Your CPA Experience: 8 Questions to Ask

By Kate Jessup, Senior Account Manager

CPA program Practical Experience Reporting Tool PERTOne of the reasons for investing in post-secondary education is to expand career opportunities. The CPA program is a significant investment in time and money and you want to ensure that you are maximizing your career options.

Your Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT) is the final frontier on the road to your designation. It is important that your practical experience provide you with as many career opportunities as possible. If your PERT is too narrowly focused, you limit your options.

When considering your practical experience, think about your life goals beyond your schooling.

1. Do you want to travel?

2. Do you intend to buy a home and build a family?

3. Is pursuing your hobbies or volunteering in your community important to you?

4. How can you make your career and life goals align?

Another aspect to consider is the opportunity to grow within the organization in which you are gaining your practical experience.  Questions to consider before taking a job include:

5. Will the job require you to work a high volume of overtime? For how many months of the year?

6. What will the learning curve be?

7. What tools does the organization provide for training and professional development?

8. Is there room for you to advance within the organization once you have your designation?

When seeking employment, make sure that you reflect thoughtfully on why you chose accounting as a career path. For any career, there are significant gains to be had but also sacrifices to be made. What are your career goals, what are your life goals, and what sacrifices are going to be acceptable for you?


Kate Jessup is a Senior Account Manager with Loren Nancke & Company and is responsible for human resources, training and client services. As a senior accountant, her work focuses on the human side of the equation.