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AN AUDIT… NO LONGER JUST FROM THE IRS

Have you scheduled your PMI certification exam yet? If not, are you past the point where you may get audited?

Whether it be the Project Management Professional (PMP), the Certified Associate (CAPM), the Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP), the Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP), or the Program Management Professional (PgMP)certification – they all carry with them the possibility of an application audit by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

WHY DOES PMI AUDIT?

Believe it or not, this is not a money-making gimmick by the folks at PMI. As a matter of fact, this costs PMI money as they need resources to evaluate the applications. Personally, as a project manager that worked many long hours to quality for my PMP, I want to know that the integrity of the credential is there for anyone putting those initials after their name. And here’s the thing: People Lie. So PMI has to do something to demonstrate they are at least checking the information that people submit.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE FOR AUDIT?

The good news: No work products, deliverables, schedules, etc.
However, you do need to have the project experience you submitted verified and signed-off by the person you indicated on your application. This is pretty easily accomplished when you have just a few projects and the verifying party is close by (geographically). However, I have seen some students with 30+ projects trying to contact people around the world (literally!). Which is one of the reasons we encourage students to “keep it simple!” on the application.

When selected for audit, PMI will provide you with a link to PDF versions of your application. Those forms will need to be printed off and signed by the appropriate person. Once signed, the signatory will need to place that form in a sealed envelope and sign across the back of the envelope. Do not tamper with the envelope once sealed! You will need to gather the verification forms (from all of your projects submitted) and put them together with your training proof and any appropriate transcripts into one large envelope for PMI. Everything on your application must be verified within that envelope.

HOW LONG DOES THE AUDIT TAKE?

PMI states that they will take five business days to process your audit. However, in our experience, once they receive the packet (and if they’ve had a little poking from the student), they will clear the audit within a couple of days and provide the student with their eligibility ID to schedule their exam.

So on the PMI-side, it’s relatively quick. It’s getting all of the documentation together and signed that can take some time.

MY APPLICATION IS APPROVED, THAT MEANS NO AUDIT, RIGHT?

That would be a big fat NO. You will not know whether you’ve been audited until AFTER you paid your exam fees. When you pay your examination fees online at PMI.org, you will be immediately generated a receipt. That receipt will either have your eligibility ID (which you need to schedule your exam) OR it will give you the wonderful and exciting news that you were in the lucky 25% that was selected for audit. Shortly thereafter, you will receive the “Audit Welcome Packet” from PMI with full instructions on how to comply with the audit process.

MORAL OF THE STORY?

Prepare for audit, expect audit, embrace audit. Do not put anything on your application that you cannot have verified. Depending on how urgently you want to take your exam, you may want to even give folks a heads-up that you may be contacting them for verification. And remember: keep it simple! There are no bonus points for adding “extra” experience or education. It’s just more that you will need to have verified!

Were you audited? We’d love your comments on this post and your experience with the audit process!

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