Monthly Archives: November 2013

Advantages of failing the UFE

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by exaMENTOR.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” And he knew what he was talking about. Churchill had failed the sixth grade, and went on to lose the election in every public office role he ran for. Despite these many setbacks, he was eventually elected British prime minister at the age of 62.

So the UFE results came out and you did not see your name on the list. You did not pass the UFE. At this point, you start to doubt many things – whether you’ll pass it next year, whether you’ll make a good professional accountant and whether the stars will ever align for you to finally receive your designation. You are feeling lost, confused and uncertain. What went wrong? What do I do now? How do I start again?

While it might seem of little consolation at the time, your failure to pass the UFE places you, ironically enough, in an exclusive club. Here are some of its members:

  • Henry Ford’s first three companies were flops: the first one went out of business, he abandoned the second and the third went downhill because of declining sales.
  • After an early performance, Elvis Presley was told by the manager of the legendary Grand Ole Opry, “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”
  • Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
  • Soichiro Honda was left unemployed after he was rejected for an engineering job at Toyota.
  • JK Rowling was fired from her secretarial jobs because she was caught writing creative stories on her computer.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked creativity.”

The list goes on. Admittedly, it can be difficult to associate your own struggles with those on this list of famous celebrities. The point is that we all experience failure. Don’t be surprised during a frank conversation with some of the folks in corner offices when you hear stories about how they too encountered failure, including not passing the UFE on the first attempt.

So is it simply a coincidence that all of these successful people encountered failure at some point in their lives? Or could it be that failure is a necessary stumbling block on the path to success? Perhaps we need to experience failure to become more motivated to achieve our goals, to build “thicker” skin, to learn to never to give up, and to prevail despite temporary setbacks? Although it can seem counterintuitive, failure is not merely a coincidence in these and countless other success stories. It is not a stretch to say that the failures experienced by successful people actually lay the foundation for their future successes. Each person takes away particular lessons from their personal failures, but what they share in common is their commitment to their long-term goal and the courage to struggle towards it. They did not give up, sit back and simply accept what they were told by their bosses, peers or potential employers. With their personal goal at the center of their focus, they kept at it and proved all of those doubting people wrong.

You are probably thinking that this is not the whole story. Even if failure is a necessary and inevitable part of eventual success, doesn’t failure also result in a lot of personal misery, disappointment and under-achievement? This is also true. Not everyone who fails at something will later succeed in it. However, every one who has failed and who embraces their failure will. It’s about caring enough about yourself and what you’re doing to take on the challenge again, to work hard and have patience.

Dealing with failure is an opportunity for inner growth. Embrace it. This is the time to get stronger by understanding and addressing your weaknesses. This is your opportunity to become an unstoppable machine that slowly and steady approaches your destination—success.

So what’s the moral of the story? While you need to give yourself some time to mope around and deal with your feelings, please understand that you are not alone. Seek out and talk to people who have had similar experiences. After sometime, start thinking about what you need to do next. Revisit your preparation process to figure out what went wrong and what you should change to do better next year.  Most importantly, get help. You do not need to struggle through this process alone. So get up, dust yourself off and have the courage and to work harder and work smarter. Your name will be on that list next year.

As Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Historical examples used in this posted are based on We got fired! by Harvey Mackay and www.businessinsider.com.

Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company, which is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with UFE Blog, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of regular posts produced by UFE Blog are never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way.

2013 UFE Results Breakdown

Congratulations again to all those successful today. Here’s a quick (live) breakdown of the 2013 UFE results. I did this quickly so it may have some errors (feel free to point them out) but I think it’s accurate. As more information becomes available it will be updated.

Head here if you’re not sure where to find you results!

Total Successful Candidates in 2013: 3,032 (vs. 3,077 in 2012)

Successful in CASB (West): 1,077  (vs. 1,007 in 2012)
Successful in Ontario: 1,201 (vs. 1,279 in 2012)
Successful in Quebec: 617 (8 Honour Roll) (vs. 642 in 2012)
Successful in Atlantic Canada: … (vs. 149 in 2012)

  • New Brunswick: 34
  • Nova Scotia: 59
  • P.E.I.: 21

Medallists in 2013

NATIONAL Gold Medallist: George Nicholas Christian TSAI, Ernst & Young LLP, Toronto – University of Waterloo, Master of Accounting, 2013

Western Canada Gold Medallists: Ross Johnson, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP – Calgary (AB)

 Quebec Gold Medallist: Francis Corriveau-Sauvé, an HEC Montréal graduate and trainee at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Montreal

Atlantic Canada Gold Medallist: John Alexander and Liam Murphy placed on the 2013 CICA National Honour Roll, tying for first in Eastern Canada

 

News and Press

 A reminder: UFE Pass Rates are no longer published, only the number of candidates successful.

