Unlike many other professionals, anyone can call themselves an accountant. The term accountant is not reserved or in any way restricted. This does not mean that a non-designated accountant is not competent, it only means that they do not have to adhere to the standards of professional accountants.
Chartered Professional accountants or CPAs (legacy CGA’s, CA’s and CMA’s) study for many years and are required to pass rigorous examinations before they can use their designations. Additionally, professional accountants are required to keep their knowledge up to date, which is closely monitored by the respective associations. Public accountants must go one step further and attend additional training and are required to carry insurance. Every three years, a mandatory practice review is conducted by the associations to ensure the quality of the work performed meets the high standards that you have come to expect.
For more information on professional accountants you can contact the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia