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Old 10.11.2008, 20:16
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Accounting designations

Hi guys,

I am facing the choice to obtain one of two accounting designations: Canadian CA or American CPA. Which one is the best for Europe, and particularly for Switzerland? What are advantages/disadvantages one designation over another one?

Thanks!
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Old 10.11.2008, 20:39
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Re: Accounting designations

How about neither.... why not try ACCA instead, not that I'm biased or anything!!!

CPA is very SOX driven and now that the yanks are finally realising that IFRS is the way to go maybe a qualification like ACCA is a better more rounded choice.

The FSAB and SEC in the US are now looking at bringing the American standards inline with the rest of the world and adopting IFRS possibly as early as 2014 for large companies and 2016 for all companies.
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Old 10.11.2008, 21:13
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Re: Accounting designations

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Hi guys,

I am facing the choice to obtain one of two accounting designations: Canadian CA or American CPA. Which one is the best for Europe, and particularly for Switzerland? What are advantages/disadvantages one designation over another one?

Thanks!
Hi There,

I can strongly recommend starting off in public practice as it will give you a good broad range of experience to start your career on. You'll get a chance to learn a broad range of skills and spend time in several different industries, so you'll get to see the different ways of that accountants solve business problems and that is important when you are just starting out.

As regards the qualification itself I would go for the CA rather than the CPA. While the CPA is well known around the world it is not so hot when it comes to Mutual Recognition, this is because the laws and accounting practices used in the USA are very different to these used in the rest of the world. The CA on the other hand enjoys good standing with it's sister associations through out the Common Wealth and so it is easy enough to switch from a CCA to CA (E&W), CA (I) CA (S). A simple exam and interview is usually all it takes. This will enable you to practice in most European countries. Also the law in Common Wealth countries is very similar so it will be easier to do the conversion exam etc...


Best Regards,

Jim.
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Old 10.11.2008, 22:10
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Re: Accounting designations

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Hi guys,

I am facing the choice to obtain one of two accounting designations: Canadian CA or American CPA. Which one is the best for Europe, and particularly for Switzerland? What are advantages/disadvantages one designation over another one?

Thanks!

If you plan on working for an American company, then a CPA is better in
Switzerland. Otherwise, you should try for the CA designation.

IFRS is definitely the future in the next 3-5 years.
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Old 11.11.2008, 21:50
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Re: Accounting designations

Thank you, guys for your responses!

To Jim: I totally agree that public practice is a good place to get an experience. That is why I am right now with “big four”. I have a strong filling that this fact will be very useful once I decide to move from Canada to Swiss. Thanks once again.
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Old 11.11.2008, 22:23
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Re: Accounting designations

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Thank you, guys for your responses!

To Jim: I totally agree that public practice is a good place to get an experience. That is why I am right now with “big four”. I have a strong filling that this fact will be very useful once I decide to move from Canada to Swiss. Thanks once again.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I'm a CA (Fellow) and like you did my time with a big four before moving over here.

I arrived during here in the early 90s, in the middle of the accounting wars - mergers, consolidations etc... and while I was doing the rounds my agent asked me if I could program in Cobol as he had a small contract that needed doing in a hurry. I said yes and after a few large pay cheques I did not need to be much of an accountant to figure out that software development was a better gig....

I still find my accounting skills are very useful as I have to deal a lot with business people and being able to talk 'the talk' give me a lot of credibility with these people - Nothing like being able to discuss the pros and cons of the CAPM with the finance guys <g>.

Jim
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Old 28.10.2009, 12:43
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Re: Accounting designations

There are companies in Switzerland that prefer IFRS and some that prefer US GAAP or Swiss GAAP. So it depends on what job you apply for as the CPA is US GAAP and the Canadian CA is IFRS. Companies that prefer Swiss GAAP are unlikely to hire you cause of your forgien designation. Many multinational companies might require a broad knowledge of various GAAPs in which case the important thing is to get qualified in either in order to get going. The CPA is easier and has more flexible sitting oppertunities but if you plan to return to Canada one day then do the local thing. After qualification experience will be viewed as the key and big 4 is sometimes invaluable, even if it is a drag for a bit. But unless you want to make a career out of it don't spend to long in audit, you'll get pigeon holed.
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Old 28.10.2009, 16:38
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Re: Accounting designations

For information, the thread is almost a year old and the OP has not been here since last November, so don't expect them to respond....

Jim
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