2013 UFE Results | Résultats de l'EFU de 2013

At long last, it’s UFE results days!

Candidates in Quebec will be receiving their UFE (EFU) results at 7pm tonight, the rest of you tomorrow. I think it’s a long standing tradition that most candidates awaiting (or receiving) results will be partying tonight – enjoy!

UFE Blog will be posting results related press and information as it pops up. Head below to find your results.


 Quebec (EFU Results)

November 28, 2013 @ 7pm

http://ocaq.qc.ca/become-a-cpa-ca/university-students-graduate-students-and-cpa-ca-candidates/uniform-evaluation-ufe/2013-ufe-results.html

Congratulations to the 617 Quebec candidates receiving good results! Félicitations!

8 Honour Roll candidates announced!


 Ontario Results

November 29, 2013 @ 12pm

Now available: http://www.cpaontario.ca/7CB9/index.aspx

Congratulations to the 1,201  candidates receiving good news!


CA School of Business (Western Canada)

November 29, 2013 @ 7:00am PST/8:00am MST/9:00am CST

Accessed through your Candidate Portal

http://casb.com/CurrentStudents/UFE.aspx

Congratulations to the 1,077 CASB candidates receiving good news!


 

Atlantic School of Chartered Accountancy: http://www.asca.ns.ca/cur_contact.htm

 Chartered Accountants of New Brunswick

November 29, 2013 @ 9:30 am

http://www.nbica.org/english/ufe-release.htm

Congratulations! 34 candidates in New Brunswick are on the list!


Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia

November 29, 2013 (@ 9:30am I believe – but not confirmed)

http://www.icans.ns.ca/

Congratulations! 59 candidates in Nova Scotia are on the list! 


Chartered Accountants of PEI

November 28, 2013 @ 5pm (Commenter’s feedback – thanks!)
http://www.icapei.com/

Congratulations to candidates receiving the happy news in PEI tonight!


Chartered Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador

November 29, 2013 (@ 9:30am I believe – but not confirmed)

http://www.icanl.ca/

2013 UFE Results | Résultats de l’EFU de 2013

At long last, it’s UFE results days!

Candidates in Quebec will be receiving their UFE (EFU) results at 7pm tonight, the rest of you tomorrow. I think it’s a long standing tradition that most candidates awaiting (or receiving) results will be partying tonight – enjoy!

UFE Blog will be posting results related press and information as it pops up. Head below to find your results.


 Quebec (EFU Results)

November 28, 2013 @ 7pm

http://ocaq.qc.ca/become-a-cpa-ca/university-students-graduate-students-and-cpa-ca-candidates/uniform-evaluation-ufe/2013-ufe-results.html

Congratulations to the 617 Quebec candidates receiving good results! Félicitations!

8 Honour Roll candidates announced!


 Ontario Results

November 29, 2013 @ 12pm

Now available: http://www.cpaontario.ca/7CB9/index.aspx

Congratulations to the 1,201  candidates receiving good news!


CA School of Business (Western Canada)

November 29, 2013 @ 7:00am PST/8:00am MST/9:00am CST

Accessed through your Candidate Portal

http://casb.com/CurrentStudents/UFE.aspx

Congratulations to the 1,077 CASB candidates receiving good news!


 

Atlantic School of Chartered Accountancy: http://www.asca.ns.ca/cur_contact.htm

 Chartered Accountants of New Brunswick

November 29, 2013 @ 9:30 am

http://www.nbica.org/english/ufe-release.htm

Congratulations! 34 candidates in New Brunswick are on the list!


Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia

November 29, 2013 (@ 9:30am I believe – but not confirmed)

http://www.icans.ns.ca/

Congratulations! 59 candidates in Nova Scotia are on the list! 


Chartered Accountants of PEI

November 28, 2013 @ 5pm (Commenter’s feedback – thanks!)
http://www.icapei.com/

Congratulations to candidates receiving the happy news in PEI tonight!


