CPA rotational program: what you need to know

CPA rotational program: what you need to know

Many of CPA Alberta’s current pre-approved program (PPR) employers offer what is referred to as a “rotational program.” But what is a rotational program and how does it work practically for employers and their candidates?

In a rotational program, a candidate would spend between six to 18 months gaining experience in each of two or more different business areas within an organization; the depth, breadth, and core requirements can be combined across all rotational areas to meet the CPA practical experience requirements within 30 months.

There are several reasons that employers choose to offer a rotational program:

  • It can be difficult at times to satisfy the breadth requirements within a specific role that may be primarily concentrated in one competency area. A rotational program enables that functional area to still train candidates for a portion of their experience.
  • Rotational programs provide the candidate with an exceptional learning opportunity to understand multiple facets of the business. Candidates are then able to leverage this business knowledge later, regardless of which department they ultimately end up working in once they are designated.
  • Rotations can allow employers to plan for busier periods like quarter- and year-ends and maximize resources where business needs make sense for them.
  • Rotational programs are highly desirable to candidates and can be a great recruiting tool.

Generally, the duration will range between six to 18 months for each rotation and will vary depending on several factors. When considering a rotational program, employers are first asked to look at how many sub-competencies candidates will have exposure to within each role in each rotation. Where sub-competencies are limited in exposure, it makes most sense for candidates to spend less time in those rotations in order to ensure that they will be able to meet all requirements within 30 months.

Employers will also need to consider that the rotation awarding the area of depth should be at least 12 months in duration in order to provide candidates with adequate opportunities for progression and exposure to more complex work. An employer will often be approved for several rotations to provide options to either the employer, the candidate, or both, and there can be different combinations that could satisfy the program requirements. Approval for several rotations can build in flexibility and ensure that employers can manage business needs.

CPA Alberta’s Practical Experience team has a dedicated group available to work with organizations interested in exploring a rotational program and becoming a pre-approved program provider. Practical Experience can provide assistance in determining which rotations make sense, how to align the work to the CPA competency requirements, and how to make it all fit together. Contact ppr@cpaalberta.ca to get started.