Professional Development FAQs

Do you have a professional development related question? CPA Newfoundland and Labrador has prepared responses to the most frequently asked questions.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)


1)     Am I required to take any mandatory courses?

The CPD program does not mandate areas of study. Note however that you must meet the professional competence requirement of Rule 203 of the CPA Code of Professional Conduct. You should choose learning opportunities that are relevant to your CPA professional role. Take an inventory of your skills and consider whether you allocate sufficient time to building or refreshing the various skills and competencies 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 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.


2)     How do I know whether a course offered by a third party will qualify for verifiable CPD credit?


CPA Newfoundland and Labrador does not accredit course providers. As long as the course allows you to develop and maintain professional competency to enable you to continue to perform your professional role, it will qualify for CPD. Any learning and development that is relevant and appropriate to your work and professional responsibilities and growth as a CPA will qualify for CPD. Please see FAQ 3 for guidance on whether the CPD attained would qualify as verifiable.

 

3)     What type of support do I need for verifiable CPD?

Verifiable CPD should be supported by certificates of completion, confirmation of registration, attendance records, or such other evidence that can objectively verify completion of the learning activity.
At a minimum, supporting documentation should:

  • Describe the learning activity;
  • Identify the provider of the activity, if applicable;
  • 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.

Although supporting documentation need not be submitted with the annual CPD report, it should be retained, as a sample of members are requested to provide further documentation for verification each year.

 

4)     How long do I need to keep my CPD records?

You are required to maintain documentation supporting the completion of your verifiable CPD learning activities for five years after each reporting year. For example, for 2015 CPD, you are required to retain CPD documentation until December 31, 2020 for all learning activities undertaken in 2015.

 
5)     What activities qualify under volunteer or pro-bono work, such as sitting on a board of directors?


The activity must help you to develop and maintain professional competence to enable you to continue to perform your professional role. For example, sitting on a board of directors or on an audit committee does not in itself qualify for CPD, however certain aspects of the role may qualify, such as participation in technical discussions and receiving or delivering presentations that help board members make more informed decisions and help with their oversight responsibility.

 

6)     Does on-the-job learning related to major changes in job responsibilities, involvement in special projects, significant learning of new software, systems, procedures or techniques, qualify as CPD?

The activity must help you to develop and maintain professional competency to enable you to continue to perform your professional role. Hours related to the above activities may qualify for CPD, and for verifiable CPD subject to supporting documentation being available to verify the learning activity.

 

7)     What qualifies as technical reading and self-study?

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 material
  • Self-study courses

 

 8)     I no longer perform traditional accounting work. Do I still need to do CPD?

Yes. “Professional role” is defined in the broadest sense. You should engage in learning activities that are relevant to your current or future professional roles as a CPA. 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 acquiring 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 as a CPA.

 

9)     What does not qualify?

CPD activities are expected to develop and maintain professional competence to enable you to continue to perform your professional role as a CPA. Any learning and development that is relevant and appropriate to your work and professional responsibilities and growth as a CPA will qualify for CPD.

What may not qualify is difficult to generalize, as relevance may be a question of perspective and therefore needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Based on these criteria, examples of activities that would not qualify for CPD include:

  • Language or other courses that are for personal goals (such as personal travel)
  • First aid, health & safety, OHS training, except as required from a professional point of view in your role as a CPA
  • Attendance at an Annual General Meeting Coaching sports teams
  • Acquiring new skills that are not directly related to your professional role as a CPA, such as sports and skills relating to physical fitness, recreation and hobbies. It is acknowledged     that these skills may be an important part of your life and your “balance,” however they do not count towards CPD for CPA purposes
  • CPD related to other professional skills, but unrelated to competencies as a CPA, for example, medical procedure updates for a member who is also a medical professional

 

10)     I am a member of another provincial CPA body in Canada. Are all the CPD requirements identical now?

All provincial bodies in Canada have adopted international CPD standards and for the most part have harmonized CPD requirements and administration. 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 contact the other bodies to ensure that you meet all CPD requirements.

 

11)     What happens if I do not comply with the CPD requirements?

Under provincial Bylaws and Regulations, non-compliance with CPD requirements leads to suspension or cancellation of membership. This is necessary to ensure that we maintain public trust and uphold the reputation of the CPA designation. Having said that, there are a variety of CPD exemptions available – please check the website at www.cpanl.ca for further details. Further, if you believe you have a valid reason for not complying with the CPD requirements, you should submit a written request for consideration of your circumstances.

 

12)     I became a member part-way through the calendar year, when do I start taking CPD?

That depends:    

New members joining the provincial body through completion of the CPA certification program will be granted relief of CPD requirements for the calendar year in which they completed the CFE and the calendar year immediately following completion of the CFE, regardless of the year in which membership has been attained. The annual and three year rolling CPD requirements will commence upon becoming a member, however the CPD requirements will take into account the relief noted above.

The following are examples of how the above would work – in all cases, the candidate completes their period of study, including passing the CFE in 2016:

  • The new member completes the experience requirement in 2016, and is admitted to membership in 2016, CPD relief granted for the remainder of 2016 as well as 2017.
  • The new member completes the experience requirement in 2017, and is admitted to membership in 2017, CPD relief granted for 2017.
  • The new member completes the experience requirement in 2018, and is admitted to membership in 2018, no CPD relief is granted, the new member’s CPD requirement for 2018 would be pro-rated based on the date of acceptance to membership.

New members joining the CPA Newfoundland and Labrador in any other way should meet the minimum CPD requirements, prorated for that period.

 

13)     Are there any limitations/maximums on learning activities that qualify for CPD?

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.

Disclaimer for CPD FAQs

These FAQs provide general information only about the CPA Newfoundland and Labrador’s CPD requirements. They are not intended to address every possible circumstance.

The FAQs do not and cannot change the meaning of the CPA Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bylaws, Regulations and Code of Professional Conduct. In the case of any inconsistency between the FAQs and the governing documents mentioned above, the governing documents will prevail and govern.


If you wish to discuss your particular situation, or if you have any questions, please contact Jason Hillyard.