Interested in a career in accounting? We’re not surprised. Accounting at the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business (DSB) has long been one of the school’s most popular majors, with the majority of students opting to pursue the pre-eminent and internationally recognized Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.

The CPA Education Foundation (CPAEF) is the charitable arm of the CPA profession in Alberta that works to foster excellence in future CPAs (like you) by supporting work of those who educate, inspire, and develop future CPAs (like us at the Dhillon School of Business). We’ve proudly and gladly been partnering with the CPAEF since its inception to ensure you have the best training and support on your CPA journey.

"The CPA Education Foundation is proud to support educational opportunities at the Dhillon School of Business and help uLethbridge students achieve their academic dreams along the way,” says Rachel Miller FCPA, FCA, Executive Director of the CPA Education Foundation.“We are committed to the business leaders of tomorrow and we hope that our contributions play a vital role in their success.”

Here we’re exploring three of the ways CPAEF and DSB are working to support students’ success today.

Funding students directly

If you’re even just thinking of pursuing a CPA designation (including at the high school level), the CPAEF has many student scholarships to help you pursue that dream. Whether it be sending you to a leadership forum or financial support to help you pursue post-secondary education, there are a myriad of ways CPAEF has your back.

As a Dhillon School of Business Bachelor of Management student, you’ll also have access to scholarships and awards specifically for your post-secondary journey at uLethbridge. We know they make a world of difference to our students, including Lily Wu (CPA Bridging Certificate '14). “The greatest thing about the student funding is it made me realize that I’m not alone in making life changes on my way to becoming a CPA,” she says. “Having the financial support, I was able to focus on the outstanding six courses and even afford to sign up for Toastmasters.”

The support doesn’t stop after you’ve graduated either. Once you’ve graduated, you’ll also be eligible to receive scholarships as you pursue your CPA designation through the CPA Professional Education Program. All this, because we really, really want you to succeed.

Program development

Another way the CPAEF has supported the DSB and created opportunities for students is through seed funding. 10 years ago, DSB faculty saw a need for a program that fast-tracked existing degree holders into an accounting career. The CPAEF eagerly got on board with the idea and the CPA Bridging program was born. Still the only one of its kind in Alberta, students can choose from three certificates that allow them to more easily pivot to a career in accounting (like Cinthia Salicioni [CPA Bridging Certificate '11] did) or upgrade and advance in their current accounting careers. The certificates have also been attractive to international students like Lily who received financial support specifically for international accounting students.

Most recently the CPAEF co-funded the Insight Series, a micro-course seminar program launching in fall of 2022. The six-course program will enhance accounting students’ human skills and ensure they’re future ready through critical thinking, creativity, adaptability and collaboration. They’re skills that the CPA Alberta have listed as critical to CPA’s and other professionals continuing to be relevant and valued in a world of increasing change. As a student or even a community member, you can check out the Insight Series courses (including when registration opens) here.

Innovation in the classroom

Every year, CPAEF also provides grants to support innovation in the classroom, including new case studies which give students practice solving the latest business challenges; integration of data analytics into; and specialized training for faculty ensuring they’re always on the top of their accounting game.

Faculty at the DSB have also been recipients of research grants which have been instrumental in their growth. Accounting professor Dr. James Smith, says that the CPA Educational Foundation generously supported him during his graduate studies to allow him to focus on his educational pursuit as well as recently provided a research grant that allowed him to investigate how accounting policies and disclosures impact investor decisions. “This understanding has allowed me to better communicate the importance of financial reporting to students,” says Smith. “With a better understanding of how financial reports impact the world around them, students are more prepared for their future careers as CPAs.”

The University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business offers flexible, experiential and supportive business education in Lethbridge, Calgary and online.