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December 2017 CFE Results (CPA)

December 2017 CFE Results

2017 CFE results time is here again: December 1, 2017 is the release date of the results for all candidates. We’re working quickly to break down the results. Even before the results are out, I’d like to congratulate all of the CPA PEP Candidates who took the time to write the exam. It’s tiring, and exhausting, and I remember my own time (I’m not that old) when I wrote and passed the UFE.

If you don’t know how to get data about the 2017 CFE results, I’ll populate this page with a summary of all of the available information from CPA Canada and the Provincial bodies.

CFE results time is upon us again! From the comments in the last few days here and from the candidates I’m working with I’m quickly brought back to my own results day a few years back now. Even before the results – congratulations for making it through the long and tiring wait.

If you’re not sure where to go to get the CFE results, below are some of the key spots to check for your results.

December 2017 CFE Results

GOLD MEDAL:

Mr. John Wark, Crowe MacKay LLP, Yellowknife (NWT/Nunavut)

Regional Gold Medals:

Atlantic: 

Ms. Monica Gregory, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Conception Bay South (NL)

Ontario:

Ms. Faghya Samra Shafiq, Ernst & Young LLP, Toronto (ON)

Quebec:

Mr. Kaihua He, Deloitte S.E.N.C.R.L./s.r.l., Montreal (QC)

Mr. Philippe Sénécal, Chiasson Gauvreau Inc., Châteauguay (QC)

ONTARIO

2252 Successful Writers! (up from 1249 in 2016 CFE)

Results released Friday, December 1 at 10:00am EST
Link to results: here

QUEBEC (QUEBEC CPA)

1121 Successful Writers!

Results released Friday, December 1 at 10:00am EST
Link to results: Here

CPA WESTERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS (CPAWSB)

(British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon)

1995 Successful Writers!

Honour Roll: Chelsea Bohonis-Schiemann (BC) Lorel Butalid (AB) Richard Dasler (BC) Thomas Drinkwater (BC) Kyla Gateley (SK) Paul Gotaas (AB) Shauna Hanson (AB) Trevor Hodgins (BC) Hardeep Kang (BC) Jason Koch (AB) Cole Leonoff (BC) Christine Liddell (AB) Hailey Maksymic-Harris (AB) Lissa Paul (BC) Paramveer Purewal (BC) Maria Seloza (AB) Thomas Simpson (AB) Ryan Slater (BC) Michael Stuart (AB) Erik Vagle (BC) Nico Van den Hooff (BC) Sarah Wang (BC) Jennifer Wells (BC) Man Yuen (BC)

Results released Friday, December 1 at 7:00am PST
Link to results: here

CPA ATLANTIC SCHOOL OF BUSINESS (ATLANTIC CPA)

(Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Bermuda, Caribbean)

225 Successful Writers! (212 in 2016 CFE)

Results released Friday, December 1 at 9:30am AST
Link to results: here

How Do I Keep Track Of 2017 CFE progress?

You should be tracking your CFE progress when you begin writing daily simulations (weekends off!).

For those who don’t have some kind of simulation tracking sheet, create one in Excel! You can build on every easily..

At minimum, you can use a tracking sheet to track your results per indicator per case. You should be noting what kind of indicator it is. This tracks the meat of your CFE performance but if you want to go all out, I would also recommend tracking certain other things that might be going wrong with your cases. For example:

  • Time management – did you run out of time or did you use your time well given how you scored. Write how you felt about this before your case is marked. Afterwards you can compare how you scored to how you felt and make a better judgment on whether you are using your time well.
  • Ranking issues – perhaps track if you messed up in your ranking, this will ID this important issue quickly.
  • Technical problems – Again, write how you felt about this before your case is marked and then compare. Maybe you didn’t need as much technical as you thought.

Those are the three major ones I can think of but it’s endless what you could potentially track. At minimum you should know which types of indicators need more work and which need less at which point you can write cases that test more of your problem indicators. Just keep in mind, if you’re not tracking something for a purpose (if it’s not helping you by tracking it) then you could be wasting time so make sure to find balance. Happy tracking!

December 2016 CFE Results

CFE results time is upon us again! From the comments in the last few days here and from the candidates I’m working with I’m quickly brought back to my own results day a few years back now. Even before the results – congratulations for making it through the long and tiring wait.

If you’re not sure where to go to get the CFE results, below are some of the key spots to check for your results.

