CPA PERT – How I Deal With Setbacks

This post is going to be a little different than my usual CPA PERT post. I am not sharing tips, strategies or plans. I am merely sharing what happened when I found out that a particular technical competency I was planning on achieving Level 2 was no longer “possible.” As someone who writes about my CPA PERT via EVR journey, I thought I owe you an update on the failures and setbacks as well. This was not my first setback and I highly doubt it was my last. I tried not to let it affect me emotionally but it did anyway. I hope you find this post comforting if you are also experiencing a setback yourself because you are not alone.

Read all CPA PERT posts here.

So, What Was The Setback?

I wrote a post on how I planned for CPA PERT for the year last month. I had a meeting with my manager/CPA mentor and came up with a game plan for the year. We brainstormed and came up with corresponding tasks for the 8 technical competencies I chose. The tax compliance: corporate or personal under Taxation was one of them. Note, I work in the industry as a Corporate Accountant and have exposure to Canadian and foreign sales taxes (GST/PST/VAT). In addition to regular filing, my manager and I came up with value-added tasks/analyses I can work on in the next 12 months in order to satisfy this requirement (or so we thought).

RELATED POST – CPA PERT – Enabling Competencies Examples

However, I have always had this doubt in the back of my mind that I wasn’t going to get it. I read all the materials I can find and the official descriptions over and over but I just can’t connect the dots/satisfy my suspicions. So, I finally sent an email to the PER team at CPABC. I wasn’t expecting a response so quickly but I did the next day.

It was not the response I hoped for as I had misunderstood the technical competency completely. The tax compliance: corporate or personal competency relates specifically to the Canadian Income Tax Act. Anything under the Excise Tax Act is excluded. A CPA friend of mine has also shared that any provincial tax is also excluded.

That means the tasks I had planned on doing and reporting were not going to be applicable. Since I planned on achieving Level 2 with this, I was left to come up with backup work that could potentially be available at my current job and can provide me with enough depth in the area.

Are you looking for a comprehensive guide for PERT with example Level 1 & 2 full responses, tips, templates and more? Check out my CPA PERT Guides!

How Did I Feel About the Setback with CPA PERT?

I am not going to lie but I was sad. I was disappointed and thought to myself, “how can I be writing about CPA PERT if I do not even understand it?” I must have told Eric more than a handful of times how difficult PERT really is and I know he is aware of how much effort I put into it. I then thought about the candidates that waited until after CFE to “deal with PERT” and for the first time, I wish I can also just forget about it and worry about it later.

The reality is, I can. However, that means I will get designated later even though PERT is not going to get easier later. I also thought about those of you who read my PERT posts and told me how much they helped. I thought that if I gave up, I will no longer be walking the talk.

I felt sad, disappointed and guilty for wanting to give up all at once.

~ More CPA Posts ~
CPA PEP Core 1 – How to Study for the Module and the Exam
CPA PERT – Ultimate Guide on How to Get Your First Experience Report via EVR Approved
CPA PERT – Enabling Competencies Examples
Densmore for CPA PEP – Are The PEP Essentials Packages Worth It?
CPA PEP Module – Regular Module or Extended Module?

What Did I Do About It?

It was hard to get over the negative emotions but I eventually did. I also knew deep down they were valid emotions so I wasn’t being hard on myself. The reassurances from Eric also helped.

RELATED POST – 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started CPA Core 1

Eventually, I found time and sat down to look at my PERT plan again. I have always encouraged candidates to be flexible with their plans so I basically listened to my own advice. I reviewed the documents available on the PERT section on CPABC’s website once more and decided on a replacement technical competency. I also caught up on a write-up for a task I have completed recently.

If you are reading this because you are experiencing a setback, allow yourself to be upset but do not give up. The reality is CPA PERT will not get easier unless you keep working on it. It is definitely designed to be challenging but not impossible.

*I put possible in quotation because I guess if I try really, really hard to get the experience I might still get it but I am simply not confident.

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