Professional Experience Required for Certification (PERC)
The PERC reporting tool is available online via the My CGA-BC portal or within the Professional Experience section of our website!
To document your experience, please submit the following:
- One online PERC (Professional Experience Required for Certification) file for each position that you would like to report, verified and signed by your current supervisor
- Current resume (to be attached online to your PERC file)
- Optional: employment verification letter for each position (on company letterhead) and detailed job description, verified and signed by your supervisor and a designated accountant, e.g. CGA/CA/CMA, CPA, etc.
PERC (Professional Experience Required for Certification)!
With PERC, students can document their professional work experience online and submit it annually for assessment. This will ensure they have the opportunity to:
- Record their professional work experience as it is gained;
- Know what experience needs to be developed on a continuous basis; and
- Reliably track their progress to the successful completion of the process
Early and regular involvement
PERC requires the student’s workplace supervisor to be involved early – and for the two of them to meet at least annually to discuss the student’s development. The benefits of early and regular involvement mean the student’s skills can be immediately put to work, and he/she will be provided with greater responsibilities along the way.
There is a competency-based scoring model and self-assessment tool that students can use to monitor their progress. These will also assist supervisors in verifying the student’s development and help CGA affiliates who must ultimately assess and confirm the experience. The improved tracking will ensure students meet the professional experience requirements by the time they complete the program, so certification isn’t delayed. The experience must be verified by a designated professional accountant.
The Practical Experience Requirement
As an integral component of their professional preparation, CGA students must demonstrate their ability to apply the knowledge and skills gained from their formal education to a workplace environment. Students are expected to assume successively higher levels of financial management responsibilities as they advance through the program of studies. For certification, students must demonstrate that they have progressed to an employment position(s) that requires a well-rounded knowledge of, and a professional level of responsibility in, such areas as accounting, finance, audit, taxation, strategic planning, and the management of knowledge, human resources, projects, and other organizational resources. Students not achieving the prescribed competencies will have their graduation delayed. Experience may be obtained in any sector of the economy: industry, government, public practice, professional associations, education, healthcare, or not-for-profits—essentially anywhere that accounting and financial work is done.
Leadership, Professionalism & Knowledge
Professional experience criteria are rooted in the CGA competency framework. The competencies, grouped under Leadership, Professionalism and Professional Knowledge, are updated periodically to reflect the contemporary demands of clients, employers and the public. PERC ensures that students develop the depth and breadth of competencies required by the working world.
In consideration of the profession's broad scope, students are not expected to have achieved experience in all competency areas. An experience assessment includes both a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the student's experience portfolio by the Association. The Association reserves the right to audit all experiences claimed by the student and verified by the employer.
Duration of Experience Required
Before qualifying for certification, students must have accumulated a minimum of 24 months of full-time employment in an accounting, financial management, or acceptable related position in a specialized area. These 24 months of employment must be at a professional level requiring the application of advanced knowledge, decision-making, and responsibility for the preparation and interpretation of financial information.
Reporting Experience to the Association
Students are required to report the practical experience they have achieved when they have 10 or less courses left to complete in the program. For each position students would like to include in the assessment, a PERC employment file needs to be created. This employment file will contain information about the position, the length of the engagement as well as detailed information about the job itself. To complete a PERC file you will be asked to declare whether you perform a certain competency and provide an example from your day-to-day work experience.
The first person to review your file needs to be your direct supervisor. If your direct supervisor holds an accounting designation, he or she can submit your PERC employment file to the Association for further assessment. If your direct supervisor does not hold an accounting designation, he or she will still need to attest to your experience and submit it to a “verifier”. The verifier will attest to the appropriateness of the professional accounting experience you report in relation to the competency statement. The ideal person to verify your experience is your direct supervisor. If your direct supervisor is not a designated accountant, someone else in your workplace who is a designated accountant might be willing to act as the verifier for your PERC. This person must be at the same or higher level in the organization as your supervisor.
If there is no one in your organization who can act as the verifier for your PERC, you will need to locate someone outside your organization. The more this person knows about your company and your role, the better they will be able to assist you. Consider the public accountant or auditor that your organization deals with, or another designated professional accountant that you know.
Practical Experience FAQs
Q: What are the benefits of the PERC system?
- employment information is captured differently
- improved tracking system
- allows students to do a reliable self-assessment
Q: Is there a Time limit after submitting my experience?
A: Your completed and approved PERC status is valid for three years. That is, you are expected to complete all of your course work within three years of satisfying all of the professional experience requirements. If you met your PERC more than three years prior to completing your course work, you may be required to submit an updated PERC file.
Q: How much experience do I need to fulfill the practical experience requirement?
A: Twenty-four (24) months of full-time professional level employment in an accounting or financial position are required. You will need to demonstrate sufficiently complex knowledge in the three competencies set out in the CGA Competency Framework: Leadership, Professionalism and Professional Knowledge. For more detailed information about senior level experience competencies, please refer to the Professional Career Experience in the PERC (Professional Experience Required for Certification) Student Guide.
