Campus Life

New certificate options from Dhillon School of Business create pathways for foreign-trained accountants

A suite of three certificate options created by the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business is designed to help foreign-trained accountants resume their professional careers in Canada.

Accounting and finance professionals are recognized worldwide for their strategic thinking, financial expertise, business insights and leadership.

All part of the Dhillon school’s CPA Bridging program, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, two of the certificate options allow students to upgrade their skills in accounting to either prepare them to become a CPA in Canada or elevate their career options with a university credential. The third certificate option combines the other two certificates into one, two-year program, enabling students the opportunity to acquire co-op positions within the industry.

“The Dhillon School of Business is committed to providing high-quality, accessible programming and removing barriers for newcomers,” says Kerry Godfrey, dean of the Dhillon School of business. “In the past, the pathway for internationally educated professionals was long and offered inadequate recognition of prior education. This made it financially inaccessible for many.”

The original concept of the CPA Bridging program was to provide an alternative path or bridge to the CPA designation for students with a four-year undergraduate degree but who don’t have the specific prerequisite courses required for the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP). Now, 10 years later, that still rings true, but the program has evolved to make it easier for students to accomplish their goals faster, and with more support: financially, academically and with career development opportunities.

For those who have a degree unrelated to accounting but are keen to advance their career by adding accounting and business skills to their resumé, the Post-Bachelor Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals has been created.

“This program provides students with both the breadth and depth of knowledge in accounting they will need, including courses such as Business Law, Introduction to Microeconomics and Introduction to Tax,” says Sonya von Heyking (CA, CIA, BMgt '03 Great Distinction), director, Accounting Program Development at the Dhillon School of Business.

For those who already have a degree in accounting (or substantial university-level coursework in accounting), or have completed the Post-Bachelor Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals and want to sharpen those skills and fill gaps, the Post-Bachelor Certificate in Advanced Accounting  is a customizable, six-course program to get them to their goals. It offers intermediate and advanced-level courses such as Advanced Financial Accounting, Accounting Information Systems and Data Analytics, and Management Policy and Strategy.

Finally, the Post-Bachelor Combined Certificates in Accounting allow students to take both the Accounting Fundamentals and Advanced Accounting certificates in as little as two years on a full-time basis. Students are also eligible for paid work experience through the co-operative education program.

“Accounting and finance professionals are recognized worldwide for their strategic thinking, financial expertise, business insights and leadership,” adds von Heyking. “It’s not all about tax and number crunching. These certificates and the CPA Bridging program offer excellent avenues for career advancement.”