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CPA practical experience

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.

Obligatory practical experience

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.

  • CPA practical experience with public accountancy permit. This practical experience must be pre-approved by the CPA Order of Québec.
  • CPA practical experience: all other profiles. These are the controller, tax specialist and consultant, for example.

If you opt for the practical experience without the public accountancy permit, you can choose from the following options:

  • Pre-approved CPA practical experience with employers listed in the CPA Order of Québec directory (advanced search); 
  • CPA practical experience with verification of experience. In this case, you are not limited to applying at companies or firms listed in the Order directory. The Order will authorize your request based on the examination of your application and supporting documents. For more information, visit the page Practical experience declaration process on the site of the CPA Order.

At what point during your studies?

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).

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).

Find an internship


On your own

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.

CPA Practical Experience with Verification of Experience

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.


Visit the My Career portal

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”.

View the opportunities.


Annual Event of the CPA Order of Québec

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).



CPA Recruitment

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:

  • High GPA
  • Actively involved in university and in their community (student associations, volunteer work, competitions, for example)
  • Dynamic (various achievements: hobbies, sports, studies, etc.)
  • Team spirit

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.

  • Candidates are offered visits of firms
  • Big cocktail event for all the participants
  • Deadline by which you have to respond to offers

This recruitment event is mainly for:

  • BBA students starting their 2nd year of university, internship the following summer
  • BBA students starting their 3rd year of university, winter internship one year and a half later
  • Sometimes D.E.S.S. and PEP students, especially for an internship in the following winter

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.



Application documents

CPA Recruitment

To prepare a quality document:

Outside of CPA Recruitment (Firms)

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:

Undergraduate Level:

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

View our sample CVs.

Useful resources for everyone

The CPA Committee can also help you with your internship search. Consult the committee’s Facebook page.


CPA Recruitment (September and October)
Finding an Internship on Your Own

HEC Montréal cannot guarantee the accuracy of information exchanged on accounts other than its own official accounts.

Need help?

Please contact The Career Management Services

514 340-6169

Students > Support and resources > Career management > Internships and projects > CPA practical experience