Thinking about resigning your CPA Alberta membership?
Are you moving to another province, thinking about retiring, or experiencing another change that is leaving you considering resigning as a member of CPA Alberta? Before you take that step, it is important to consider and weigh all your options. Below we outline some of those options and information that you may wish to consider in advance of making the difficult decision to resign or not.
First, it is best to understand what resignation means and the ramifications of a resignation. Essentially, resignation is the formal cessation of a member’s CPA registration while in good standing. Once a member’s resignation is approved, they are no longer a designated accountant in Alberta and will no longer be permitted to use or display the CPA designation (or any legacy designation) and will not be permitted in any way to represent themselves as a CPA to the public of Alberta.
Common reasons for considering resignation
Let’s quickly review some of the main reasons why you would consider resignation, and some other options that may be available in those circumstances.
Often those who are retired or planning to retire mistakenly assume they must let their CPA membership lapse upon retirement. It’s important to understand that retirement does not make resignation mandatory (indeed, there are many benefits of maintaining membership in CPA Alberta for retirees). Retirement is simply a change in an employment situation, and therefore does not automatically affect the status as a member of CPA Alberta.
It is also important to note that those members who are permanently withdrawn from the workforce (i.e., fully retired), may be entitled to a waiver or reduction in their membership fees, as well as a possible exemption from the mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. Despite being granted a fee waiver and/or CPD exemption, the member will continue to receive the full benefits of membership in CPA Alberta. To determine if you may be eligible for a waiver or reduction in your membership fees, refer to the fee policy here.
The requirement of an Alberta CPA to “report” CPD is different from the requirement to “complete” (or participate in) CPD learning activities, courses, seminars, etc. Every Alberta CPA must “report” on their CPD situation annually; however, not everyone must “take” CPD. To determine if you may be eligible for exemption from the requirement to participate in CPD learning activities, refer to the CPA Alberta’s CPD requirements, here.
The following examples illustrate some typical retirement scenarios and its impact on CPA Alberta fees and CPD requirements.
Example 1: Sally has completely retired from the workforce (is not working in any capacity), such that there are no active earnings from any and all types of employment or business. Sally, therefore, may apply for a 100% fee reduction. She will also be exempt from having to participate in CPD learning activities, so long as she is not doing anything (paid or unpaid) where a third party may be relying on her technical competencies as a CPA (for example, serving on a Board, in a volunteer role which involves financial oversight, as Chair of an organization, etc.).
Example 2: Bob is working part-time (i.e., semi-retired); however, he is earning less than $30,000 (CPA Alberta’s established income threshold). Therefore, Bob will be able to receive a 75% reduction in his member fees. However, because he continues to work, there remains a full CPD learning activity requirement.
Moving to another province
The profession provides for mobility of CPAs across provincial boundaries; however, use of the CPA designation within any particular province is controlled by local legislation. Quite simply put, a member may choose to maintain CPA registration in one or more provincial bodies. Accordingly, a member’s CPA registration is not “transferred” from one province to another, instead a member must make a choice about whether to resign from one provincial body while obtaining membership in the next.
If you are moving to another province and will be working and/or representing yourself as a CPA (personally or publicly) while in that province, you should contact the local CPA body to obtain more information about whether or not you need to gain membership in that province and, if so, how to apply for CPA membership.
Once you have obtained membership in another provincial body, it’s important to let CPA Alberta know that your extra-provincial membership has been approved. Maintaining membership in more than one provincial body will result in a reduction to the amount of fees paid to the provincial body where you don’t generally work/reside (what are termed affiliate fees). By promptly notifying CPA Alberta of any additional CPA memberships, your annual fees can be adjusted as appropriate.
Maintaining membership with CPA Alberta
As mentioned above, retiring or moving to another province does not prohibit you from continuing to maintain membership in CPA Alberta, and there are a number of benefits to maintaining your status as a CPA Alberta member. As well, there are some cases when continuing your membership in CPA Alberta is mandatory. The following points should be carefully considered when weighing resignation of your CPA Alberta membership.
Continue to work in Alberta
You must maintain your CPA Alberta membership if you continue to work and/or personally represent yourself as a CPA in Alberta. If you are living outside of Alberta, but continue to serve Alberta-based clients, you should contact CPA Alberta to determine the need to maintain CPA Alberta membership.
Continue membership benefits/services
CPA Alberta provides a wide range of services to its members, including: professional development opportunities, career and advisory services, insurance through CPA Insurance Plans West Benefits Program, and communication about the CPA profession and the unique environment in Alberta.
CPA Alberta also provides opportunities for members to meet and talk with professional colleagues, through a number of events each year. These are great opportunities for Alberta CPAs to come together to mingle with old friends or expand their network, and include formal events such as awards and recognition events, including Convocation, the Elevate Awards Gala, and the Chair’s Long Service Awards, as well as more informal activities, such as networking events and the CEO Town Halls.
Continued CPA Alberta pride and sentiment
As an Alberta CPA, you may have worked hard and long hours to obtain and keep your membership, often over many years. Pride in your Alberta CPA designation and the sentiment of maintaining your CPA Alberta membership cannot be understated. Should you choose to resign as a member of CPA Alberta, all Alberta-issued membership certificates (both CPA and legacy designation(s), as appropriate) must be returned to CPA Alberta prior to resignation.
Consequences of resignation
Use of the CPA or legacy designation(s)
Resigning your membership in the only provincial accounting body in which you hold the CPA designation (i.e., resigning from CPA Alberta and not joining any other CPA provincial body) will also result in your CPA Canada membership being cancelled. You will no longer be able to represent yourself as a CPA or with a legacy designation (CGA, CMA, or CA), if applicable.
The Chartered Professional Accountants Act restricts the performance of audit and review services in Alberta to only members of CPA Alberta. This may affect you if you wish to consider providing such services now or in the future.
CPA Insurance Plans West Benefit Program coverage
An individual must be a member of a western provincial body in order to have coverage with the CPA Insurance Plans West Benefit Program. If you are insured by CPAIPW, your coverage will be affected by your resignation.
Re-establishing your membership
If, in the future, you wish to re-establish your membership, you should note that there is generally no monetary gain for having left; you would be required to fulfil the re-admission criteria in place at the time of your application, including repayment of fees for the years when you were resigned. Information regarding the current re-admission criteria can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If, after thoughtful consideration, you determine that resignation is the path you wish to take, you will need to complete the following steps in order to resign:
- Complete the resignation request form and submit to email@example.com.
- Return all Alberta membership certificate(s) issued. This includes your CPA certificate and all legacy certificates (provincial and national) you have been issued.
- Return all Alberta membership cards issued (if any). This will primarily affect those members holding the legacy CGA designation.
- If, in addition to membership, you hold registration of a professional accounting firm (PAF) or professional corporation (PC), these registrations must be properly ceased prior to CPA Alberta accepting your resignation. For additional information about ceasing the registration of a PAF and/or a PC, please visit our website.
- A member cannot be in arrears for payment of fees, levies, fines, costs or any penalties. In order to avoid penalties, please ensure all documentation is received by the CPA Alberta prior to the published penalty assessment deadlines.
Your resignation will not be approved until all of the above requirements have been met. Until your resignation has been approved, you remain a member of CPA Alberta and are subject to all the ongoing requirements and obligations of being a member.