Introducing Practical Experience Competencies
Over the course of the qualifying practical experience term (minimum 30 months), CPA students must develop and consistently demonstrate both technical and enabling competencies. You must meet the requirements of depth, breadth, core and progression over six technical competency areas and five enabling competency areas.
This page will provide you with an overview of the technical and enabling competencies, examples of how to meet the competency requirements and an opportunity to plan your own path with an interactive model.
Technical competencies fall into six areas, each with sub-competencies. CPA Ontario students must develop certain technical sub-competencies to the proficiency level of a newly-certified CPA in accordance with four required elements of core, depth, breadth and progression.
There are five enabling competencies, and CPA Ontario students must demonstrate all of these competencies at the proficiency level of a newly-certified CPA.
CPA Ontario students are expected to perform increasingly complex, less routine work with increasing autonomy during their work term. At the start, work is largely confined to retrieving and comprehending information. As further experience is gained, it begins to develop into analysis. By the end of the practical term, CPA Ontario students develop the ability to make effective decisions and problem solve, as well as take on increasingly complex and less routine work, with a high level of autonomy. Progression is depicted in the tree diagram below showing the growth through your practical experience:
Level 0 - Retrieval and comprehension
Recall information and identify what’s important. Work experience is at an administrative or clerical level.
Explain, apply, record, calculate
Level 1 - Analysis
Create new insights and invent new ways of using what you have learned in new situations. Work experience includes tasks that are routine, lower complexity and/or are executed with lower autonomy.
Analyze, identify, research, prepare
Level 2 - Knowledge utilization
Processes used to accomplish a specific task and make a recommendation. Work experience includes tasks that are consistently demonstrated (or in some cases may be non-routine), involve using significant judgment and are higher in complexity and autonomy. Level 2s are typically assessed closer to the end of your practical experience journey.
The Four Proficiency Requirements
CPA Ontario students must gain proficiency in any three of the sub-competencies in either Financial Reporting and/or Management Accounting to at least a Level 1 proficiency. In this example, Core is achieved through both Financial Reporting and Management Accounting but could also be achieved in only one of these two areas.
CPA Ontario students must achieve depth in one of the six competency areas by gaining proficiency in all of the sub-competencies . At least two of the sub-competencies must be at Level 2 proficiency, while the others may be at Level 1 or higher. In this example, Finance is the depth area but could be achieved in any of the six technical competency areas.
CPA Ontario students are required to gain proficiency in at least eight sub-competencies areas. At least four sub-competencies must be gained at Level 2 and the remaining four at Level 1 or higher. Sub-competencies gained through depth and core contribute to breadth. In this example, breadth is achieved through Finance, Financial Reporting, Management Accounting and Strategy & Governance. No exposure from Audit & Assurance or Taxation was required in this example.
Enabling Competencies reflect the personal attributes that make for a successful career as a professional accountant. Under the guidance of their CPA Ontario mentors, students must develop all five enabling competencies to a Level 2 proficiency by the end of their practical experience journey.
Plan your path
Experience Verification Route (EVR)
If you are in the Experience Verification Route (EVR), use your job description to identify which sub-competencies you will likely get exposure to and at which proficiency level. Then check to see if you will meet the technical and enabling competency requirements based on the indicators. If there are any gaps, have a discussion with your supervisor about other tasks and opportunities that may be available to meet the requirements. CPA Ontario will provide feedback on your competency development throughout your PERT reporting process.
Pre-approved Program Route (PPR)
If you are in the Pre-approved Program Route (PPR), the sub-competencies and target proficiency levels that you must reach by the end of your 30-month program are pre-loaded into your PERT experience reports. The interactive tool below will help you understand the competency requirements before you start working in your PPR.
If you are unsure about which experience route you are in, then please speak to your supervisor.
Click the tree buds and adjust your level in each sub-competency.
Ready to begin reporting your Practical Experience? Review our PE Welcome Package to get started.