CPA competencies

By allowing you to be immersed in a professional workplace for 24 months, the period of practical experience enables you to develop many competencies that will prepare you to face a variety of real-life situations. During the period of practical experience, you will be assigned tasks to help you acquire and enhance the technical and enabling competencies of CPAs.

CPA competency wheel

The CPA competency wheel, which shows the main components of the six CPA competencies, will help you classify the tasks performed during your period of practical experience by competency, according to the requirements set out below. 

Requirement No. 1 – Core competencies

Among the six technical competency areas, two are considered core competencies: financial reporting and management accounting. Therefore, the period of practical experience must allow you to develop at least one of these competencies.

Requirement No. 2 – Diversity

The tasks you are assigned must be diversified to enable you to meet the breadth requirement, i.e. cover at least three of the six technical competency areas shown in the competency wheel. In addition, in order to meet the depth requirement, you must also have the opportunity to cover all the competency sub-areas in one of these three competencies. As you write your practical experience reports, your mentor will help you classify the tasks in the appropriate areas.

Note: Your period of practical experience does not need to cover all six technical competency areas.

Requirement No. 3 – Progression

During your 24-month period of practical experience, your tasks must progressively involve more complex analytical, problem-solving and decision-making assignments. In order for this progression to be recognized, you are expected to perform increasingly complex work with increasing autonomy.

Requirement No. 4 – Enabling competencies

The enabling competencies are professional skills that you must develop during your period of practical experience to obtain the CPA designation. Like all other professionals working in business, CPAs must use these skills daily to carry out their duties. Therefore, by the end of the period of practical experience, candidates must be proficient in all five enabling competencies:

  • Ethical behaviour
  • Decision-making 
  • Communication
  • Self-management 
  • Leadership