Ranking Issues on the UFE

One of the issues that candidates often have trouble with on the UFE is ranking issues. Some candidates find they have a good intuition while others struggle trying to understand why one issue is ranked higher than another. Today I’m offering some suggestions of things to consider when you’re doing your ranking on your outline.

Specifically Required Info

It should be self evident by now that when someone who you are working for in the case asks for something specifically, this is a priority and must therefore be ranked high enough that you have time to tackle it. If somebody says they need to know how much tax they owe, you’ll need to calculate the taxes owing. This is more a required (links to a competency) than  issue ranking but I thought I’d mention it.

Survival of the Entity

Survival of the business or person is of course paramount and issues which could impact that survival should be ranked high. If a business does not have enough working capital to survive this year, a discussion surrounding this issue should be had with recommendations that could be taken to assure survival.

Future Viability

Similar to survival above, the future success and viability of the entity usually ranks high.

Impacts on cash and cash flow

Issues which impact cash are usually ranked high because they also related to the survival of the entity and future viability and may impact numerous aspects of the entities health and future success as well as what the owner of the business can pay themselves.

Major/Large Changes Year over Year

Occasionally you’ll see large swings in numbers from year to year or new users will exist for the financial information, issues that are important to these new users can often be ranked high so do consider things that are new or large (in quantity) in the current year.


In simulations where a materiality is know, it’s important to keep an eye on which amounts are material and rank the material amounts higher than immaterial amounts. Even in simulations where a “materiality” isn’t set, look for $ amounts which are high relative to the others, those are generally more important.

Lots of Numbers

When a lot of numbers are provided for a particular issue, it often means they want you to discuss it.


Anytime fraud is an issue it should be discussed.

Pervasive Issues

Issues which are big picture and impact more than one part of the simulation are usually ranked high, these may often lead to the PQs as well. For example, control issues which double charge customers could be a pervasive issues. Double charging customers impacts the accuracy of revenue (PMR), is a control issue because it’s not caught (Assurance), impacts customer satisfaction (business survival/risk/gsrm). Think about which issues impact multiple areas of the entity when thinking about control issues.


What other issues or tips do you see in identifying highly ranked issues? Tell us in the comments!

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