The CPD Audit Process for Canadian CPAs.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the ongoing learning and development all CPAs engage in to maintain professional competence and ability. All learning that is relevant to a member’s role, responsibilities, or professional growth can qualify as CPD.
CPD is a yearly requirement for CPAs to complete to maintain their designation. A CPA must complete 20 hours of CPD each year, 10 of which must be verifiable. A minimum of 120 hours are required for every three year period, 60 verifiable, with a four hour ethics content requirement.
Yearly CPD Reporting
CPAs in all provinces are required to report their CPD compliance annually. In a majority of provinces, including Ontario and Alberta, submission of a CPD declaration is required to confirm compliance. In BC and some other provinces, a report listing all hours earned and their sources must be submitted each year.
If a CPA does not comply with the reporting requirements, they will face a series of increasing measures that could lead to CPA membership suspension. If a CPA is unable to complete the required hours and declares themselves non-compliant, they have 14 days to submit a plan of action to acquire the hours and must fulfill this obligation in no more than 120 days.
Each year, a percentage of all Canadian CPAs are selected at random to undergo an audit of their reported CPD hours. All CPAs that received their designation in Canada who are working, self-employed, or servicing clients and aren’t exempt from CPD requirements for any reason are eligible to be audited.
What happens if you get selected for an audit
If selected, the CPA will be notified by email from their CPA body outlining what they are required to produce. Compliance of the notice and submission of documentation is required within 30 days of receipt.
An audit requires the CPA to provide the name, date, provider, and verifiable status for every course declared, at minimum. Additional documentation may be required to confirm compliance. This documentation can include:
- Certification of Completion or Transcript of Program
- Confirmation of Participation by Employer or Course Provider
- Attendance Record or Sign-In Sheet
- Results of Course Assessment or Exam
- Receipt of Payment or Invoice
The documentation, if requested, will need to cover all verifiable hours required for the last calendar year.
The submitted information will be reviewed by the registrar and notice will be provided which may include one of the following:
- Confirmation of Completion of Requirements
- Request of Further Documentation be Provided to Confirm Compliance
- Requirement for a Plan of Action to be Completed
- Potential suspension of membership
Any next steps must be completed within the period outlined by the registrar, typically in under 30 days.
Consequences for Non-Compliance
If a member doesn’t attempt to complete the audit process, they could be subject to penalty at the discretion of the registrar up to membership suspension. If insufficient documentation is provided, members must confirm and provide explanation for non-compliance and complete a CPD plan of action to remedy the shortfall.
What Should You do to Avoid any Potential Issues
To make sure there are no issues it is necessary to ensure all verifiable hours are accessible to produce in advance of the audit period. It is best practice as well as a requirement in some provinces to retain documents of all completed verifiable CPD hours for at least five years.
If a member has all documentation for completed verifiable hours available to send upon request, there should be no issues if they happen to be selected for a CPD audit!
How can LumiQ help?
Using a CPD tracking service can save hours of searching for documentation if a member is selected for a CPD audit. LumiQ has a custom CPD tracker that can keep track of all internal and external CPD hours. It provides one space for all necessary CPD documentation and is easy to access and print if needed.
If you want to see how our platform and App works, including our CPD tracker, click here to sign up to our free trial with 5 Verifiable CPD Hours!