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ISA/BIT Learning Center Announcements
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Welcome to the ISA/BIT Learning Centre!

Objective of the Learning Centre

A key objective of the learning centre is to provide an opportunity for students who may be interested in an IT specialty to complete the prescribed specialist education program and earn one or both of the Graduate Diplomas in Information Technology offered by the School of Accountancy at the University of Waterloo (subject to approval by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies or OCGS):
  • The Diploma in Information System Assurance (ISA), and
  • The Diploma in Business Information Technology (BIT).

Both of these diplomas are still subject to OCGS approval.

These diploma programs will be offered by distance education as described below.

Another objective of the Learning Centre is to provide specific courses on selected topics to interested parties on demand.

IT and the Accounting Profession

The term "information technology", or IT, encompasses hardware and software products, information system operations and management processes, and the human resources and skills required to apply those products and processes to the task of information production and information system development, operation, management and control.

IT is one of the core competencies of professional accountants and deserves special attention due to its explosive growth and its rapid rate of change.

IT plays a vital role in supporting the activities of both profit-oriented and not-for-profit organizations. Professional accountants, in addition to extensively using various types of information technologies, often play important managerial, advisory and evaluative roles in connection with the adoption, deployment and use of various information technologies by organizations of all types and sizes.

Society expects that professional accountants who accept an engagement or occupation have the required level of competence to perform the work required. The accountancy profession as a whole has the obligation to ensure that candidates for membership possess necessary IT competencies, and the credibility of the accountancy profession depends on its success in fulfilling this obligation. In addition, the accountancy profession has an obligation to ensure that, after qualifying, members keep abreast of relevant developments through continuing professional education.

International Education Guideline 11 identifies the following IT knowledge and competency requirements for professional accountants:

  • a set of general IT knowledge requirements related to business systems;
  • a set of knowledge and competency requirements related to IT controls;
  • a set of competency requirements related to the accountant's role as a user of IT; and
  • a set of role-related competency requirements associated with one of the following generic IT roles:
    • manager,
    • designer,
    • evaluator
    • or an alternative role defined by an IFAC member body.

IT Specializations

In recognition of the expanded knowledge and competency requirements in a number of specialized fields the accounting profession has embarked on a specialization program. Within the large and diverse area of Information Technology, there are a number of recognized or evolving specializations, including:

  • IT security, control and assurance
  • IT strategy, design and business process enablement

The first is the specialization area of ISACA – the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. The CICA has entered into an accreditation agreement with ISACA that permits qualified CAs to link their CA designation with the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation. A CA specializing in this area will be identified as "CA•CISA".

The second is the "CA•IT" specialization oriented towards a CA who applies business acumen, strategic insight and understanding of IT to help organizations succeed".

There is some overlap in the core competencies between the two specialties. However, the focus of each specialty is quite different, as are the associated business roles.

UW MAcc IT Stream

The UW MAcc IT stream is a package of IT-related courses that provides the core courses required by either the CA•CISA or CA•IT specializations. Thus, students can get a head start on fulfilling the education requirements of the ISA and BIT diplomas.

The IT Stream is an efficient and effective way to prepare for IT-related job opportunities upon graduation. It will enable students to educate themselves to participate in the "New Economy" and differentiate themselves to employers seeking qualified candidates as well as accelerate their compensation scale.

University of Waterloo MAcc students may earn a portion of a diploma by completing the IT Stream within the School of Accountancy's MAcc program, and will be able complete the balance of the education requirements of an IT speciality on a part time basis while employed in IT risk assessment, assurance or consulting roles in a professional services firm, industry or government.

Non-UW students may apply for these Diploma programs and complete them on a part time basis.

By successfully completing a BIT Diploma, students will be able to reduce the pre-certification experience requirements for the CA•IT accreditation from 3 years to 2 years.

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