In order to become a qualified Certified Public Accountant you need to complete the practical experience requirement (PER) as well as passing your exams. A minimum of three years' relevant work based practical experience requirements needed to qualify for membership provide a framework to develop appropriate work experience. It is based on a number of key skills:
- Professional judgement in business decisions and solutions,
- Personal attributes necessary for the role and responsibilities,
- Applying learning outcomes and technical knowledge to real situations,
- Maintain ethics and professionalism and
- Business awareness.
The practical experience requirement helps you to:
- improve your work performance and develop your judgement;
- to develop the skills, attitudes, and behaviours that will need to be a successful accountant and
- apply in practice the knowledge and techniques gained through your studies.
There is a minimum of 3 years relevant supervised training required to apply for membership of the CPA. That training can take place in practice (firm of accountants), private and public sectors. As a CPA student, you are not tied down to a contract with only one employer. You’re free to choose your job sector and your employer and you are in control of your career from the start. If a student has any previous, relevant experience this can also be taken into consideration.
Training typically takes place alongside exams. If a student finds themselves out of work or perhaps working in a non-relevant area, they are still eligible to proceed with the CPA qualification. Relevant training can be obtained at a later date. Students have up to three years from the date of their final exam to complete relevant training.
Experience on its own does not constitute training. It must be progressive, supervised instruction and entail structured feedback.
Maintaining Record of Practical Experience
You must maintain a comprehensive and continuous record of all your practical experience. This is important to ensure you have a comprehensive reference source for you and your mentor to track and plan your progress against the Institute’s practical experience requirements. It is your responsibility to maintain a record of your practical experience, and it is your mentor’s responsibility to verify the experience gained against the competencies set by the Institute. It is therefore important you and your mentor keep records in case of any discrepancies.
It is necessary that you gain the support of your employer to obtain work experience and also need to work closely with your workplace mentor. Throughout your CPA training period, you are responsible for keeping and completing accurate training records.
Your training records or logs are the evidence that show, you have completed these elements of CPA training. Your employer should review and sign off your Annual Training Summary records every year. This will ensure that you are on track to qualify as a Certified Public Accountant. Students are required to submit a Training Record to the Institute on an annual basis. The training records must be signed off by a qualified accountant.
Where to Gain Practical Experience
The ICPA Students can fulfil their training requirements working in practice, industry, commerce, the public sector, academic environment or any combination of these categories. Experience can be gained in Sri Lanka or overseas.
Relevant Work Experience
Although they will all have developed a significant level of competence in each of the following six areas through the education process, students are not necessarily expected to have had work experience in each one. Nevertheless, their experience should include a sufficient spread of activities across this range to provide them with the competence to fulfil the role of a professional accountant, once qualified.
The six areas are:
- Financial Accounting
- Auditing & Statutory Compliance
- Information & Financial Systems
- Corporate Planning, Control & Treasury Management
- Management Skills
Your specified practical experience will usually be gained during full-time continuous employment with a single employer, but may be gained over a 48-month period with no more than three employers. It is also possible to gain practical experience in academic work. Please contact the Institute to confirm experience requirements in this area.