Chartered Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador

November 29, 2013 (@ 9:30am I believe – but not confirmed)

http://www.icanl.ca/

It’s UFE Results Week!… What should I be doing?

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by Charles Zane, MBA, CPA, CA.

It’s that time of the year again: UFE Results Week. Having coached a number of candidates over the years and having been through the process personally, I know it could be quite an anxious time (‘quite anxious’ is a slight understatement). UFE candidates have a different view on what the exam represents and some may be more nervous than others.

Using the ‘rule of 3’ I have compiled a (short) list of 3 DOs and 3 DON’Ts for what UFE writers should do doing during results week. My experience in coaching UFE candidates over the years has led me to this list and I can only hope it will help any UFE writer reading this blog post:

DO

  1. … your best to relax this week. Relaxing means different things to different people. Apart from work, it would not hurt to book some relaxing activities. How about hanging out with friends and bantering about a good movie you recently saw, or (better yet) try something new such as a yoga class or massage/spa to unwind?
  2. … be selfish! I am an advocator of teamwork but perhaps that should not apply for this particular week. Think of yourself and what you need to do to relax (see point 1 above) and have fun (see point 3 below).
  3. … have fun this week! Fun? What a strange concept on results week? Results week may be one of the only weeks of the year (apart from vacation time) where one can take time for oneself and have a good time. You should do anything and everything that will make you happy (with the exception of the 3 DON’Ts below)

DON’T

  1. … think about the exam! The reality is, most candidates will do this, it’s human nature. However, the exam was quite a long time ago during the (much) warmer month of September. And regardless of whether you remember the exam or not, it’s been out of your hands since then. So thinking of question X or issue Y is completely irrelevant and will only add stress and anxiety for no reason.
  2. … discuss with anyone about the exam! Related to the previous point, it is important that people give you your space this week, whether they are CAs, UFE writers (past and current) or anyone for that matter. Sometimes it helps to stick with people who are far away from the UFE process for this to happen.
  3. … panic leading up to the results. This will be one of the most difficult steps to achieve. Remember that you likely put in a lot of time and effort into this process. Hopefully you will be rewarded for it. Regardless of your result, the world will not stop to turn when the results are released. Life moves on either way and new beginnings are on the horizon for all parties involved.

All that being written, it’s your week and enjoy it as much as possible because 2013 UFE writers, you deserve it!

Best of luck to each and every UFE writer! I wish you a lot of success for your results day 🙂

– Charles

 A Short Biography:

Charles Zane is a Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) residing in Montreal, Quebec. Specializing in CA and UFE exam teaching, coaching, and marking since 2010, Charles has worked with a variety of organizations to help students get success at various levels of the UFE process: Concordia University and McGill University Chartered Accountancy Programs, Densmore Consulting Inc., Professional Accounting Supplementary School as well as working one-on-one privately with students across Canada.  Overall, Charles works on developing skills for CA and UFE candidates in reading/planning, outlining, ranking issues, writing skills for sufficient depth, time management, stress management, technical competency map review and overall case base strategies.

Charles has also completed his US CPA designation (registered with the state of Illinois) and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario.

For CA and UFE coaching information, please contact Charles at charles.zane@gmail.com and mention UFE Blog!

 Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company, which is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with UFE Blog, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of regular posts produced by UFE Blog are never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way.

Understanding Financial Statement Assertions (Part 2)

Hi readers!  My name is Gus Patel, and I have offered to help with updates to content on the UFE Blog.  I have recently been in your situation, having written the 2013 UFE.  Currently, I work as an Audit Senior at BDO Canada LLP.  In my spare time, I enjoy being active, as well as teaching students about accounting concepts.

Today we continue the discussion of financial statement assertions from yesterday.

Before getting into the specifics of each assertion, it might be helpful to understand why aspiring CA’s should care.

Audit Assertions

Why are audit assertions important to auditors?

From the above chart, we can see that at the end of the day, the real essence of addressing assertions are to evaluate management’s overall position on the financial statements, either about transactions and events for the period under audit (See CAS 315 – A.124), or otherwise known as the income statement assertions or assertions about account balances that are at period end – or balance sheet assertions and finally presentation and disclosure assertions.  Presentation assertions will not be covered in this post to focus on the most popular assertions on the UFE:

So what are the assertions and how can you pair them with a correct procedure?

