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THE ROAD TO CFE


The inside story on the


Common Final Examination, the tool that will welcome the best and brightest


accountants to the CPA fold by Lisa van de Geyn


ver the course of three days last September, CPA candidates across Canada streamed into 30 auditoriums, gymnasiums and other locations to write the CPA profession’s first Common Final Examination. Each has


spent hundreds of hours of intensive preparation in the quest to become a chartered professional accountant. On this particular Wednesday morning — the first day of testing — students from diverse academic backgrounds in English and French Canada enter the testing centres and settle into their seats to spend the next four hours completing the first part of the exam. They will return on Thursday to write for another five hours, then finish on Friday with the final four


34 | CPA MAGAZINE | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016


hours of testing. All in all, they’ll spend 13 intense hours demonstrating the competencies required to merit that coveted designation. Formal examinations to certify Canadian accountants


have been around for more than a century, but the 2015 writing was different — and not only for the participating candidates. Tashia Batstone, CPA Canada’s vice-president of education services, and her team were charged with creat- ing the new exam — the tool that will ultimately be respon- sible for welcoming the best and brightest accountants to one of the largest national accounting bodies in the world. It’s been an enormous task. Batstone and her team, sup- ported by a volunteer Board of Examiners (BOE), have


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