How do I become a CPA?

International Accountants Credential Recognition

CPA Nova Scotia assesses international credentials and provides streamlined programs to help internationally trained accountants become Canadian CPAs.

The pathways to obtain your Canadian CPA credentials through CPA Nova Scotia depends on the international accounting body from which you obtained your designation and the experience requirements.  Please view the “International Designated Accountant Membership Process” chart to see which pathway is suitable for you or follow the overview below.

Eligible International Accounting Bodies with Mutual Recognition Agreement with CPA Canada

International Accountants with one of the following designations are eligible to apply directly to membership at any time, including prior to arrival, to become a CPA as long as they meet the terms and conditions of the Mutual Recognition Agreement and CPA Nova Scotia By-Laws:


Accounting Body

Designation Awarded
By CPA Nova Scotia

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand


Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants


Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales


Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland


Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos (must have CPC designation)


State Boards of Accountancy in the U.S.


The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe


The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants


Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland



Eligible International Accounting Bodies with Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CPA Canada:

International Accountants may be eligible for advanced standing in the CPA Canada program based on CPA Canada’s Memorandum of Understanding developed specifically to help close any educational or experiential gaps so you can contribute your full potential as soon as possible.  The following designations are eligible for streamlined bridging programs through the CPA Atlantic School of Business:

All International Accountants who are members of an IFAC (International Federation of Accountants), including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and CPA Australia, are eligible for an assessment by the CPA Atlantic School of Business.  Depending on the individual assessment, an applicant may be eligible for advanced standing at the CPA Atlantic School of Business ( 


Upon receipt of a complete application from an eligible International Accounting Body CPA Nova Scotia staff will process the application and present it to the Registration Committee for consideration. All other Internationally Trained Accountants are not directly eligible for membership and must apply to the CPA Atlantic School of Business.

The Registration Committee may approve, reject, or approve subject to conditions and restrictions, each application for registration.  All applicants will be notified of a decision within 90 days of receiving a complete application package.

In circumstances where the Registration Committee rejects an application or approves it subject to conditions, it will advise each applicant of its decision, with reason. All rejected applications may be appealed to the Registration Appeals Committee.

Please note that the above pathways generally lead to membership only. To obtain a Public Accounting License, which would be required to issue financial statements or reports as an engagement partner for services defined under the Chartered Professional Accountants Act (Nova Scotia), will require a separate license. Refer to the Public Accounting Licensing Requirements.