This profile was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of CPABC in Focus magazine.
Q&A by Suzanne Berry
In the last issue of CPABC in Focus, we profiled Mandy Cheung, CPA, a new member who had recently completed the CPA Practical Experience Requirements (CPA PER) by following the Pre-Approved Program Route (PPR). In this issue, we interview two individuals who recently completed their CPA PER through the other reporting path option, the Experience Verification Route (EVR).
The EVR gives candidates the chance to obtain experience within a variety of roles in industry. Ben Glover, CPA, completed his practical experience while working as a financial reporting manager with Shoes.com and earned his designation in April. Hillary Connelly works in the film industry as a production accountant with Circle Productions Ltd.
What made you decide to pursue the EVR?*
Ben: I was already working in industry. The role I was in had only recently been created, and it was continuing to evolve. The EVR lent itself best to accommodating this evolution.
Hillary: The opportunity to work in film came to me through a recruiter. I’d always worked in industry, and I wanted to work for a company that was interested in supporting a CPA student. Circle Productions provided me with the progression and learning opportunities I needed to complete my training through the EVR path.
Where did you find your mentor?
Ben: My mentor was a CPA, CA within my organization. He was someone whose career I respected.
Hillary: My mentor was one of my former university professors. After I graduated, I asked her if she’d be interested in mentoring me. I had a great relationship with her, so I always left our meetings feeling positive.
What was the best advice you received from your mentor?
Ben: He told me that if there were areas I wanted exposure to, I just needed to ask! And because I followed this advice, I was able to get involved in many more opportunities than my job description originally allowed for.
Hillary: She encouraged me to be diligent and to not let the entire CPA process overwhelm me. It’s a tough program, and having her there as my cheerleader was a big help.
How did the Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT) system support your reporting?
Ben: The PERT system allowed me to track the tasks I’d performed so I didn’t have to rely on memory two years after the fact. It also allowed me to see how tasks were graded on the proficiency scale, which enabled me to really focus on the tasks that would enhance my skills as a CPA and gain the experience necessary to qualify.
Hillary: I appreciated the examples provided under each competency grouping in the PERT system. I took care to ensure that I was expressing my experience in as much detail as possible and using the language suggested in the examples to give evaluators a clear sense of what my job entailed.
Do you have any words of wisdom for future CPA students pursing the EVR?
Ben: This path gives you the freedom and flexibility to create your own journey, gaining experience in the areas you enjoy and want to develop.
Hillary: Ask a lot of questions and make sure your current or potential employer will provide the progression needed to get your experience approved—or is at least open to the idea of giving you opportunities to learn. Also, do your reports on time, meet with your mentor regularly, and register to begin your experience as soon as you start the program.
Thank you, Ben and Hillary!
*More information about both training paths (PPR and EVR) is provided at cpacanada.ca.