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Which is better CA or CPA? 

Choosing the best accountant for your needs.

Whether you chose to engage a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) the fact is they are both accountants and as such, with regards to education and affiliation to a professional association, are deemed responsible to handle a company’s financial statements.

The only difference is that the CA has been around longer, in fact from inception in Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1854 through British Royal Charter. CPA Australia was founded in 1886. It is perhaps for this reason, that there is a mindset that they are different and one is inferior to the other. If choosing between someone with a CPA or a CA it is not the difference in name of the qualification that matters but comes down to the personality of the applicant – who is the best fit for your company ethos?

This issue was recently resolved in New Zealand’s High Court when Justice Robert Dobson found the complaints by CPA Australia against New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) for defamation, were understandable. However, he awarded neither monetary damages nor a declaration for defamation.

The issue related to allegations that the Chief Operating Officer of NZICA referred to CPA qualifications as being inferior and that CPA lacked global affiliations. That CPA claims to have 150 000 members in 120 countries would seem to attest to a solid association. One professional body cannot claim to be better than another and with the matter now settled in court it is simply a matter of choosing the right person to fulfill the accounting function in your company.

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