The role of CPA Alberta’s Practical Experience team: Critical to a candidate’s success.

The role of CPA Alberta’s Practical Experience team: Critical to a candidate’s success.

Hello, CPA Candidates!

We are the Practical Experience team at CPA Alberta, and we wanted to introduce ourselves and provide information on how we support you and your journey to becoming a CPA.

Our role is to oversee the experience component of the CPA Certification Program. The CPA Certification Program is comprised of the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP), the Common Final Examination (CFE), and the practical experience requirements. The CPA Western School of Business (CPAWSB) administers CPA PEP and the CFE, whereas CPA Alberta oversees the practical experience component.

In the certification program, you can gain experience through either the Pre-approved Program Route (PPR), the Experience Verification Route (EVR), or a combination of the two. In PPR, experience reporting for candidates is streamlined as we have worked with the employer to develop an approved training plan. On the other hand, EVR allows you to work for a variety of employers and in a number of roles—not just those pre-approved by the profession. Due to this variety and flexibility in EVR, we cannot pre-approve the experience, and experience reporting can be less streamlined than PPR as we rely on you to provide us with details of your experience.

When you submit your practical experience, one of our CPA Reviewers assesses it. These individuals are CPAs with backgrounds in public practice, industry, and/or government. They have extensive training in the CPA competencies and experience assessment process. To better understand your role and appropriately award your achieved competencies, a Reviewer may contact you with questions and/or revisions once they’ve reviewed your file. It is important that you report your experience in a timely manner—the sooner we are able to provide feedback on your experience, the greater your chances of success.

Here are few quick tips to help you report your experience:

  • When reporting EVR experience, ensure you give us at least two specific examples of the work you are performing so that we can better understand your role. If you don’t, you can expect revisions from your Reviewer!
  • After 12 months of experience, the typical candidate will only have a few level 1s and maybe one level 2. No role is going to allow you to demonstrate all 20 sub-competencies, so only report on the ones directly related to your job.
  • If you are self-employed or providing accounting services (such as tax services) outside of a firm, please contact us for specific advice.

While the Practical Experience team’s primary function is to assess your experience and ensure that only qualifying experience is recognized, we are also here to help you on your CPA journey.

If you ever have any practical experience questions, you can reach us at 1.844.454.1244 or at PracticalExperience@cpaalberta.ca and a member of the team will be happy to help you. We also have some great resources at www.cpaalberta.ca/PracticalExperience. However, please keep in mind that there are nearly 4,000 candidates in Alberta, and it may take us a few days to get back to you. We answer all enquiries in the order in which they entered our queue; so, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as you have a question.

We look forward to getting to know you over your term of practical experience and helping you achieve your goal of becoming a CPA!

CPA Alberta Practical Experience Team