Why has this change occurred?
This change will help reduce confusion about whether there still exist multiple professional accounting designations and continue to solidify the CPA designation to the public.
Do I have to continue to tag myself as a CPA?
Yes, you must use your CPA designation. It is only the legacy designations (CMA, CGA or CA as well as FCMA, FCGA and FCA) that you now have the option to drop.
Can I still use my legacy designation if I want to?
Yes, you can continue to use your legacy designation; however, you cannot use only your legacy designation. It must be used in conjunction with your CPA.
Will I ever be forced to drop my legacy designation?
No, you will never be forced to drop your legacy designation.
Do I have to change everything? Signage? Business cards?
When tagging your professional designation, you should remain consistent. If you are choosing to remove your legacy designation, it is advisable to update all your professional branding, marketing, and communications materials, such as social media, business cards and signage. This is because the purpose of the change in policy is to reduce public confusion, and a member using a legacy designation in one context and not another adds to public confusion.
If I choose to keep my legacy designation, how do I tag it?
If you choose to continue using your legacy designation in addition to “CPA,” the CPA designation must appear first. For example:
Taylor Smith, CPA, CA or Taylor Smith, FCPA, FCA
Jordan Jones, CPA, CGA or Jordan Jones, FCPA, FCGA
Alex Chen, CPA, CMA or Alex Chen, FCPA, FCMA
What about my degrees or other designations?
While not required, it is convention that your CPA, and any legacy designation if you choose to use it, would come immediately after your name, except in the case of a PhD. For instance,
Mohammed Ahmadi, CPA, MBA
Avery White, CPA, CA, LLB
What areas does tagging apply to?
Tagging rules apply to all public representations of your professional qualifications.
Here are examples of instances that do not comply with the tagging rules:
• Business cards that still identify you only by your legacy designation.
• A charity website that identifies a board member with language like: “John is a chartered accountant in Halifax;”
• Signage outside a business that states the firm name, followed by “Certified General Accountants” or other legacy designations.
• Language suggesting that you still hold a legacy designation. For instance, a former CGA named Jean MacDonald can tag as “Jean MacDonald, CPA, CGA,” but cannot describe herself as “a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified General Accountant.” No professional accountant in Nova Scotia is currently a Certified General Accountant, Chartered Accountant or Certified Management Accountant, and has not been since 2016.
The same principle applies to how you identify yourself descriptively. For instance, your website might say: “Ling has been a CMA for over twenty years, holding increasingly senior roles.” This is not accurate and would need to be changed, as you are not currently a CMA. A better description might be, “Ling is a CPA who has held increasingly senior roles, having earned her CMA designation over twenty years ago,” or “Ling is a former CMA, now a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) who has held increasingly senior roles throughout the twenty years of her career.”
Is this a rule for CPA Nova Scotia alone?
Each provincial CPA body has its own rules regarding tagging. In Quebec, for instance, legacy designations are no longer permitted. Other provinces either provide the option to tag or still require legacy tagging.