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CPA practical experience: Pre-approved program information for employers

Is the pre-approved program the right fit for your organization as your CPA students/candidates complete their practical experience requirements? Assess your options, consider the benefits of the pre-approved program and learn more about your responsibilities as an employer.

Employers can choose to offer a pre-approved program to support training future CPAs as they earn their practical experience requirements in the CPA certification program.

To assess whether a pre-approved program is suitable for your organization, ask these two key questions:

  1. Does my organization hire at least one future CPA each year?
  2. Can my organization commit to providing senior-level ownership of the training program?

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then your organization should consider adopting a pre-approved program.

Benefits of a pre-approved program:

  • Efficiency. There are significantly fewer reporting requirements in the pre-approved program for future CPAs and their employers than in the verification route for organizations that regularly hire future CPAs.
  • Certainty. Practical experience is completed within 30 months (24-months in Quebec).
  • Oversight. Your organization has control over who is in the program.
  • Recruitment. The program can act as a powerful recruitment tool for hiring future CPAs.
  • Cost. There is no direct cost to obtain and maintain approval status.

An employer’s responsibilities within a pre-approved program

If you pursue the pre-approved program route for your CPA students and candidates, you must commit to meeting the following responsibilities:

  • Maintain senior-level ownership of the program by appointing a pre-approved program leader(s).
  • Provide a working environment that prepares future CPAs to become certified CPAs by providing supervision, guidance and instruction on practical ethical issues through on-the-job training and progress reviews.
  • Offer structured training positions which provide a sufficient range of progressively complex assignments and increasing responsibility to allow future CPAs to achieve the required practical experience in the technical and enabling competencies within 30 months of employment.
  • Ensure future CPAs are documenting their developing competencies in the profession's online reporting tool (PERT).
  • Provide a supervisor and CPA mentor for all future CPAs within the program.
  • Provide time away from the office for future CPAs to write any weekday examinations.

The Pre-approved Program: Does It Work for My Organization? provides more information for employers about CPA Canada’s pre-approved program.

If you think a pre-approved program is right for your organization, please contact your provincial/regional body to schedule a meeting.