A practical experience is required in order to become a CPA, and though this requirement must be taken seriously, you can rest assured that the job market offers numerous opportunities to those who follow the CPA Order regulations.
The CPA Order of Québec, as well as medium and large firms, use the term practical experience to refer to professional experience that must be completed in order to receive the CPA designation in Quebec.
But be careful as to the wording used when communicating with smaller-size companies or firms:
Otherwise, you risk being misunderstood and missing out on an interesting opportunity.
In order to obtain the CPA designation, a 24-month internship that meets the CPA Order of Québec requirements must be completed.
There are two practical experience categories that correspond to routes.
If you opt for the practical experience without the public accountancy permit, you can choose from the following options:
Some students begin their practical experience after the 2nd year of their BBA (in the summer term).
They generally continue during the winter term of the D.E.S.S in professional accounting – CPA (regular stream).
The practical experience can continue for the duration of the D.E.S.S. on a part-time basis, or during the CPA national program.
Other candidates begin or end their practical experience after the PEP or D.E.S.S., or even after the Common Final Examination of the CPA Order of Québec (CFE).
Students enrolled in the professional accounting specialization have to successfully complete all the required courses. If they choose to have an internship credited, it will be considered on a non-program basis. They will have to complete the internship before the end of their BBA program. The credits cumulated in this way will not be counted towards the 90 credits required for the diploma.
Many candidates aspiring to enter the accounting profession find an internship through their own means.
If you want to proceed in this manner, you will have to do a traditional job search.
You could, for example, go through the directory of pre-approved practical experience programs (with or without public accountancy permit) of the CPA Order of Québec.
Moreover, networking activities with firms and companies take place throughout the year. To make sure you don’t miss out on anything, stay informed:
Finally, you can participate in the pre-recruitment meetings organized by Career Management Services throughout the year. These events are geared towards all fields and, on occasion, accounting.
If you opt for the CPA practical experience with verification of experience, you do not have to apply with the companies or firms listed in the directory of pre-approved practical experience programs. The Order will examine your application and supporting documents to authorize your practical experience in this organization. For more information, visit the section Practical experience declaration process on the site of the Order.
You can view numerous job opportunities on the job search and internship site of Career Management Services. Companies looking to recruit HEC Montréal students place their ads on this site. Don’t forget to configure one or more “job alerts”.
Each fall, the CPA Order of Québec organizes a networking event in Montreal: the Future CPA Recruitment Event – industry and public sector. The participating companies offer jobs and practical experience opportunities in accounting (non- audit).
As a general rule, all the practical experience opportunities during the recruitment event are pre-approved. Most are CPA auditor (public accountancy), but some can also be CPA without public accountancy permit: consulting or taxation, etc.
You will find the list of firms that are recruiting along with the practical experience opportunities on the Facebook page of the CPA Committee.
Employers are very demanding. They prefer particular student profiles from among those candidates with whom they have already established contact during networking events or activities:
We have noted that mainly BBA and D.E.S.S. students are recruited. Other students would be better to contact companies, as well as firms, that are not participating in CPA recruitment.
Many firms come to HEC Montréal to recruit internship candidates.
This recruitment event is mainly for:
Some of these firms invite students to various networking events: cocktail events, information sessions on summer activities, visits of firms, etc. This recruitment event is mainly for 1st year BBA students.
To find out more about these recruitment activities and when they take place, visit the Facebook page of the CPA Committee on a regular basis.
To prepare a quality document:
To solicit work in firms and businesses, use the CV and cover letter. Students aiming for the CPA designation should adapt their CV by including the following information:
Career goal: become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in Quebec
Graduate and Post Graduate levels (registered with the Order):
Candidate to the accounting profession
Order of Chartered Professional Accountants of Québec
Students aiming for the CPA designation would benefit greatly from creating a LinkedIn profile and keeping it updated. Be sure the information (designation) that appears on your CV, is the same as that appearing in your profile.
The CPA Committee can also help you with your internship search. Consult the committee’s Facebook page.
HEC Montréal cannot guarantee the accuracy of information exchanged on accounts other than its own official accounts.
Contact Claire Saint-Jacques
CPA Recruitment Advisor and Coordinator