Skip to main content

Beginning of Main Content

Course Details

Program Details

The Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) is the only nationally recognized accounting and finance certificate in Canada. Designed by the CPA profession, the Advanced Certificate program provides advanced technical and soft skills required for mid-level positions in accounting and finance.

Important Update

Select PSIs across Canada has begun to deliver the full-suite of courses, and by January 2018 the program will be delivered only by PSIs, in lieu of the profession. This shift is designed to improve the enrollee experience, and should increase the variety of delivery formats for courses, build upon high-quality programming already available at PSIs, and in some cases allow participants to apply for government funding for course fees.

New National Examination

Additionally, CPA Canada is in the process of developing the ACAF National Examination that will be administered through the CPA provincial/regional bodies. Enrollees completing the program through the PSIs will need to successfully pass the examination to earn the certificate. Enrollees who complete the Business Applications course through the CPA profession before December 2017 will be exempt from the examination requirement.

Select PSIs in Ontario have begun to deliver the courses, and by January 2018 the program will be delivered only by PSIs. This shift will increase the variety of delivery formats, and in some cases allow you to apply for government funding for your courses.

ACAF Transition Important Details

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Competencies

The Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance program consists of entry, technical and applied competencies established by the CPA profession. Competencies are achieved by completing courses.


Entry Competencies/Courses

  • Introductory Financial Accounting
  • Introductory Management Accounting
  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 1
  • Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
  • Business Law

The completion of entry courses is recommended prior to enrolling in technical courses. Entry courses may be prerequisites for specific technical and applied courses.


Technical Competencies/Courses

The six technical competencies build on the typical two-year college accounting diploma program, providing intermediate-to-advanced level technical content needed to hold intermediate level accounting and finance roles. Courses may include:

  1. Advanced Financial Reporting covers advanced financial accounting topics such as consolidations, foreign currency and not-for-profit accounting.

  2. Corporate Finance covers securities valuations for stocks, bonds and options as well as the time value of money, capital budgeting, investment decisions, weighted average cost of capital, optimal capital structure, working-capital management and dividend policies.

  3. Audit and Assurance explores at length the nature and purpose of audit and assurance engagements, the principles behind these engagements, planning, methodology, standards, documentation, evidence, materiality, risk, internal controls, audit testing, audit reports and current standards.

  4. Taxation provides an introduction to personal and corporate tax principles, including taxation of employment, business and property income, calculation of eligible deductions, capital cost allowance, capital gains and taxes payable.

  5. Intermediate Management Accounting covers a variety of intermediate management accounting topics such as pricing decision practices, cost behaviours, relevant costing, cost allocations, inventory and product mix.

  6. Information Technology (IT) provides an introduction to understanding the valuable role information systems (IS) play in business operations and management decision making, and covers topics ranging from IS and IT concepts and e-business fundamentals to system planning, development, implementation and management.


Applied Competencies/Courses

The five applied competencies enhance existing accounting education and experience with additional technical knowledge, IT applications and other workplace skills. Courses may include:

1. Ethics and Workplace Skills introduces students to the business scenario analysis framework, which is the problem-solving approach used throughout the applied courses in the Advanced Certificate program. The framework underscores the importance of business and accounting ethics.

2 and 3. Electives (choose two):

  • Applied External Audit builds on the Audit and Assurance course. Students complete a simulated audit working paper file of a company. Topics include: appropriate documentation, application of relevant sampling methods using software tools, execution of audit procedures in various audit cycles using Caseware, analysis of audit evidence for potential issues and understanding of the requirements with respect to reviews, compilations and special reports.
  • Applied Personal and Corporate Taxationbuilds on the technical taxation course, covering selected tax topics in more depth to facilitate basic tax planning for corporations and individuals in routine situations. Topics include: integration of personal and corporate tax, corporate investment income, corporate distributions, capital gains, estates and trusts, tax planning strategies for individuals and corporations, corporate reorganizations.
  • Public Sector Financial Management provides students with a greater understanding of the technical application of public sector accounting in Canada. Topics include: governance and decision-making processes, government budgeting and planning, government financial reporting, financial analysis of government, not-for-profit programs, public sector auditing.
  • Not-for-Profit Accounting covers how not-for-profit organizations (NFPOs) are created, the concepts of good governance and internal controls within an NFPO, differences in accounting between NFPOs and for-profit entities, fund accounting and the use of the restricted fund method, the deferral method of accounting for contributions, the characteristics of registered charities and a brief overview of various types of government organizations.

4. Accounting Software Applications is a self-study course that prepares students for the SAGE Applications Specialist certification. This course, including the assessment, is done online directly through SAGE, a software developer specializing in accounting programs. On completion of the exam, administered by SAGE, students receive a SAGE 50 Applications Specialist certificate. The course fee includes access to the Application Specialist learning package and the Application Specialist assessment. The course covers all the features of SAGE 50 – Canadian edition: setup; configuration and navigation; receivables; payables; banking; general ledger, budgets and departments; additional transactions and sales tax reporting; reports, forms and financial statements; periodic processing, management tools and year end; payroll; inventory and services; time slips, projects, and time and billing; multi-currency; users and security.

5. Business Applications requires students to apply the Advanced Certificate business scenario analysis framework to a single comprehensive business scenario. Each week, the business scenario will require students to demonstrate a different combination of technical skills acquired through the technical application courses along with workplace skills such as communication, routine problem solving, personal management, teamwork and ethics.