CPA - Certified Public Accountants

Organisation Profile

A professional qualification is invaluable when it comes to long term security and there has never been a better time to become a Certified Public Accountant. The CPA qualification is open to all and you do not need to be working in a relevant area to start your study. Flexible study options are available at our 24 approved educators around the country, including full time, part time, weekend distance and E-Learning options.

By becoming a CPA, you are joining a global network. Out of some two and a half million accountants globally, one million plus describe themselves as CPAs. CPA Ireland has a number of international recognition agreements in place with peer bodies in Australia, Canada and New Zealand among others.

As well as international borders, the CPA qualification transfers across all aspects of industry and business with a 70/30 split in our membership between business and practice respectively. CPAs work in amazingly diverse roles and industries, ranging from an emmy-nominated casting director to entrepreneurs to CEOs of large corporate concerns.

Having the designation CPA after your name tells the world you have the skill sets to face the present economic challenges head on. Our success, and the success of our students, reflects the strength of the CPA syllabus. The syllabus is continually changing to ensure that CPA accountants are progressive, innovative and proactive strategists capable of understanding and contributing towards business recovery and growth.

Career Opportunities

CPAs work in amazingly diverse roles and industries, ranging from an emmy-nominated casting director to entrepreneurs to CEOs of large corporate concerns.

CPA members and students work across a variety of roles in both practice and 'industry' including, sectors such as financial services, banking, manufacturing, construction, education and consultancy.

Entry Routes and Exemptions

There are various routes to entry to the CPA qualification and you do not need a business related degree to follow a career in accountancy.

Holders of recognised qualifications (post grad, degree, diploma, certificate, accounting technician etc.) may be entitled to various exemptions from the CPA exams.

The CPA programme comprises 15 examinations, made up of a foundation level and a professional level, and a fully integrated practical experience requirement. Your entry point into CPA Program will be determined by an individual assessment of your prior education and experience.

All exemptions are granted on a subject-by-subject basis to students. A pass mark of 50% must be achieved in the relevant subjects to be eligible for exemptions. To find out your exemption entitlements contact


Training is an essential part of the process of preparing CPA students for membership of the Institute. It has a number of elements, the most significant of which is supervised, practical experience in accounting-related work. Other relevant supervised activities, such as simulation, research, project work or certain training courses may also be included. Experience on its own does not constitute training. It must be progressive, supervised instruction and entail structured feedback.

There is a minimum of 3 years relevant supervised training required to apply for Membership of the CPA. That training can take place in practice (firm of accountants), industry or both. As a CPA student you are not tied down to a contract with only one employer. You are free to choose your job sector and your employer and you are in control of your career from the start. If a student has any previous, relevant experience this can also be taken into consideration.

Training typically takes place alongside exams. If a student finds themselves out of work or perhaps working in a non relevant area they are still eligible to proceed with the CPA qualification. Relevant training can be obtained at a later date. Students have up to three years from the date of their final exam to complete relevant training.

All students must complete and return a training record on an annual basis. The Training Records provide a means by which the student's relevant supervised training can be recorded and evaluated by the Institute on application to Membership. The general requirement of the Institute is that the student has a broad base of practical training upon application to Membership.

CPA launched the ATP programme in 2009 to provide a quality framework for your accounting training.  Under the guidance of the Institute, the ATP programme provides a framework delivering:

  • Structured Training Environment
  • Effective Career Management Strategy
  • Improved exam pass rates
  • Monitored training

Study & Exams

There are four stages of examinations with the CPA Institute; Formation 1 and 2 and Professional 1 and Professional 2.

Examinations are held twice yearly, at the end of April and end of August. Results are issued to students within 6 weeks of the final examination being held.

To be eligible to sit an examination in April, a candidate must have registered as a student with the Institute by 1 December and submitted an examination registration form by 1 March.

To be eligible to sit an examination in August, a candidate must have registered as a student with the Institute by 1 June and submitted an examination registration form by 1 August.

CPA offers students flexible study options. CPA students can choose part-time, full-time, weekend, distance and E-Learning programmes, or any combination of these.

CPA Students can opt to study in a number of different CPA Approved Educators, located around the country. Educators have been approved by the Institute on the basis of the suitability of their tuition and their commitment to providing student support.

The CPA Institute has 24 Approved Educators throughout Ireland, ten of which are classified as having Goldstar status. The Institute undertakes annual quality assurance reviews with each educator to ensure they continually satisfy the high standards in education delivery and are committed to providing student support. Approved Educators that are awarded “Goldstar” status, consistently exceed these standards.

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