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CPA CFE writers successfully complete May accounting exam

Gevorg Grigoryan, CPA, reports on the May 2022 Common Final Examination

Author: Gevorg Grigoryan
Gevorg Grigoryan, CPA
Gevorg Grigoryan, CPA, is an instructor, mentor and coach to students in the CPA program.

VANCOUVER, May 25, 2022 – The May 2022 Common Final Examination (CFE) is now complete, marking the end of long studies and diligent preparation by students in the CPA Professional Education Program. Similar to the September 2020 and 2021 CFEs, this CFE was written nationally over a three-day period in hotel rooms across the country. Despite the extra hurdle of the COVID-19 pandemic, candidates persevered and are now one step closer to becoming chartered professional accountants. 

Day 1 featured one case study (Creative Toys Inc., version 1). Day 2, known as the “marathon day,” focused more on management accounting concepts. Day 3, widely known as “sprint day,” features  three to four cases testing on a breadth of competencies. CFE writers shared with me their thoughts on the three days for the benefit of current students in the program. 

Day 1: Candidates found the Creative Toys case straightforward, in terms of testing of strategic and operational issues. The strategic issues focused on finance technical areas, such as payback and valuation calculations, as well as investment and acquisition decisions. Practising mock exam cases and diligently debriefing with case solutions are keys to mastering the Day 1. 

Similar to prior Day 1 exams, writers found the exam case’s overarching constraint difficult to catch, as it is presented indirectly. It’s important to step back and consider the broader implications in order to catch the overarching big picture issue. It’s crucial to write that the users in the case study are constrained and cannot pursue all options, and to take this into account when providing your recommendations. The assessment of Day 1 focuses on enabling skills, such as candidates' ability to apply critical thinking, decision-making skills, professional judgment, and integration. 

Day 2: Candidates were presented with budgeting, variance analysis and sales pricing assessment opportunities. Similar to the September 2021 CFE, some of the “requireds” presented data charts and required candidates to interpret and advise on the operational implications. As reported by Canadian Accountant, candidates are encouraged to study more DAIS, as this is an emerging topic that CPA Canada continues to test on the exams. I expect similar topics to be tested on the September 2022 CFE and encourage candidates to stay up to date with the latest industry trends. The GAAP standard of this Day 2 exam was IFRS. 

Day 3: Candidates found this Day 3 to have more financial reporting assessment opportunities compared to prior CFEs. The CPA Board of Examiners continues to present unusual and complex assessment opportunities for CFE writers to contend with. It’s important that candidates study topics beyond what is commonly tested, including non-routine subjects such as joint arrangements, inventory valuation, and absorption costing. Most of the areas of this Day 3 of the CFE had similar assessment opportunities as in prior years, where approaches and strategies that I teach in my CFE tutoring course can be applied. 

I applaud the candidates on the effort they put forth in preparing for the CFE. This is an incredibly difficult exam, drawing upon both enabling and technical competencies, but candidates persevered and are now one step closer to becoming chartered professional accountants. I look forward to the May 2022 CFE results release day, scheduled for August 12, 2022. 

Gevorg Grigoryan, CPA, is an instructor, mentor and coach to students in the CPA program. Visit Gevorg CPA to learn more and subscribe to Gevorg’s YouTube channel to access CPA program videos. Access all of Gevorg’s articles on Canadian Accountant.

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