Strategic Thinking and Decision-Making for CPAs

Learn to evaluate position and evidence to plan strategic action, overcome decision traps and increase your decision readiness and confidence.

The Ivey Academy and CPA Ontario Certificate in Leadership is a collaboration between CPA Ontario and The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School to deliver professional leadership development tailored for emerging and established CPAs alike.

Learn more about this unique learning experience and how to earn a Certificate in Leadership.

Each completed course awards a digital badge to signify your accomplishment. You can share these badges across social media, websites, ePortfolios, professional networks and email signatures to highlight your enhanced skill set and expertise.

After completing three courses of your choice, you will receive a Certificate in Leadership. This powerful credential signifies your diverse leadership skill set and ability to manage through disruption.

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Note: This course is delivered virtually over four weeks and includes 20 hours of learning. Expect highly interactive live sessions led by expert Ivey faculty, small peer learning groups, executive coaching, online simulations and learning journeys within the course.


Leaders regularly make far-reaching decisions on behalf of their organizations, such as where to commit resources, when to act and how to set precedents. They’re also expected to analyze complex opportunities and problems, consider alternative points of view and formulate well-reasoned arguments.

Strategic Thinking & Decision Making teaches individuals how and when to use, interpret and evaluate evidence, assess business opportunities, identify critical issues and articulate practical courses of action. Participants will dissect their decision-making processes and discover decision traps or failures of reasoning like biases, mental shortcuts and short-term thinking.

Throughout this course, you will hone your ability to think critically about decision analysis and make sound choices that position your organization for success. Expect to gain awareness about practical organizational and group decision-making approaches and understand the fundamental principles of behavioural economics and decision science.


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Interpreting data, processing information and making decisions
  • perceive, use and interpret data when making decisions
  • understand frames, biases and rational decision-making
  • examine the importance of the role emotions play in decision-making
  • System 1 and System 2 thinking
  • situational assessment and information seeking
  • unconscious and mindful
Trade-offs, planning and decision-making under uncertainty
  • acknowledge over-optimism in managerial project planning and prediction
  • discern noise vs. signal—manage complex information environments
  • use reference-class or similarity-based forecasting
  • account for uncertainty and ambiguity
Scenario planning and strategic thinking
  • plan for the future in an uncertain world
  • consider how managers think about probabilities and present impact choices
  • explore the role of unlearning in strategic foresight
Group dynamics in decision-making
  • examine the influence of politics, consensus and conflict in strategic decision-making
  • review how to involve multiple stakeholders with different interests
  • learn how to balance competing loyalties of group membership and external shareholders

How you learn

This course is deeply experiential, grounded in case research and facilitated by expert faculty from Ivey Business School.

Ivey’s real-world case methodology isn’t about textbooks and lectures – it’s about learning by doing. You will identify specific, practical learning takeaways through deep discussion and simulations, then develop an implementation plan with feedback from other leaders.

Learning methods include:

  • self-paced learning activities including pre-recorded videos, readings, case studies, private forums and self-reflection exercises
  • live, faculty-led sessions featuring expert Ivey faculty
  • discussion sessions with peers in private forums and guided self-reflection exercises
  • online simulations using realistic challenges where leaders can test action against immediate feedback in individual or team-based scenarios
  • opportunities to test leadership skills in online simulations, apply concepts in critical decision-making moments and navigate team dynamics – just like in real life
  • peer learning sessions to share experiences, exchange ideas and collaborate to solve challenges in virtual breakout groups during larger sessions

Key takeaways

  • Experience a variety of different negotiation strategies through realistic negotiation exercises.
  • Identify opportunities to create value for both negotiating parties.
  • Receive valuable feedback on your newly acquired negotiation skills in a risk-free environment.
  • Develop a clear strategy to tackle specific challenges at your organization.

Who will benefit?

This course is suitable for CPAs who are mid-to-senior level leaders who want to master negotiation skills to create value. Whether they are Managers, VPs or Executive Directors, participants should have at least five years of business experience.

While not required, we often recommend that two leaders from one organization attend together to maximize learning outcomes. This helps to generate dialogue and maximize learning outcomes for your entire team, not just course participants.

Need approval to attend?

Download the employer request letter

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