This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
They’re asked to assess strategi- cally the risks and opportunities Arndt should consider in the near future, such as whether to go public or allow a private-equity firm to purchase part of the company, and report back to the company. Candidates are judged on professional competencies such as defining the strategic problem and integrating informa- tion to investigate viable solutions. Day two of the CFE shiſts focus

from top-level strategic thinking to the demonstration of knowl- edge depth. From an examination design perspective, this was particularly challenging. “The education and experience of CPA candidates is no longer homogeneous,” says Khalil. “They can now gain their practical experience in a variety of backgrounds, both in public practice and in industry, government and not for profits, and have the opportunity to choose career-relevant elec- tives within CPA PEP. We needed to develop an examination methodology that tests all candidates to the same standard, while recognizing this diversity.” The innovative design of CFE day two meets this challenge.

All candidates are provided with the same case — but before the exam they choose the perspective from which they will respond to it. They choose from one of four possible roles — assurance, tax, finance or performance management — aligning with their education, experience and career goals. Those who choose the tax role, for example, might be required to demonstrate depth by calculating taxable income and preparing tax filings for the company, while those in the assurance role might be required to review draft financial statements and prepare a preliminary audit strategy. “One key requirement was to ensure the four roles are of

equal difficulty from an assessment standpoint,” Khalil adds. “CFE candidates all receive the same case, and appendices rele- vant to their chosen role. The examinations are then marked by teams of experts in each area.” CFE day three uses several small cases to provide candidates

the opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of their compe- tency development. “This is where candidates are tested in all competency areas,” says Batstone. These business scenarios provide the opportunity to test both technical competency and vital “soſter skills” — professionalism, responsibility, ability to

deal with difficult situations — that candidates should possess. It also brings ethical issues to the forefront. In one of the

cases in the department’s mock exam, for example, a CPA was accidentally copied on an email divulging corrupt behaviour by two company executives. The candidate must address the issue, assessing whether “management decisions align with the enti- ty’s mission, vision and values,” and analyzing the “key opera- tional issues and alignment with strategy.” In developing the CFE, CPA Canada’s education staff and the

BOE faced a number of challenges. The most significant, according to Hilton, was overcoming legacy biases. “Everyone involved had come from one of the three legacy accounting organizations and brought certain ideas with them on what was best. When things don’t work perfectly, we oſten face a barrage of ‘just go back to the way it was,’” he says. “People don’t like change and that was evident throughout the development process.” Finding a sufficient number of qualified markers was also

challenging. “We now need markers not just for the CFE, but every three months for PEP core and elective exams,” Khalil says. “Our process ensures that quality is always maintained.”

Looking ahead The first CFE went off without a hitch. Khalil, who managed the UFE, says that while it was satisfying to see the UFE through to the end, it was even more exciting to launch the CFE. Marks were released to candidates on December 4, and suc-

cessful candidates will take their place in the CPA Canada history books. “This is a historic time for Canada’s accounting profession,” Dancey says. “These individuals who were the first writers of the CFE, and were successful, will be among the first Canadian CPAs with no legacy designation once they have com- pleted their practical experience.” There are two CFEs scheduled for this year — May and September — and one in September 2017. “Today’s accountants must create value — not just measure

value. Not only does the certification program develop the tech- nical skills associated with the profession, it also provides a solid understanding of performance management, communi- cations and strategy,” says Dancey. “Passing the CFE is a signifi- cant personal achievement. It puts you on a career path that can offer a lifetime of rewards.”

LISA VAN DE GEYN is a Toronto-based writer and a contributing editor to CPA Magazine


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72