 

Recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada cash prize of $5,000 for the highest standing in Canada in the September 2016 Common Final Examination:

Ms. Julie Cardinal PricewaterhouseCoopers s.r.l./S.E.N.C.R.L. Montreal (QC)

 

ONTARIO

1,249 Successful Writers!

Results released Friday, December 9 at 10 AM EST
Go here: CPA Ontario September 2016 CFE Results

Recipient of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada Gold Medal and cash prize of $2,500 for the highest standing in Ontario in the September 2016 Common Final Examination: Ms. Sanly Zi Shan Li KPMG LLP Toronto (ON)

 

QUEBEC

866 Successful Writers!

Results released Friday, December 9 at 9 AM EST
Go here: CPA Quebec December 2016 CFE Results

 

CPA WESTERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

(British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon)

Results released Friday, December 9 at 7:00am Pacific
Go here: CPA West December 2016 CFE Results

Recipient of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada Gold Medal and cash prize of $2,500 for the highest standing in Western Canada in the September 2016 Common Final Examination: Lindsay Mclean Deloitte & Touche LLP Calgary (AB)

 

CPA ATLANTIC SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

(Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Bermuda, Caribbean)

212 Successful Writers! (At least that is my count from the cryptic PDF file put up)

Results released Friday, December 9 at 9:30am AST
Go here: CPA Atlantic Web Site CFE Results

Recipient of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada Gold Medal and cash prize of $2,500 for the highest standing in Atlantic Canada in the September 2016 Common Final Examination: Mr. Andrew Garrett Nickel PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Halifax (NS)

September already!? Last minute advice for September CFE writers

First off: wishing all those writing the CFE this Wednesday, September 21 – Friday, September 23 the very best!

Whether you’ve been studying for 5-6 weeks or only squeaked a week or two, here are some final tips to get through the CFE:

  • Take a break before Wednesday. At minimum I would suggest taking Tuesday entirely off from work and study.
  • Sleep is super important. Get a good sleep before the exam and during the three days.
  • Don’t study during the exam, you need to rest in between each day to be fresh.
  • Remember, this is a three-day examination and every day counts. Don’t get discouraged if you have a bad day and think that you’ve failed so you won’t try as hard on what’s left. Most people feel terrible walking out of one or more of the exam days. Give your 100% each day. This isn’t the time to feel sorry for yourself.
  • Don’t talk about the exam until after all three days are over. There is little reward and lots of risk of getting discouraged because you missed something that somebody else had identified (correctly or not).

With that, good luck and best wishes!

Do I really have to outline?

This is one of those issues that can have strong opinions on both sides. On the one side, some say the outline is critical in organizing your thoughts and response and on the other end, people consider it a waste of time since you can just take notes on the simulation sheet.

For comprehensive cases I say the outline is critical and you cannot go on without it. For shorter cases (multis), I’ve seen people go both ways and write fine cases so it’s a personal choice but I recommend using one. I found it helpful to stay organized and especially helpful with ranking and time management which are especially tested on the shorter cases.

What is on a good outline?

A good outline will have the following elements:

  • A purpose and role. So you never forget what your role in the simulation is, and I like to have a purpose to all quants on the outline so that you understand why you need this quant. It helps you to avoid starting a quant and later realizing you didn’t need it or you went in the wrong direction. It also helps me step back and look at the bigger picture.
  • Who you are addressing and what kind of communication is it? You may have to do an audit memo to a partner to start and a report about a tax situation to the client afterwards. An outline helps keep this straight. The CFE may ask you to do more than one report in a single case.
  • A timeline should be used unless dates are not an issue in the simulation. Write down every date you are given and keep track of where you are in proximity on a timeline.
  • A diagram or organizational chart to keep track of who owns what or works where. This is often an issue in taxation indicators and will help keep things clear.
  • A list of the “required” for the case which ensures that you address everything that was asked of you. Most people recommend you write the required out word for word from the simulation so that you don’t misunderstand what is being asked of you.
  • Identify issues in the simulations. This is not the same as writing down case facts which should not be written down on your outline but referenced from it. Write down the issues you identify and then indicate on your outline which page(s) they come from and refer back to them once you are writing your response. Highlight the actual case facts on your exam paper.
  • You’ll want quant information easily available if there is a lot of it. Consider having a separate page full of quant information so you can easily refer back to it rather than searching (and possibly missing) the data in your question sheet.
  • Finally, after all is said and done, rank the issues and allocate time to them. You are going to need to know which issues you’ll be dropping and which you’ll be tackling before you begin writing and it’s best done when you have the whole case in front of you on an outline. This will take a little practice and experience before you master it. Remember to always stay on time.

