7 Tips on How to Write CPA Canada Practical Experience Requirements (PER) Experience Reports

If you have done some reading on the practical experience requirements (PER), or you’ve submitted a PER, you would have found that the process is a nightmare. There is very few documentation, you spend hours writing the reports, and when you submit it, it usually gets rejected by the reviewers. This is the case for both Experience Verification Route (EVR) and Pre-approved Program (PPR) routes.

7 Tips to write the PER report

Tip 1. Use the acronym CARL
CARL stands for: Challenge, Actions, Results and Lessons learned.  When writing your experience verification, don’t put random paragraphs of things that happened. Instead, put the CARL template and fill out each of the letters. What is the challenge that you faced? What exact steps did you take to resolve it? Wat was the end result and what lessons did you learn from the experience?

Tip 2: Use the words CPA Way a lot
The CPA Way is the backbone of the entire program, and it doesn’t end with the CFE. Writing PER is like writing cases. So don’t make up your own format. Instead, put the CARL format, and at the A step, put the sentence: “To resolve this challenge. I followed the CPA away”, then put each of the CPA way steps down and fill the details.

Tip 3: Use the question marks
When you’re at the PER tool, called PERT, you’ll see question marks, and when you click on them, it’s gonna give you a guideline of whether this applies to you and what to fill. This is one of the BEST resources you have because it’ll guide you on your writing process. I recommend going through the entire PERT, copying these guiding comments and saving them somewhere for your quick reference, which leads me to the next strategy.

Tip 4: Write your experience in Microsoft Word
The PERT is kind of nice and it has been updated recently but the writing space is so little that you can barely see what you wrote. Create a Word file and type your experience there, then copy to PERT and submit. Remember to start with the CARL outline and filling the details as you go Here’s another related strategy.

Tip 5: Keep a tracker at work
Since you have to write about all the challenges that you face and how you approach them, it’s really important that you keep track of those challenges. Create an Excel file and write your successes and challenges, what actions you took and what happened. Divide it into 3 columns, first is challenge or success, then next to it the details and then the date. This also comes in handy when you’re doing a performance review at work, when your boss asks you why you should get a bonus or promotion, you’ll have concrete examples to bring up. Now, assuming you haven’t been keeping track of what happened at work like most people and you’re drawing a blank when you’re doing your PERT, you can go to your Outlook, click on your Sent Mail and go through all the emails. Most of them will be regular communication, but you’ll probably come across a couple of cool projects that you worked on that you’ve completely forgotten about. You can put some examples in PER.

Tip 6. Get your employer to become a pre-approved Training Office
Here’s an interesting fact that pretty much nobody knows about, you don’t have to work in public practice to be under PPR route. Any company, be it manufacturing, retail or software, can become a pre-approved training office and, you guessed it, if you’re in the pre-approved training office, none of the technical requirements will be required for you. This will cut out at least 70% of PER workload, you just have to fill out the easy enabling questions and you’ll get your PER done. First try to get the company you’re working for right now to convert to a PPR training office. Second, consider changing your companies. If you’re stuck at a dead end job and you’re not hitting those Level 1 and 2s, and your supervisor is not supporting you, you have to do something. Most people think this means you have to go to public practice, and going from industry to public practices means a huge pay cut, but as I said any company can be under PPR. Now instead of going door by door and asking every company what CPA route they are under, just open up Google, type your provincial CPA body name and the words “pre-approved office”. You’ll get a list of all offices that are under PRR. Throw this list to Excel and filter out all LP or associate companies, which are all public practice companies.

Tip 7. Write a lot
Aim to write at least 1 full page for each example and don’t spare the details. Too often I see students writing a quick half-page example and they think they can get away with it, but it doesn’t work that way .We need a full page, 3-4 detailed examples of everything you’ve done related to that experience. Don’t spare the details, you need to storytell and paint a picture in the reader’s head of what is going on.

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