Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory title of qualified accountants, who have passed the mandatory Certified Public Accountant Examination. In Kenya the Official recognised examining body for CPAs is KASNEB.
CPA exams are aimed at
- producing professional accountants with up to date and advanced knowledge in the areas of accounting,taxation,auditing and assurance and financial management,
- imparting professional values and ethics,communication skills,creativity,innovation and ability to generate new ideas
- providing a basis for the application of advanced knowledge in accounting and cognate subjects to different situations.
The CPA examination is held twice yearly in June and December. The examination is divided into three parts of two sections each. Each section consists of three papers.Candidates must pass the lower part before proceeding to the other part.
The examination is rigorous and standards are high and therefore a candidate is advised to devote approximately the equivalent of eighteen months of full time study for each part of the examination. Ideally therefore, a student should be able to complete the CPA examination in between four and a half and six years.
A student should programme the studies in such a way that makes it possible to take and pass the three parts in a duration of between four and a half and six years following the date of registration as a student of KASNEB.
The CPA examination is benchmarked on the international standards promulgated by International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB), International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB). The CPA examination therefore meets the requirements of International Education Standards (IESs), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), International Accounting Standards (IASs), International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) and International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs).
The IESs prescribe requirements relating to entry, professional training and practice as required by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) for the qualification programme for professional accountants.
The entry requirements of IES 1 for professional accountancy course are the minimum entry requirements for admission for a university degree course. The entry requirements are country specific. Holders of final CPA certificates are eligible for admission to pursue masters and other higher degrees in reputable universities, both in Kenya and foreign countries.
Students taking the CPA examination are advised to look for ways and means of acquiring practical experience so that they can match progress in examination with competence in performance of duties in the work environment. This is a requirement of IES 5 which provides for practical experience as part of the pre-qualification programme. The minimum period of experience required is three years. The practical experience may be gained during or after the qualification process.
Upon qualifying, the CPA examination graduates are equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills they require in order to present themselves to the public as professional accountants.