How long should an outline take?

I’ve heard that some people dedicate up to 1/3 of the time to outlining, which is probably a good ceiling. You don’t want outlining to start impacting your actual case but it is where a lot of the hard work of composing your response occurs so don’t fly over it, either. For a comp I don’t think it’s unreasonable to outline for up to 1.5 hours.

May 2016 CFE Results

Update: 2016-07-29

Congratulations to Betty Xin, from Alberta, who is both the CPAWSB gold medallist and the CPA Canada gold medallist!

CFE results are upon us. Congratulations for making it through the long and tiring wait. If you’re not sure where to go to get the CFE results, below are some of the key spots to check for your results.

ONTARIO

417 Successful Writers!

Results released Friday, July 29 at 10 AM EST
Go here: CPA Ontario May 2016 CFE Results

Ontario Gold Medallist

ROMAN, Matthew Daniel
SF Partnership LLP, Toronto
University of Toronto, Mississauga, Bachelor of Commerce, 2010
University of Waterloo, Master of Taxation, 2012

 

QUEBEC

178 Successful Writers!

Results released Friday, July 29 at 9 AM EST
Go here: CPA Quebec May 2016 CFE Results

Quebec Gold Medallist

Michael Bourbonnais, a graduate of the national program (HEC Montréal), earned the Gold Medal for Quebec and a $2,500 cash prize from CPA Canada for the highest standing in Quebec

 

CPA WESTERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

(British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon)

411 Successful Writers!

Results released Friday, July 29 at 7:00am Pacific
Go here: CPA West May 2016 CFE Results

 

CPA ATLANTIC SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

(Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Bermuda, Caribbean)

Results released Friday, July 29 – If anybody knows where else these are shared please share in the comments
Go here: CPA Atlantic Web Site (May appear in the news)

Interview with Michelle Bergsma – 2015 CFE Honour Roll Recipient

Michelle Bergsma is part of the first cohort of CFE writers who obtained the prestigious honour roll status as part of the September, 2015 Common Final Examination. Michelle kindly gave CFE Blog some time to ask a few questions.

Undergrad:

How did you find your undergrad program trained you towards writing the CFE? 

My undergrad degree is a B.Comm with a major in Marketing Management from the University of Guelph. Although the technical material obviously was quite different, the skills that transferred to the CFE included understanding exam strategies, focusing under pressure, managing stress, and using time efficiently. These cannot be underestimated for the CFE!

Exam Studying:

What was your study schedule like leading up to the exam? Would you change anything?

I took eight weeks away from work to focus on studying. A typical day would include writing, marking and debriefing a case, and some case-based technical review. I stuck to my schedule closely and felt prepared when the exam came. I think it was the right amount of time for me to study adequately while maintaining balance.

What kind of support did you get from your firm/office?

Crowe MacKay LLP has an awesome mentorship program and support system. During CFE leave, I met with my mentor weekly to check-in, receive feedback on cases, and track my progress. The firm provided valuable resources, advice and additional practice cases and kept on top of any new information about the exam.

Did you work with a partner or group as part of your studying for the CFE?

CFE Puppy Therapy

Michelle recommends Puppy Therapy during CFE studying

I am so grateful for my study partner, Megan Coyne. As the first and only two Yukon CFE writers, we spent an enormous amount of time together, not only during CFE prep but throughout the entire Professional Education program. During the eight weeks leading up the CFE, we would write cases together almost every morning at 9am, mark each other’s responses and discuss any areas of uncertainty. She helped me stay focused and positive.

How important was rest and mental health for you as part of the studying process?

I was very conscious of balancing my study schedule to avoid burning out since that’s something I’m often prone to. My boyfriend and I ended up getting a German Shepherd puppy three weeks before I started study leave, which kept a huge smile on my face! Studying promptly ended when they came home each evening. I also made sure I got plenty of exercise and fresh air to keep my brain going.

What gave you the most trouble in your case writing?

I had to learn how to prioritize the issues and let go of perfection. As a very detail-oriented person, that was a challenge. I also found I was constantly reminding myself to focus on the qualitative aspects of the issues, since I have a tendency to get completely absorbed in my quants.

What do you think many people do wrong as part of the CFE prep process?

Too many people believe the saying “practice makes perfect”. Someone once told me “practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes habits” which I think is entirely true. As part of the CFE prep process, you have to take your errors from every practice case and use them as an opportunity to improve. If you don’t focus on improving your weaknesses, they’ll become habits and you’ll likely end up making the same mistakes on the CFE. Allowing yourself to stray from your time budget can be one of the hardest, and most critical, habits to break.

