Profession Students CFE News

September 2023 CFE results released as CPA accountancy bodies reach education agreement

CPAO says journey for students to become CPAs will not change and is unaffected by Ontario, Quebec decision to withdraw from Collaboration Accord

Author: Colin Ellis

TORONTO, December 3, 2023 – CPA Canada announced this past Friday that 4,178 aspiring accountants successfully passed the profession’s Common Final Examination (CFE) in September. The news came during the same week that CPA Ontario announced students in the province will be able to complete their educational journey as planned, and without interruption, due to a new agreement between CPA Canada, CPA Quebec and CPA Ontario. 

Fifty-seven candidates made the national honour roll. The top writer was Megan Evans, from MNP LLP in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Evans is the recipient of the September 2023 Governor General’s Gold Medal Award and a $5,000 cash prize. “I am delighted to recognize the 4,178 students who successfully completed the September CFE,” said Pamela Steer, CPA Canada’s president and CEO. 

“Our education program is recognized globally for its rigor and high standards and the skills of our designation have never been in more demand and more transferrable. I commend each of you for achieving this milestone in becoming a CPA.” 

Regional gold medals and cash prizes of $2,500 for achieving the highest standing in that part of the country were awarded to:

  • Keith Ablao of Grant Thornton LLP in Moncton, NB (Atlantic Canada)
  • Rebecca Katherine Lee of Deloitte LLP in Toronto, ON (Ontario)
  • Naomie Chauvin of Ernst & Young s.r.l./S.E.N.C.R.L. in Trois-Rivières, QC (Quebec) 

CPAO announces education agreement in message to students

In an email to Ontario students, CPA Ontario announced: “Today, we can confirm that all students in Ontario, including those whose education takes them beyond December 2024, will be able to complete their educational journey as planned, and without interruption.” 

Under the new agreement, separate from the Collaboration Accord, CPA Canada will continue to develop the curriculum and examinations for the CPA program. CPA Ontario will continue to be responsible for the delivery of the program to students in Ontario. Common standards of entry into the profession remain in place, as well as a consistent education program across the country. The portability of the education program and the designation will not change. 

“We’re here to support you on your journey to become a CPA and recognize that when it comes to your education, certainty is important,” stated the message to students. “We hope this announcement, confirming your educational journey is not impacted in any way, provides the certainty you need.” 

Ontario, Quebec students feature prominently in September CFE

The September CFE honour roll is consistently dominated by students who work at public accounting firms. While private sector students tend to take the May CFE, students at firms study during the summer, following tax season, so they can write in September. 

Of the 57 students who made the honour roll, thirty-nine were from Ontario or Quebec, a measure of the size of the student populations in these two provinces. While all four gold medal recipients work at accounting and audit firms with a national presence, the size of a public accounting firm — or the sector — is no barrier to top results. 

Several students, such as Brett Lukens of Rossworn Henderson LLP in Enderby, BC, work at smaller accounting firms. And several students, such as Laurianne Lachapelle of Code Marketing in Montréal, or Ali El Khodary of the Royak Bank’s operations in Toronto, made the honour roll. 

As chartered professional accountant Gevorg Grigoryan, a CPA program mentor and coach, noted in his review of the September 2023 CFE: "Similar to September 2020 CFE, this Day Two did not have revenue recognition required, which is the most commonly tested financial reporting issues in the exam. The audit planning memo required was also not tested in the assurance role in this Day Two, which the writers found surprising."

Colin Ellis is a contributing editor to Canadian Accountant.

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