Last March, I submitted my final PERT via EVR report and got the approval I had been working towards for months shortly after. Then, I released the PERT Guide and applied for my CPA membership. This is not necessarily the last PERT post on jenthinks but it will be the last post with examples from my own PERT journey.
If you are reading this for ideas and motivation, take it from someone who was once in your shoes: tackle PERT slowly but consistently. If you look at it as one giant obstacle, you will easily be discouraged before you even start. However, it can be done. It isn’t easy but it is necessary if you want to become a CPA. Remind yourself why you want to become a CPA when things get tough. When you are done, you will look back and be proud of what you managed to push yourself through.
Read all CPA PERT posts here.
What Role Did I Get These Experiences In?
I got the examples in this post working as a Revenue Accountant for a software company. My main duties revolve around the revenue cycle for software, support and service.
My PERT Progression – From AP to Accountant
Throughout my PERT journey. I worked in four different positions with two different employers. Both companies I worked for were in the software industry. Even though I started with the first company I reported PERT in as AP, I began my experience reporting as a Senior AP. When I left that company to pursue a Corporate Accountant role, I stayed in that role for about 9 months before taking on a lateral move as a Revenue Accountant which I ultimatly finished my PERT in.
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!
CPA PERT Level 2 Technical Competency Example
Financial Statement Analysis (FR4)
Task: trend analysis on our financial statement (e.g., YOY, QOQ, YTD)
Note: I was awarded Level 2 in the submission prior to this final report; however, I submitted another example with two analyses to strengthen my submission to avoid any downgrade. This is why this Level 2 response only has 1 example.
Level 2 Submission (Partial)
I first identified the issue by giving a brief introduction (e.g., why I was doing a trend analysis). I then detailed two examples where I noticed an anamoly based on knowledge of the business or based on pre-determined variance threshold. I went into detail how I determined the root cause of the anamoly and whether it was reasonable or not using business knowledge and professional judgement (note: avoid simply stating judgement was used without an explanation – you should explain HOW so the reviewer can objectively come to the same conclusion). For the identified issue that was not reasonable based on what I understood, I went into detail how I determined that to be the case, how I investigate and what I concluded based on my analysis.
It is key to remember the importance of highlighting the value you bring to the company. For example, simply spotting an anomoly by comparing A and B is not going to get you a Level 2. What you need to demonstrate is the value your analysis offers. Keep that in mind whenever you update your PERT report.
CPA PERT Level 2 Enabling Competency Example
As with all enabling competency examples, my scenario might never happen to you. However, the intention of sharing nonetheless is to highlight the importance of regular planning and brainstorming for PERT.
When I finally got Level 2 for Collaborating and Leading, it was my third attempt at a Level 2 for this particular competency. In my first two submissions, I wrote about getting through a busy quarter end and getting assigned an urgent audit task last-minute. I did get a Level 1 but I struggled with leveling up to 2.
When I found out my direct manager was going on leave and that we were going to hire someone externally for temporary coverage, I knew it was going to be my best chance. Year end was going to be tough and will a lot of collaboration within my team. I knew this was going to be an excellent example for the last enabling competency I needed and the timing was perfect as it will take place several months before my 30-month was up.
I mean, yes, I probably would have reported this experience after the fact even if I did not plan for it in advance. However, knowing that I was going to have all the experience I needed when my time was up gave me peace of mind. That year end was tough enough on its own. Worrying about what to report for PERT was definitely something I was happy to avoid.
Collaborating and Leading
Task: stepping up and collaborating as a team more so than ever when my direct manager went on leave and was replaced by an external hire
Level 2 Submission
I first identifed the reasons why the year end was more challenging than usual and as a result, collaboration and leadership skills were needed. Then, I went on to provide examples of how I demonstrated leadership skills (e.g., be the mentor for the more junior staff) and how we collaborated as a team (e.g., how we shared the workload by prioritizing). I made sure to highlight my contribution to overcoming this challenging period during my manager’s absense. Then, I identified the CPA values and explained why they were applicable to my situation.
I also discussed the alternatives and their pros and cons. For example, I could have acted like business as usual and logged out when time was up. I explained what the consequences would have been and who I went to for guidance. Lastly, I reflected on the lessons I learned from this experience and ways I can apply in the future.