Exam Day:

What was the most challenging for you on the exam?

In general, the first day was the most challenging for me due to the broad scope of the case and open-ended nature of the response. I preferred the more technical structure of Days 2 & 3 because I felt I could approach the cases in a more logical and organized manner.

Also, this sounds strange but I had a hard time containing my excitement. Even going into Day 1, I had to force myself to focus on my execution and not get ahead of myself by thinking about that Friday afternoon feeling of relief.

How did you feel walking out of the exam? Did you know you did so well?

I felt confident because I knew I had put in the hard work leading up to the exam, went in with a clear approach and stuck with my plan. I thought I had passed but I had absolutely no idea that I would make the honour roll.

Conclusion:

If you were tutoring future candidates, what would be your top tips for them?

Focus on your case writing approach over your technical skills. Practice critical reading, planning and outlining to write a well-organized response. Approach every practice case as if it were the real thing. Put yourself in the marker’s shoes. Stick to your time allocations.

Any last advice you’d like to impart on future writers?

Find an activity that allows you to relieve stress and recharge, whatever that may be, and prioritize that activity daily. Challenge yourself to think positively and trust in your abilities, even on the low days when everything seems like a struggle.

 

Want to learn more about Michelle? Connect with her on LinkedIn! Thank you Michelle for your great advice and taking the time. Photo thanks to Christian Kuntz Photography.

Enjoyed this interview? Check out other great interviews!

 

Don’t neglect studying for Day 1 of the CFE

 

The results of the first CFE in December gave us more information to work with. Something that’s becoming clear is that Day 1 of the CFE is not the breeze that some candidates thought it would be. In my discussions with candidates and from the comments on the blog, I am seeing that a lot of candidates who did not pass the full CFE did not pass because of Day 1.

So what’s up?

 

It’s new to candidates

Day 1 is something completely new and many of the CFE writers may have been used to (and worked with) the old UFE format and therefore getting less practice on Day 1 of the CFE. With the May CFE approaching, you’ve now got more information to work with so use it.

 

It’s group work but you can’t work in isolation

Day 1 of the CFE is based on your Capstone 1 module which is a large group assignment that is evaluated. An interesting observation is that many Capstone 1 groups are taking the divide and conquer approach to the case which means individual candidates may be very familiar with one area of the case and less familiar with other areas. The down side of this approach may manifest in the CFE where you have to be very familiar with the whole case. If this is your group’s approach to Capstone 1, plan for additional time to study the whole case before the CFE.

 

Understand what’s being assessed on Day 1 and how to approach it

Remember, Day 1 is focused on the soft, high-level skills of the CPA Way. The case response is judged on the whole based on these key skills:

  • Assess the situation – integrating multiple parts of the case in your overall assessment, think holistically, think about organizational goals, risks, constraints and so forth.
  • Analyze the major issues – think of the tools you can use in your analysis (qualitative, quantitative, assumptions), think about the issue and how it interrelates across multiple competencies, consider alternatives and uncertainties.
  • Conclude and advise – use the result of your analysis to conclude on the alternatives (including implications) and then provide further advise (implementation, reducing risk, etc.)
  • Communication – Write professionally and keep in mind the audience and purpose of the communication.

 

Understand what was done badly on Day 1 of the first CFE

I’ll finish off by offering the Board of Examiners commentary on Day 1 of the September, 2015 CFE:

The Board was surprised that some candidates did not provide a quantitative analysis of the
major issues presented. Candidates are reminded that Chartered Professional Accountants are
expected to perform both quantitative and qualitative analyses, as appropriate, to support their
recommendations.

A large number of candidates spent a large part of their response (one-third) on a situational
analysis. The points made were typically valid and identified many of the decision factors to be
considered. However, these points were simply listed as pros or cons, or they were part of a
SWOT analysis that was done as an independent section of the response. Many candidates
failed to then take this great up-front analysis and incorporate it into their discussions of the
specific issues and the recommendations they were making. Candidates are reminded that the
situational analysis is there to help provide a frame of reference for the decision factors they
should be bringing into their analysis of the issues in order to help them make relevant
recommendations that consider the goals, objectives, mission, vision, et cetera, of the company.

(2015 CFE Board of Examiners Report, p. 10)

Take the above advice and apply it. If the Board of Examiners shares any similarity with the previous UFE Boards then they are a lot less forgiving the second time around to candidates making the same mistakes.