Existence (or Occurence if you are referencing the Income Statement side)

This is essentially understood as management’s claim that the amounts recorded are actually genuine, or “exist”, and are not ficticious transactions.  An existence error essentially is an account overstatement (i.e. something isn’t there when it is recorded that it is).  An easy procedure to address whether anything exists is to actually physically verify.  Auditors can physically count cash, inventory, or obtain confirmations on receivable balances.

Completeness

Completeness is management’s claim that all transactions to be included are included, or “complete”.  A completeness error would be an understatement (i.e. something is there which isn’t recorded).  Therefore, an easy procedure to verify completeness is to do a floor-to-sheet count.  Another example could be having auditors verify accruals are accurate through subsequent testing of related expenses.

Accuracy

All data (amounts) relating to the transactions are properly recorded.  A good way to remember accuracy is to think of cases where there is something that management needs to calculate in order to arrive at an account balance.  For example, foreign exchange needs to be accurately recorded, and a procedure to address the accuracy of foreign exchange would be to recalculate and compare to what management has recorded.

Cutoff

Ensuring appropriate cutoff means accounting for every transaction that occurred during the (financial statement) period without either aggressively recording entries which are within the next-periods transactions, or postponing the recording of transactions until the next period.  An easy way to remember cut off is to think of revenue or balance sheet liabilities, things that management might be interested in delaying or accelerating due to bias for either obtaining a management bonus, or for covenant compliance.  A procedure to address cut off is to determine the date of the transaction, either the sale or liability in this case.

Classification

Transactions occurring are within the correct accounts.  For example,  your revenue recorded really isn’t an expense, or an asset really isn’t a liability.

Rights and Obligations (balance sheet assertion only)

The entity holds the “right” or actually controls the asset or liability.  For instance, an entity has the legal “right” to record property plant and equipment on the balance sheet if they have entered into a purchase agreement, and funny enough, the easy way to verify that is to look at the purchase agreement!

Valuation and Allocation (balance sheet assertion only)

Assets, liabilities and equity are included in the financial statement presentation at appropriate amounts, and all valuation adjustments are properly recorded in accordance with the financial reporting framework being used.  Measurement of valuation can either be: fair value, historical cost, present value or a method of allocation of joint costs.  Procedures to verify this could be comparing market data to ensure inventory does not require a write down, or evaluating the collectibility of receivables greater than 90 days – asking the question: is it really collectible?

Once you understand what the assertions are, the next challenging part is identifying which assertion addresses the real risk, because remember, all balance sheet assertions have: existence, rights and obligations, completeness and valuation and allocation assertions, and all income statement items have occurrence, completeness, accuracy, cutoff and classification assertions!

Again, remember these assertions are all in your CICA Handbook and can be referenced during your practice exams and in a pinch, even during the UFE! However, if you’re getting started now, procedures will be second nature to you.

 

Understanding Audit Assertions (Part 1)

Hi readers!  My name is Gus Patel, and I have offered to help update some content on the UFE Blog.  I have recently been in your situation, having written the 2013 UFE.  Currently, I work as an Audit Senior at BDO Canada LLP.  In my spare time, I enjoy being active, as well as teaching students about accounting concepts.

Today I’m going to introduce you to how audit assertions will be an important aspect of writing good procedures on the UFE. Tomorrow I will dive into the technical aspects of audit assertions which CKE candidates may find helpful.

Please have a look at Creating good procedures on the UFE  before diving into this audit assertions topic, as this post will focus on the key assertions that candidates will integrate as part of their procedure response.

Given the increased attention on the UFE to relevant procedures, it’s worth examining one aspect of procedures which is key to understanding how to write good procedures from the start. Scoring on procedure indicators includes the requirement to identify the relevant “audit assertion”.  Candidates will probably not score competent on a discussion of procedures which address an irrelevant assertion.  Where candidates have difficulty is in pairing a relevant assertion to the procedure that they create.

