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CEO Update - July 2023 - The Government Will Eye Bookkeeping Standards in Canada
Last month, CPB Canada, on behalf of its membership, prepared a submission to the Federal Government on the Anti-Money-Laundering / Anti-Terrorist Financing (AML/ATF) Regime Consultations.
As part of this process, CPB Canada staff and its Public Affairs Task Force reviewed the Consultation Document. They found several areas of importance for Canada's Bookkeeping professionals. In particular, CPB Canada's Submission outlines our concern that bookkeepers currently operate without any formal responsibility and, in turn, zero formal accountability around “triggering mechanisms” for money-laundering activities in Canada.
This is important because the current AML regime has a significant gap in using the term "accountant" only to reference CPAs. This gap with regards to anti-money laundering came to light through British Columbia's Cullen Commission. Their report noted that "unregulated accountants" don't hold any formal responsibility, and there is little knowledge about the scope or breadth of the province’s unregulated accounting industry. Yet, the Commission Report noted how much larger the "unregulated accountants" were compared to CPAs. In fact, of the 89,000 accountants in British Columbia, only 31,000 are CPAs.
At CPB Canada, we know that "unregulated accountants" are primarily bookkeepers. This large group within the industry serves as front-line support (from core bookkeeping to being small business consultants) for most, if not all, of Canada's small and medium-sized businesses. Yet, "unregulated accountants" in the eyes of the government operate without any regulatory scope of influence or support.
To that end, CPB Canada is responding the Consultation by stating that "unregulated accountants," as they define it, should hold triggering responsibilities for anti-money laundering efforts. To do this, CPB Canada is willing to provide the government a mechanism to access the pool of "unregulated accountants."
However, this ability is limited until there is a much deeper understanding of Canada's bookkeeping industry and the government to ensure issues like AML/ATF and others are better coordinated through Canada's accounting community.
Through this recommendation, CPB Canada will continue to advocate for and elevate our stand-alone professional standard for bookkeeping across Canada. Part of this will be better reflecting the bookkeeping industry and advocating the Federal Government and Provinces to recognize CPB Canada and its members as a legitimate conduit to the unregulated accounting industry.
CPB Canada, since 2007, has demonstrated leadership by creating a robust competency based CPB designation, along with formal professional and ethical requirements, and our members continue to raise the bar as professionals with their commitment and leadership