The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) today announced changes to its Program of Professional Studies.

The changes to curriculum are the result of two years of research and focus on the dual role accountants play — upholding public trust and acting as strategic business leaders.

Under the enhanced certification model, the professional applications requirement of the program will consist of two courses and two capstone examinations that will expose the students to different perspectives of the profession.

The first element of the professional applications requirement — Issues in Professional Practice — focuses on the perspective of an external accountant providing auditing, taxation and business advisory services to clients. The second element — Strategic Financial Management — focuses on the internal accountant or financial manager and provides an in-depth study of strategic financial management concepts.

The new model will retain the existing four financial management career options to maintain the flexibility of the CGA program. Credit for related graduate studies may be granted.

“We are committed to providing the most effective route to certification as a professional accountant, one that meets the needs of both the profession and the market-place,” said Lynda Carson, CGA-Canada’s vp of education.

CGA-Canada says the new model is the result of extensive surveys conducted in Canada, as well as insights from research reports from the United States that assess the changing needs of both the accounting profession and users of accounting services. It reflects trends in higher education and meets or exceeds international standards set out by the International Federation of Accountants.

Changes will not affect current students and will be implemented for new students entering the program in the 2006-2007 academic year.