This profile was originally published in the Mar/Apr 2017 issue of CPABC in Focus magazine.
Q&A by Suzanne Berry
Choosing a reporting path to complete the CPA program’s practical experience requirement may not qualify as an individual’s biggest life decision, but it’s a very important one. It can also be a little tricky, as there are two options to choose from to complete the CPA Practical Experience Requirements (CPA PER): the Experience Verification Route (EVR) and the Pre-Approved Program Route (PPR).
While the two paths share common elements, each has unique aspects tailored to suit an individual’s career goals. For insight on the PPR path, which is designed for those who plan to practice public accounting, CPABC in Focus chatted with new member Mandy Cheung about her experience.
What made you decide to pursue the PPR?*
I believed public accounting would provide me with the most exposure to a variety of industries, and the PPR reporting path lent itself best to my position in public practice. In university, I knew I wanted to study accounting and obtain my CPA, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to end up. In public practice, there’s constant exposure to a diverse portfolio of clients, which allowed me to learn not only what public accounting is all about, but also, which industries interest me. The PPR route gave me insight into what I really want out of my CPA career.
What level of interaction did you have with your program manager and program leader?
Both were always available to answer my questions and provide details on how to develop the competencies I needed to complete and obtain my CPA. I am so grateful to all my coaches and colleagues at KPMG for their support!
Each CPA student is required to have a mentor for the CPA PER to help them develop their technical and enabling competencies. What was that experience like?
My mentor was a great resource—providing knowledge, sharing insights and experience, and assisting me with my development. Over the years, I built up my confidence and my presence, and I have my mentor to thank for pushing me to grow as a professional and take on more leadership roles. The competencies are extremely important, and I’m glad to have had a mentor to support me on my journey.
What was most influential in the development of your technical competencies?
Most of my development in terms of my technical competencies came from the progressively more complex issues I came across during audits. I learned over the training period to identify, analyze, and reach conclusions on issues as they came up, and I had the support of my managers, who guided me through the appropriate approaches in the technical aspects of accounting and assurance.
What advice would you have for a future CPA student pursing the PPR?
Be committed. The path is not easy, as it comes with months of studying to complete the three-day CFE, and my PPR position in public practice also included countless hours performing year-end audits. But it’s all worth it.
Any other words of wisdom to share?
Remember—you will always keep learning. My experience has allowed me to grow deeply as a professional, and I can see the difference in the “me” now from the “me” I was a few years ago coming out of UBC with a bachelor’s degree.
Thank you, Mandy!
*Candidates interested in public accounting post-certification must earn their practical experience through a PPR position that will provide them with the necessary assurance and financial reporting chargeable hours in addition to earning the requisite proficiency levels. If not earned pre-certification, members will be subject to a “bridging” program post-qualification. More information about both training paths is provided at cpacanada.ca.