The CPA Order would require college students from areas to journey for the ultimate examination

A decision by the Quebec CPA Order means that students from these three institutions will have to travel to Montreal, Quebec City, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières or Sherbrooke to take the exam in September.

For the first time in more than 25 years, students from Rouyn-Noranda, Saguenay and Rimouski will have to leave their region for the major centers to take the exam, which takes place over a period of three days.

To pay for travel expenses, the Quebec CPA Order offers students a compensation of $350.

The co-director of the DESS program in accounting sciences at UQAT, François-Michel Denommé, considers the Order’s decision to be very disappointing.

“The first reaction, of course, was a lot of disappointment at the time. It took me a little 24 hours to digest all of this, but then we realized it didn’t make sense, he says.

It is a blow to the flanks for the profession in the regions, for the expertise in the regions and for the mission that we give ourselves at the University, but also the accountants who are in the regions. »

a quote from François-Michel Denommé, co-director of the DESS program in accounting sciences at UQAT

François-Michel Denommé, co-director of the DESS program in accounting sciences at UQAT.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Michel Cotnoir

Possible consequences

In addition to the financial costs associated with moving to a large center, Mr. Denommé argues that the decision to close three regional exam centers could have multiple consequences for the students and universities involved.

We talk about stress, after all it is the test of a lifetime, these students are playing their careers. In the medium and long term, we think it could have a negative effect on the perception of our program, which is a complete program in Abitibi. We have one of the best programs in Quebec, our students do very well on exams. We don’t need to be ashamed of what we have here, we have a top notch program, but here, we are afraid that this perception will fade over time.he says.

According to Jade Brière, a student in the program and a candidate for the CPA profession, having to take the exam outside the region represents a stress that she and her colleagues would prefer to avoid.

I was very disappointed to know that I will have to travel to take the exam, it is already a very important step in our life, it is very stressful as an exam. The fact of having to go to another unknown place, brings more stress. Also, we were told that we would confirm our exam location only three weeks in advance so we are a little uncertain, it’s really not pleasant or comfortableshe points.

Jade Brière, candidate for the CPA profession.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Michel Cotnoir

$350 for a three or four day trip

As for the amount offered in compensation for the trip, Jade Brière agrees with Mr. Denommé, in the sense that it will clearly be insufficient to cover the expenses incurred.

Our exam is a three day exam so we will have to rent a hotel room for three to four days in addition to travel, with the price of gas that has gone up, the cost of meals and hotel room is actually over $350she points.

According to François-Michel Denommé, the heart of the problem is not financial. What we want is not money, not more money. What we basically want is for these exam centers to be able to reopenhe mentions, speaking of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay and Rimouski.

The CPA Order explained

By email, the president and executive director of the Ordre des CPA du Québec, Geneviève Mottard, said she was aware of the repercussions of the this difficult decision.

The decision to take the exam at five regional centers instead of eight is based on the opinions and advice of computer security experts who accompany us during the exams. The return of face-to-face exams, the use of a new version of the exam software, and the shortage of highly qualified personnel trained on the new software are among the determining factors that were taken into consideration.says Mrs. Mottard.

Mrs. Mottard also indicates that the closing of the three exam centers for the exam next September will be reconsidered for the next few years, depending on the evolution of the context in which the exam will be held.

The University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Michel Cotnoir

Disgruntled Minister Dufour

Contacted by Rádio-Canada, the Minister responsible for Abitibi-Témiscamingue and deputy for Abitibi-Est, Pierre Dufour, indicated that he had contacted the Minister of Higher Education, Danielle McCann, immediately after hearing the news.

First, both Danielle McCann and I find this very deplorable. Second, he sends the wrong message from the Order. Rouyn-Noranda, among others, is a very popular sector in terms of accounting, it has always been a very recognized sector. To see that we are forcing students to be transferred abroad to take that exam, with a paltry amount of money, I can say one thing, let’s try to see that this situation is absorbed. The exam is in September, which gives Ms. McCann took some time to work on the file, but I can tell you one thing, we’re not very happy with the situation today.says Mr. Dufour.

For Luc Filiatreault, CPA and partner of the MNP, it is important that the entire process leading to the title can be carried out in the regions, including the examination by the Order.

At MNP, we are regional offices and all our recruitment is done through regional universities. It has an impact because recruiting is difficult for us and for a lot of companies, so adding certain restrictions like that, I think recruiting will be even more difficult. We need as many students as possible, so we must remove these restrictions and allow the exam to be taken in regions.he says.

A damaged attractiveness

Minister Dufour, like Professor Denommé, maintains that the compensation offered to students by the CPA Order is not sufficient, but argues that this is not the main issue.

For me, it’s not even a compensation. We have students who gravitate to Rouyn-Noranda, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Rimouski. We need to find a way to ensure these exams take place in their respective regions. I think that’s the logic, it’s not trying to start finding a work methodology that again just centralizes some kind of decision-makinghe said.

According to Mr. Dufour, the attractiveness of Abitibi-Témiscamingue and other remote regions could be undermined by such decisions.

With the shortage of manpower, we are looking by all means to try to increase attractiveness. Elements like that go a little the other way around. For us, it’s about finding a way for students to take the exam in their respective environments. »

a quote from Pierre Dufour, minister responsible for Abitibi-Témiscamingue

For his part, François-Michel Denommé does not lose hope and hopes that the examination of the Order can be held in all regional examination centers next September.

In the very short term, we continued our efforts with the Order, both with the Board of Directors and with the administration. We want the centers to reopen, both in Rouyn, Rimouski and in Saguenayconcludes.

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