For example:  If case facts indicate an accounting issue is related to a writedown of inventory, which you correctly identify and respond as apart of your accounting discussions, an easy procedure candidates may choose to write could be an inventory count.  Inventory counts address two assertions through testing, either completeness of the listing obtained by vouching from items on the records (known as floor-to-sheet), or existence of inventory by vouching from items on the books to items held in inventory (known as sheet-to-floor).  While you may correctly identify an assertion related to this particular procedure, the real risk you identified is around inventory valuation.  Thus, discussion of an inventory count would not address the real risk you identified.  In this case, a valid response could be as follows:

  • To address the risk of proper inventory valuation at year-end, we should obtain an aged inventory listing as well as the most recent sales invoice, to ensure the product is selling higher than the cost recorded.  If it is determined that the product has been sold for less than costs recorded, or has not been sold recently, this may be indicative of a write-down being required.

While this may be easier for candidates in audit, assertions can be somewhat tricky for writers with little to no audit experience. Luckily, audit assertions can be found in the CICA Handbook.  With this in mind, if you are having difficulty with developing procedures, it may be wise to keep the Handbook open, at least in the beginning while writing and quickly reference what the relevant assertion would be.

If you are struggling with this at the beginning, you are not alone!  Pairing audit assertions to the procedures you create tends to be one of the more difficult areas for candidates to master at first, but with time and practice it is something that will become second nature by the time you are ready to write the UFE.  Also remember, topics such as the inventory count discussion above do not change, therefore, frequently tested topics which you will debrief over your study period will cover virtually all assertions for the popularly tested risk areas.

What difficulties with audit assertions do you have?

 

Assurance Special Reports – Section 8500 – Review of Financial Information Other than Financial Statements

Review of Financial Information Other than Financial Statements (Section 8500)
Last Updated: November 4, 2013

You can find a printer-friendly study sheet in PDF format by clicking here!


Review of Financial Information Other than Financial Statements (Section 8500)

Important to remember that a review level of assurance is lower than an audit level of assurance.

A review can consist of inquiry, analytical procedures and discussions with management or employees with respect to financial information.

 

Examples of Financial Information other than Financial Statements:

  • Specific financial statement items such as revenue for a particular region
  • Grant application data
  • Supplementary information accompanying financial statements

This list can obviously be very broad.

Examples of when this section does not apply:

  • Reporting on results of applying audit procedures
  • Compilation of financial information (without the review)
  • Review of future-oriented financial information

 

Detailed Considerations:

  • When financial information is prepared in accordance with specific agreements or regulation and significant interpretations were made related to these, the auditor should disclosed the interpretations.
  • Materiality should be determined in the context of the financial information being reported.
  • If financial statement items are interrelated (i.e. sales and receivables) it may be necessary to look at other financial information that could materially affect the information on which the auditor is reporting. Consider scope.
  • Auditor needs to consider whether there is adequate disclosure in the information they are reviewing.

Memories of UFE 2013 – Results Soon

With three weeks to go until the UFE results for 2013 writers are released, I can see by the traffic level that it’s starting to creep back into your thoughts. UFE results anxiety is back.

I’ve written some basic tips about dealing with the anxiety but the truth is you’re just going to have to be patient and wait the next three weeks out with everyone else. If it helps, you’re welcome to use the comments to vent. There are plenty of others in your shoes and many who have been there before that come by here.

 

UFE Results Day

Unfortunately there is not one single place where the results are released for all candidates. You’ll have to find out where your institute/ordre is putting them. Some are still publicly broadcast for all to see and others are released privately by your candidate number.

 Ontario Results

November 29, 2013 @ 12pm

http://www.cpaontario.ca/ufe2013/


Quebec (EFU Results)

November 29, 2013

http://ocaq.qc.ca/become-a-cpa-ca/university-students-graduate-students-and-cpa-ca-candidates/uniform-evaluation-ufe/2013-ufe-results.html


CA School of Business (Western Canada)

November 29, 2013 @ 7:00am PST/8:00am MST/9:00am CST

Accessed through your Candidate Portal

http://casb.com/CurrentStudents/UFE.aspx


Atlantic School of Chartered Accountancy: http://www.asca.ns.ca/cur_contact.htm

 Chartered Accountants of New Brunswick

November 29, 2013 @ 9:30 am

http://www.nbica.org/english/ufe-dates.asp


Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia

November 29, 2013 (@ 9:30am I believe – but not confirmed)

http://www.icans.ns.ca/


Chartered Accountants of PEI

November 29, 2013 (@ 9:30am I believe – but not confirmed)

http://www.icapei.com/


Chartered Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador

November 29, 2013 (@ 9:30am I believe – but not confirmed)

http://www.icans.ns.ca/

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