Some students will be able to demonstrate all of the competencies in as little as 24 months. However, each competency you claim must be demonstrated for 24 months, and it is unlikely that you will be able to work on all of the required competencies at the same time. Therefore, it generally takes longer than 24 months to satisfy the entire PERC. It is more typical that students will be working at an advanced level between 30 and 48 months before they have 24 months of experience in the required competencies in the three Leadership subject areas, the seven Professionalism subject areas, and the three Professional Knowledge subject areas.
Q: Does part-time experience count?
A: Part-time experience may be considered but a longer duration of employment is required in order to equal the number of hours worked at a full-time rate. So a student working approximately 20 hours per week in an acceptable position would need to work for a total of 48 months instead of 24.
Q: Does non-Canadian experience count?
A: Yes, experience from another country can count toward the practical experience requirement. However, at least one year of professional level practical experience needs to be obtained in Canada.
Q: Does past experience count?
A: Experience gained prior to starting the CGA program, verified by the employer (a designated accountant) in writing, may be given credit towards one year of professional level practical experience. At least one year of professional level experience needs to be obtained while on the CGA program.
Q: Can I be self-employed?
A: Students are prohibited under Rule 522 of the Association’s Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct from acquiring or holding any proprietary interest in a public practice firm. Public practice is defined as: “Offering to perform or performing for a client one or more types of professional services involving the use of accounting or auditing skills or the furnishing of tax services.” Students working as an employee with any public practice firm are considered fully acceptable. If you are unclear as to whether this regulation concerning self-employment in public practice relates to you, please contact CGA-BC’s Public Practice Advisor.
Q: Can I work in multiple jobs or does my practical experience need to be obtained in one company?
A: The 24 months of experience required can be obtained from different positions or employers.
Q: Do specialized positions like commercial banker or systems developer count toward the practical experience requirement?
A: Specialized positions are considered on a case-by-case basis and are deemed acceptable if they involve sufficient financially related responsibilities.
Q: Will my job title influence the outcome of the assessment?
A: No. The job title is not as important as the responsibilities that you perform in your position. Therefore, we focus more on the content of your work.
Q: When do I need to report my experience?
A: Like with the PEAQ system, students are encouraged to report their experience when they have 10 courses or less to complete.
This will allow sufficient time to guide students into the right direction if their current job (along with any previous positions) does not yet meet the experience requirement.
Q: How do I report my experience?
A: Students will create one Employment File for each position they would like to report. This includes personal and business contact information, completing the questionnaire (competency statements) and submitting the file to their supervisor.
More information can be found in the PERC Student Guide. [PDF - 3MB]
Q: Who will verify my file?
A: Your direct supervisor is the first person who will verify your file. This person will review your questionnaire, do the Attestation and must declare an “Arms Length Relationship” with you. If this person is not a Designated Accountant, you must also find a verifier (who is a Designated Accountant and also at an “Arms Length Relationship” with you) to review the file as well.
Q: What does my supervisor/verifier need to do?
A: Supervisors are encouraged to closely work with the student to clarify any issues on the questionnaire. Once they are satisfied, the file goes to the verifier (if the supervisor is not a designated accountant). The verifier will then need to attest to all statements made.
Q: Does the supervisor verifying my PERC have to be a designated accountant?
A: No. However, if your direct supervisor is not a designated accountant, you will have to arrange for a verifier (e.g., external accountant of your company who holds an accounting designation) who is familiar with your work and able to attest to your experience. This person must not be a relative or a close friend.
Q: How long does the assessment take?
A: It takes approximately eight weeks from the time we have received all information, at which time the student is notified of the assessment result in writing via email.
Q: Can I submit my PERC as a hard copy?
A: No. All PERC files need to be submitted online. Paper versions will not be accepted.
Q: What do I do if I reach my time limit and still have practical experience outstanding?
A: Please send a written request for additional time to complete your practical experience requirement to the attention of Student Services. We will consider the reasons for your request and a possible extension of your time limit.
Q: When is the deadline to submit a PERC?
A: There is no specific due date and PERC submissions are accepted throughout the year. If you are a student with 10 or less courses remaining to complete, you are required to submit one PERC file for each position that you would like to report. If your practical experience does not yet meet the requirements, you will need to submit updates each year until the practical experience requirement is completely fulfilled. Students at lower levels who have significant practical experience or who would like to receive feedback from the Association are also advised to submit a PERC.
Q: Where should I put my job description and resumé on the PERC?
A: Your PERC must be accompanied by a current resumé.
You may attach this document to your PERC file.
For experience gained outside of Canada or gained prior to joining the CGA program, you may also submit an employment verification letter and detailed job description, both verified and signed by a designated accountant (in addition to your PERC employment file for this position).
This document can be submitted via email to the CGA-BC office, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need further assistance you may also contact our Coordinator, Practical Experience at email@example.com.