Don't neglect studying for Day 1 of the CFE

 

The results of the first CFE in December gave us more information to work with. Something that’s becoming clear is that Day 1 of the CFE is not the breeze that some candidates thought it would be. In my discussions with candidates and from the comments on the blog, I am seeing that a lot of candidates who did not pass the full CFE did not pass because of Day 1.

So what’s up?

 

It’s new to candidates

Day 1 is something completely new and many of the CFE writers may have been used to (and worked with) the old UFE format and therefore getting less practice on Day 1 of the CFE. With the May CFE approaching, you’ve now got more information to work with so use it.

 

It’s group work but you can’t work in isolation

Day 1 of the CFE is based on your Capstone 1 module which is a large group assignment that is evaluated. An interesting observation is that many Capstone 1 groups are taking the divide and conquer approach to the case which means individual candidates may be very familiar with one area of the case and less familiar with other areas. The down side of this approach may manifest in the CFE where you have to be very familiar with the whole case. If this is your group’s approach to Capstone 1, plan for additional time to study the whole case before the CFE.

 

Understand what’s being assessed on Day 1 and how to approach it

Remember, Day 1 is focused on the soft, high-level skills of the CPA Way. The case response is judged on the whole based on these key skills:

  • Assess the situation – integrating multiple parts of the case in your overall assessment, think holistically, think about organizational goals, risks, constraints and so forth.
  • Analyze the major issues – think of the tools you can use in your analysis (qualitative, quantitative, assumptions), think about the issue and how it interrelates across multiple competencies, consider alternatives and uncertainties.
  • Conclude and advise – use the result of your analysis to conclude on the alternatives (including implications) and then provide further advise (implementation, reducing risk, etc.)
  • Communication – Write professionally and keep in mind the audience and purpose of the communication.

 

Understand what was done badly on Day 1 of the first CFE

I’ll finish off by offering the Board of Examiners commentary on Day 1 of the September, 2015 CFE:

The Board was surprised that some candidates did not provide a quantitative analysis of the
major issues presented. Candidates are reminded that Chartered Professional Accountants are
expected to perform both quantitative and qualitative analyses, as appropriate, to support their
recommendations.

A large number of candidates spent a large part of their response (one-third) on a situational
analysis. The points made were typically valid and identified many of the decision factors to be
considered. However, these points were simply listed as pros or cons, or they were part of a
SWOT analysis that was done as an independent section of the response. Many candidates
failed to then take this great up-front analysis and incorporate it into their discussions of the
specific issues and the recommendations they were making. Candidates are reminded that the
situational analysis is there to help provide a frame of reference for the decision factors they
should be bringing into their analysis of the issues in order to help them make relevant
recommendations that consider the goals, objectives, mission, vision, et cetera, of the company.

(2015 CFE Board of Examiners Report, p. 10)

Take the above advice and apply it. If the Board of Examiners shares any similarity with the previous UFE Boards then they are a lot less forgiving the second time around to candidates making the same mistakes.

Why should I listen to the suggested times for each CFE case?

Since I want you to have good habits from the start, I’m going to encourage you to stick to whatever time the exam gives you and never go over your allotted time! Real thing or mocks, this rule applies.

While with the comprehensive cases you don’t have a choice since examiners will cut you off, with the multis (shorter cases of Day 3), there is some flexibility. Cases ranged from 45-90 minutes each but your total time will be four hours at which point you are cut off.

The time guidelines are not just there to tell you how long someone thinks the case should take but they are one of the mechanisms used to test ranking which an important factor on the CFE. The CPA Canada Board of Examiners wants to judge how you look at issues and whether you can determine what is critically important and what is less important. They do this through giving you, on some cases, a time crunch and forcing you to only tackle the most important stuff and leave behind the less important stuff. It’s a strange feeling ignoring an obvious issue that you see but in some cases you will have to do just that.

So if you happen to get a 60 minute exam and it feels like you need another 20 to do it properly, this could be one of those cases where you need to rank. You need to recognize this on your outline.

Why it’s risky to ignore the time allocations

The problem is that if you take 15 more minutes on this one exam, you won’t score much higher since the examiners only give points for the top issues which you could have conquered in 60 minutes and not the additional issues you did in the extra 20 minutes. You lose.

You lose because in the remaining two exams you’ll short change yourself. You won’t have the time to go into greater depth where marks are given because you spent your time talking more issues where marks were not given.

So I’ll repeat: never go over your allotted time and get in the habit of this from the start.

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