CPABC in Focus July/August 2016 - Page 24

Providing Clarity on the CPA Practical Experience Requirements From CPABC’s PER Team I n the May/June issue of the magazine (page 16), we highlighted a recent change made to the practical experience requirements for CPA candidates—specifically, the removal of the 100 Tax Hours requirement for CPA certification. As we noted, CPA candidates1 who elected to follow the CA legacy practical experience requirements (CA PER) are no longer required to complete the 100 Tax Hours that previously formed part of the CA minimum practical experience requirements.2 We also explained that the profession’s minimum practical experience requirements for certification may differ from those required to enter a public accounting licensed pathway, and noted that the removal of the 100 Tax Hours requirement from both our CPA certification and licensed pathways does not remove the other chargeable-hour requirements expected of our various licensed pathways. As the above paragraph illustrates, the practical experience requirements are complex and nuanced. Recognizing this, and given that we continue to receive inquiries from members, employers, and candidates about the requirements, we wanted to provide some additional clarity. Below, some FAQs: Although different in format, both routes share the following requirements: • Students must gain relevant and progressive experience and develop as professional accountants. • Students’ practical experience must be supervised appropriately. • Students must record detailed experience reports at regular intervals. • Students must meet and discuss progress with a CPA mentor on a semi-annual basis. • Experience must be assessed by the CPA profession. Q: How do the CPA practical experience requirements (CPA PER) differ from those of the legacy bodies? A: The new CPA PER are based on the CPA Competency Map, which sets the standards for the technical and enabling competencies required of a newly certified CPA through education, evaluation, and experience. While legacy body practical experience requirements were similar in nature to the CPA PER, they were based on their own respective legacy body competency maps. Q: Is one route easier than the other? A: Both routes are equally demanding and aim to enable CPA candidates to develop the appropriate CPA competencies through relevant experience, progression, and mentoring. However, note the answer below regarding candidates seeking future licensure. Q: From what I understand, there are two routes to completing the CPA PER. What are these routes, and how do they differ? A: Yes, there are two routes candidates can take to complete the CPA PER. a) Pre-approved program route (PPR) – In this route, employers offer training positions that have been pre-approved by the profession. These positions are designed to meet the CPA PER within 30 months. b) Experience verification route (EVR) – In this route, students are given the flexibility to demonstrate relevant competencies as they gain them at an employer of their choice. The candidate completes an initial assessment, which is reviewed by the profession. This initial review helps ensure that the candidate’s employment is on the right track to meeting their experience requirements. Q: Could a candidate switch from one route to the other partway through their practical experience? A: Candidates can complete their practical experience through either route or a combination of both. However, if a candidate is seeking future licensure in the audit or review categories, they must complete their entire 30-month practical experience term in a pre-approved path. “CPA candidates” are individuals who are registered in the CPA Professional Education 1 Program (CPA PEP) and who will write or have written the new Common Final Exam (CFE). The change is not applicable to legacy CA candidates in the audit and review paths—these 2 individuals must still complete the 100 Tax Hours requirement in the CA PER. 24  CPABC in Focus • July/August 2016 Q: What is the duration of practical experience required? A: Candidates are required to complete a term of relevant practical experience of no less than 30 months of employment. This 30-month period of employment includes an allowance of up to 20 weeks’ leave from work.