you wish to enter CPA PEP or ACAF, but you will have the option to switch paths at a later time.

  • How long does it take to complete the ACAF?

    The entire ACAF program can be completed in less than two years. Those with exemptions may complete it faster.
  • Is there a time limit for completing the ACAF program?

    The current Harmonized Education Policy (HEP) for ACAF specifies the program must be completed within six years, starting from the commencement of the first course.
  • What are the prerequisites for the ACAF courses?

     

     Entry Course  Prerequisite Courses
     Introductory Financial Accounting  None
     Introductory Management Accounting  Introductory Financial Accounting or  concurrently
     Intermediate Financial Reporting 1  Introductory Financial Accounting
     Introductory Management Accounting
     Intermediate Financial Reporting 2  Intermediate Financial Reporting 1
     Business Law                                                                                     None

     Technical Courses  Prerequisite Courses
     Advanced Financial Reporting  Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
     Corporate Finance  Introductory Financial Accounting
     Introductory Management Accounting
     Audit and Assurance  Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
     Taxation  Introductory Financial Accounting
     Introductory Management Accounting
     Intermediate Management Accounting                      Corporate Finance
     Information Technology  None

     Applied Course  Prerequisite Courses                             
     Ethics and Workplace Skills*  Business Law and all technical courses  
     Accounting Software Application  Introductory Financial Accounting
     Applied External Audit  Ethics and Workplace Skills
     Applied Personal and Corporate Taxation  Ethics and Workplace Skills       
     Public Sector Financial Management Practice  Ethics and Workplace Skills
     Not-For-Profit Accounting and Related Topics  Ethics and Workplace Skills
     Accounting Software Application
     Business Application  Ethics and Workplace Skills
     Accounting Software Application

  • What computer requirements are there for ACAF courses?

    To write the ACAF examinations, all enrollees are required to have a Windows PC Laptop Computer that conforms to ACAF program specifications, as outlined in the ACAF Enrolment Guide, with the required exam software loaded onto their PC Windows Laptop. All other devices are prohibited during the examination (including, but not limited to: Apple Macs, jail-broken Macs with Windows operating system, Power PC, tablet PCs and desktop PCs). It should be expressly noted that a laptop with a Windows operating system in English or French must be used, pre- loaded with Securexam.  If an operating system is in any language other than English or French, IT proctors will not be able to assist students with troubleshooting computer issues.

  • What options exist for enrollees who cannot submit the prescheduled quiz submissions?

    Enrollees are encouraged to plan ahead and review the schedule to ensure that they have enough time to complete the course work. Quiz submissions are not mandatory however the enrollee will miss out on marks if they choose to not complete the quizzes.

  • What options exist for enrollees who cannot submit the prescheduled project assignment submissions?

    Enrollees in ACAF courses who fail to submit the mandatory project(s) assignment by the deadline(s) published in the Course Overview document will receive a final grade of zero and will automatically be charged with a course attempt. Enrollees are not entitled to a refund of any kind. Enrollees are then required to re-enrol in the course.

  • How can enrollees contact their course facilitator/instructor?

    Enrollees can find and contact their facilitator on Brightspace (D2L).

  • How can an enrollee appeal a project grade?

    Enrollees concerned that marks were missed toward their overall project grade can email ACAFcourses@cpaontario.ca with specific details about their concerns within three business days of receiving their results.

  • Where can enrollees gain access to the Securexam software?

    Prior to the examination, enrollees must download Securexam on the laptop that they are bringing to the examination centre. Details on how to download the Securexam Software will be available to enrollees on Brightspace (D2L). 

  • How can enrollees withdraw from an ACAF course?

    Enrollees who wish to withdraw from a ACAF course are only able to withdraw online before the course start date. After that time they must email acafcourses@cpontario.ca to withdraw from a course. This is for Applied, Technical and Entry level courses. Enrollees are subject to the following withdrawal schedule:

    Withdrawal Period Applicable Refund Academic Status
     Before Materials Release  Date  Course fee refund less $100+HST  administration fee  Withdrawal will not count as a  course attempt
     Before the 4th Friday prior to  the Examination  50% refund will be issued  Withdrawal will not count as a  course attempt
     After the 4th Friday prior to the  Examination  No refund will be issued  Withdrawal will not count as a  course attempt
     After the Final Examination  No refund will be issued  Withdrawal will count as a  course attempt

  • How many times can an enrollee attempt an ACAF course?

    ACAF enrollees have a maximum of three attempts to pass each course.

    Enrollees are elegible to re-work one exam per course if they receive an overall final grade of between 49.5 - 59.4, with the exemption of Intro Management Accounting, Intro Financial Accounting, Information Technology and Business Law, where the passing grade is 50%. For these courses, enrollees must repeat the course before attempting the exam again, rework exams are available.

    For Information Technology, where the passing mark is 50%, an enrollee who fails the course must repeat the course before attempting the examination again.

    For all other ACAF courses:

    • An enrollee who fails the first attempt at a course with a mark of 50% or above may write the examination at its next offering, without re-taking the course. If the enrollee fails the second attempt, the enrollee is required to retake the course in order to have a third and final attempt at the examination.
    • An enrollee who fails the first attempt with a mark less than 50% must retake the course before a second attempt at the examination is permitted.

      If the third attempt is unsuccessful:
    • Technical courses: enrollees will not be able to attempt the ACAF course again through CPA preparatory courses. However, they can choose to complete the equivalent course at a post-secondary institution and can continue taking other ACAF technical courses through the CPA preparatory courses.
    • Applied non-elective courses: enrollees are expelled from the program and must apply for readmission. On readmission they must restart the ACAF applied courses.
    • Applied elective courses: no further attempt at that course can be made without withdrawal from the program and successful readmission to the ACAF program. On readmission they must restart the ACAF applied courses. Enrollees who are unable to successfully complete two of the electives are expelled and must apply for readmission. On readmission they must restart the ACAF applied courses.

  • Can enrollees defer examinations?

    ACAF enrollees who have completed the course assignments may defer writing the examination until the next examination offering. A $200 deferral fee is applied.
    If they do not attempt the next offering, they fail the course and an attempt is charged. Deferral requests must be made to the appropriate provincial/ regional CPA body within three business days of the examination. For deferral requests in Ontario, please email acafcourses@cpaontario.ca. Enrollees who do not attempt a course examination and have not made a deferral request will be deemed to have failed the course and an attempt is charged.

  • How can enrollees appeal examination results?

    Only enrollees who receive a final course grade of less than 60% are eligible to appeal. For entry courses, only Intermediate Financial Reporting I & II are able eligible for appeal. All technical courses are eligible for appeal with the exception of Information Technology. All Applied Courses are eligible for appeal with the exception of Accounting Software Applications. To appeal your results, please email acafcourses@cpaontario.ca