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The first CFE went off without a hitch, and

successful candidates took their place

in the CPA Canada history books

Before entering the exam centres, each CFE candidate has

met the education requirements of the new CPA certification program, which include an undergraduate degree, specific prerequisite knowledge requirements and the graduate level CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP), or an equiva- lent postsecondary program accredited by the profession. Those with undergraduate degrees outside accounting can meet any missing knowledge requirements through prerequi- site modules offered by the profession or through a postsecond- ary institution. CPA prerequisite modules also provide an effi- cient bridge to CPA PEP for international students and internationally trained accountants seeking the Canadian CPA designation. Sandy Hilton, the director of professional education pro-

grams at CPA Canada, has overseen the CPA PEP program since its first module launched in an 800-student pilot program in 2013. “CPA PEP is driven by the CPA Competency Map, which was developed with significant input from all types of employ- ers answering the question, ‘What skills and knowledge do new CPAs require to be successful in your organization?’” he says. “It’s a simple but very powerful question that quickly identifies the key, common skills that cross many different types of jobs.”

The CFE In November, just 10 days before the final results of the first CFE are sent to the provincial boards for their stamps of approval, Jylan Khalil is between marking centres checking on progress — pass or fail scores are scheduled to be released to candidates in about three weeks. As CPA Canada’s director of evaluation, Khalil is dubbed the department’s “assessment guru.” Things have changed since 1986 when Khalil started at CICA and worked on the UFE, but she says being part of the creation


of the CFE has been the most exciting adventure of her 30-year career. The CFE is as challenging as any of the legacy exams, testing knowledge across the six technical competency areas outlined in the CPA Competency Map as well as a candidate’s ability to think strategically, use professional skills such as skep- ticism and judgment and demonstrate strong communication skills. The CPA CFE is created by a task force of subject-matter

experts and approved by the profession’s BOE, a voluntary body of 18 members from across Canada who share a passionate commitment to the profession. BOE members are drawn from all legacy bodies and include representatives from academe, industry, government and public practice; their role is to ensure all candidates are treated fairly while upholding the profession’s standards. The inaugural board is chaired by Peter Norwood, chair of the financial management department of Vancouver’s Langara College, and a legacy CA and CMA member. The CFE is administered over three days, with candidates

challenged to demonstrate specific skills in response to various business-case scenarios. Day one, which has roots in CMA Canada’s legacy exam,

focuses on strategic thinking. “It’s based on a case study taken from the Capstone 1 module of the CPA PEP,” Batstone explains. “Candidates are required to draw on their research and the knowledge they’ve gained to address big picture issues.” The case provided in a mock CFE provides a good example. It

involves the fictional Arndt Industries, a company that has expanded to Peru and increased its product offerings to include an eco-friendly locomotive. For exam purposes, candidates are given two years of financial statements, five-year forecasts, perti- nent company updates (such as changes to the board of direc- tors) and transcribed minutes from the last board meeting.

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