Practical Experience

Practical experience is a mandatory component of the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) program.

As a CPA student, you must complete a minimum 30 months of paid practical experience to enhance your studies

Practical experience is where you take your academic knowledge to the next level. Candidates get to apply their CPA academics with actual work experiences, integrating both academics and experience to become a successful and professional CPA.

In  order for candidates to complete the CPA certification program, and receive their CPA designation, candidates must successfully complete ALL 3 elements:

  1. Education – Complete the CPA Professional Education Program CPA PEP
  2. Experience – Complete a period of practical experience
  3. Examination – Pass the Common Final Examination (CFE)

All candidates completing the practical experience requirements must:

  • Gain a minimum of 30 months duration of relevant experience
  • Demonstrate progression and complexity within their reports and through-out their duration
  • Demonstrate competency in technical competencies through core, depth, and breadth
  • Demonstrate competency in enabling competencies
  • Maintain mentorship throughout their duration

Your 30-month of CPA practical experience must be gained within a seven-year rolling window of when you begin and end your CPA PEP studies.  

Access to CPA’s Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT)

When a candidate’s registration has been fully processed, the candidate will receive email notification with instructions on accessing the Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT).

Practical Experience Routes

There are two ways a candidate can complete their practical experience requirements:


Candidates completing their experience through a pre-approved program will be assigned a mentor through their employer and complete specific competencies that have been approved by the CPA profession and employer.

View CPA Atlantic’s organizations and companies listed as Pre-approved Program. This includes employment through public accounting firms, government and corporate business.

Are you an employer interested in becoming a PPR office? Click here to find out how to become a PPR.


  • Candidates must be employed in a relevant position
    • A relevant position to begin reporting CPA PER is a position that allows a candidate to gain experience in at least two technical sub-competency area at least a Level 1 proficiency.
  • Candidates will have their position assessed and approved by CPA Atlantic School of Business once the registration process is complete.
  • Experience verification candidates are responsible on finding their own mentor
    • A mentor must be:
      • a CPA in good standing with their governing body,
      • and preferably within the candidates same province

​ We would encourage candidates and future candidates to review documents available from CPA Canada for Practical Experience.


Mentors play a key role throughout a candidate’s journey of obtaining practical experience. They provide support and guidance to CPA candidates, specifically focusing on aiding the development of enabling competencies that will help further a candidate as a professional CPA. Mentors share their knowledge and personal experiences that relate to a professional work environment.  

Candidates are required to meet with their mentor semi-annually throughout the duration of the practical experience requirements. The mentor relationship helps candidates gain professional competence, build strong leadership skills, and communicate effectively. Mentors will also enhance a candidate’s decision-making, problem solving and ability to act ethically.

When does a candidate meet with their mentor:

Candidates are required to meet with their mentor during key phases throughout their practical experience duration:

  • Introductory Meeting
    • Get to know each other
    • Establish expectations and develop a plan
  • 1st Semi-annual Meeting
    • Discuss current progress and experience within this reporting period
    • Develop future goals
    • Review enabling competencies
  • 2nd Mandatory Meeting
    • Discuss current progress and experience within this reporting period
    • Develop or adjust future goals
    • Focus on at least 2 enabling competency responses – referencing the CPA way
  • 3rd Mandatory meeting
    • All of the above and;
    • Focus on any remaining enabling competency responses – referencing the CPA Way
  • Final Meeting
    • Discuss the final steps on meeting the final requirements or
    • Finalize the mentoring process

How does a candidate obtain a mentor:

Experience Verification Route:

For candidates going through the experience verification route, it is the responsibility of the candidate to find their own mentor. Here are a few ways as a candidate to look for a mentor:

  • look within your current organization
  • ask CPA colleagues or friends of colleagues
  • attend social networking events
  • explore corrections from past employment
  • Use the CPA Mentor Match Portal

We encourage candidates who are having trouble finding a mentor, and who have exhausted the options above, to contact the Practical Experience team with CPA Atlantic School of Business to help.

Pre-approved Program Route:

For candidates going through the pre-approved route, your program manager will match you with a CPA mentor at the organization who is already registered with CPA Atlantic School of Business and who is affiliated with their pre-approved program for mentorship.

CPA Mentorship Program FAQs for Students/Candidates PERT Guide for Future CPAs Technical Competency Guide Enabling Competency Guide Public Accounting Chargeable Hours Submission Form PERT Spotlight Video Series Schedule a Meeting Contact the Practical Experience Team
The CPA designation gives you the set of skills to do anything.
Lindsay Power, CPA, CMA, MBA
Senior Business Analyst - Strategic Projects, StandardAero
You have this massive family of CPAs on which you can lean on and use as much as you can, as often as you can.
Craig Farewell, CPA
Co-owner & Director of Operations, Banished Brewing & Brewdock
The skills you acquire through the CPA program prepare you to lead in any organization and in any industry.
Courtney Burns, CPA
President and CEO, Greater Moncton International Airport Authority Inc.
It’s the differentiator when someone has a stack of resumes. People with a CPA designation will stand out.
Leah Boody, CPA, CMA
President, Pineapple Bytes
The CPA designation first ignited my entrepreneurial spirit. It certainly helped me get to where I am right now.
David Arsenault, CPA
President, Arsenault Properties
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