Employers can support their employees in many ways. Understanding the expectations and requirements of the CPA Professional Education Program is a good place to start. Your employee will be expected to meet the 3 “Es”: Education, Examination, and Experience requirements in order to achieve the CPA designation. Employers can provide support in one or all of these areas. Some of the ways we have seen employers support employees include:
providing financial support for the CPA Professional Education Program,
offering paid leave for the student to prepare for or write exams, and
providing relevant qualifying work experience, appropriate supervision, and mentorship from a designated CPA on staff to their employee.
If a prospective CPA student hasn’t completed a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Accounting – or completed their education more than 10 years ago – they may need to take one or more preparatory courses before gaining entry into the Professional Education Program (PEP).
Students who want to complete or upgrade any of the preparatory courses can do so at post-secondary institutions across British Columbia. For a list of course offerings, please see the Transfer Credit Guides. All preparatory courses are also available through the CPA Western School of Business (CPAWSB).
In British Columbia, the Professional Education Program is only offered through the CPA Western School of Business.
Experience is one of the three “Es” described above. One of the requirements of the Professional Education Program is that the student develops and demonstrates both technical and enabling competencies through practical work experience.
A student must complete the educational and experience requirements of the PEP within the following time periods:
PEP educational component: six years from the time of enrolment
Practical experience requirements: seven years from the time of enrolment
There is no time limit on completing the preparatory courses.
Most students complete the requirements in less time than the assigned time limits. The typical time frame to complete the Professional Education Program for most candidates is approximately 2.5 years. As such, the time limits provided are generous and allow for flexibility in completing the requirements.
The estimated time to complete the Practical Experience Requirements varies depending on several factors, including the reporting path and responsibilities of a candidate. Students who would like to gain a better understanding of how their role is tracking towards completion of the Practical Experience Requirements are encouraged to contact CPABC at PracticalExperience@bccpa.ca.
The cost of the CPA Professional Education Program is approximately $12,000. See the schedule of fees for the CPA Professional Education Program or the fee schedules for the CPA Preparatory Courses. Since the program is designed for CPA students to continue working while studying – applying the skills they’re learning as they go – many employers offer some form of support for employees as they progress through the program.
Work experience is not generally accepted as a substitute for the prerequisite academic courses required for entry into the CPA Professional Education Program. Find more information on the entrance requirements for the CPA Professional Education Program.
Yes. Candidates needing support in passing the CFE may contact the CPA Western School of Business for access to these supports at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employers supporting candidates through the modules can gain access to the CPAWSB Employer Portal in order to see registration information and module results for their candidates. More information along with the application process and access can be found at: CPAWSB Employer Portal.
Employers can reference an overview of CPA programs and the resources available to those who employ CPA students and candidates at: CPAWSB Employer Resource Guide.
There are many resources available to help students prepare for the CFE. The Certification Resource Centre on the CPA Canada website is considered the go-to location for all exam-related resources. Resources that are specifically focused on helping a student prepare for the CFE are found under Resources for CPA Evaluation.
The Certification Resource Centre offers candidates a wealth of information, including examination blueprints, prior-year CFE reports, mapping and sample solutions, case examples, and marking guides.
Students may also wish to consult the module exam resources such as practice exams with solutions, the CPA Competency Map, examination blueprints, mock exam cases, and evaluation guides.
CPA Canada releases annual examination pass rates for both the CPA PEP module examinations and the CFE. The CPA examination pass rates can be downloaded from the CPA Canada website, on the Resources for CPA Evaluation page.
The Pre-approved Program Route is designed to provide candidates with all of the required practical experience within 30 months. The length of time it takes to complete the practical experience requirements through the Experience Verification Route varies, as the CPA candidate is reporting their experience as it is gained. To ensure currency, all practical experience requirements must be gained in positions that ended in the last seven years (five years for public accounting). Please see the Practical Experience Requirements for more details.
If an employer is interested in having a position pre-approved, they will need to contact CPABC’s Practical Experience Team at PracticalExperience@bccpa.ca. A staff member will work with them to determine if they are eligible, and if so, will then create a Competency Map for the position outlining how the Practical Experience competency requirements can be met over the course of the required minimum 30 months of experience.
For those students following the PPR reporting path, the Program Manager will assign the mentor from within the organization.
For qualifying practical experience for the audit and (where applicable) review and compilation streams, mentors must also be in public accounting.
The roles involved in the reporting process depend upon the reporting path. Here is a brief outline of those involved and who must be designated:
PPR – Program Manager (designation not required), Mentor (designation required), Program Leader (designation required)
EVR – Supervisor (designation not required), Mentor (designation required)
Yes! Mentors have access to the Centre for Mentoring Resources, which is located on the CPA Canada website. The Centre’s mentorship resources include factsheets, videos, and webinars.
The Centre for Mentoring Resources can also be accessed on the CPABC website under Students/Candidates and CPA Practical Experience Requirements (PER) – simply expand the Mentor tab.
Members are required to report their CPD activities on CPABC’s Online Services secure website (https://services.bccpa.ca). The reporting deadline is January 31 for the previous calendar year.
Members may report their completed CPD activities throughout the year.