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Congratulations! 1,640 aspiring Canadian accountants pass the May 2022 CFE

16 writers from across Canada make the national honour roll in their journey to become chartered professional accountants

Author: Canadian Accountant

TORONTO, Aug. 13, 2022 – CPA Canada has announced that 1,640 individuals successfully passed the May sitting of the Canadian accounting profession’s Common Final Examination (CFE). Almost half (797) of the successful writers are registered with CPA Ontario. Sixteen writers made the national honour roll. 

“Be proud of your accomplishment as the profession offers endless career possibilities,” said Pamela Steer, FCPA, CPA Canada’s president and CEO. “This is an exciting time to become a CPA with issues such as sustainability, data governance and technology creating new opportunities for professional accountants to excel.” 

The pass rate appears similar to past sittings of the CFE, says chartered professional accountant Gevorg Grigoryan, a CPA program coach and mentor, though the May 2022 CFE was not an easy exam. “In my CFE debrief, I noted how the GAAP standard of Day 2 was IFRS. Complex topics such as IFRS 15 revenue recognition and joint venture accounting were tested. There was a heavy emphasis on management accounting as well, such as budgeting and variance analysis.” 

Successful students have been expressing their joy and relief on social media. Grigoryan reports that, on his WhatsApp study chat, a typical comment was, “I had no idea how I did. I was staying optimistic but I did not want to tell my co-workers I passed and then fail!” 

On Reddit, more than two hundred students have posted comments, some saying they cried when they saw they had succeeded, others posting personal stories of triumph and loss while studying, and still others celebrating with liberal use of the f-bomb. 

Unsuccessful writers, appealing the results

For writers who are unsuccessful, Grigoryan recommends re-writing past CFE exams. “Go as far back as possible, rewrite as many cases as possible, as this will give you the widest technical coverage of topics for the CFE,” says Grigoryan. 

“For example, the joint venture topic on the May 2022 CFE was previously tested on the 2014 exam. Candidates who had done this past exam as part of their practice would had been more prepared.” Adds Grigoryan: “The past CFEs are publicly available at CPA Canada’s Certification Resource Centre (CRC).”  

For unsuccessful writers considering an appeal of their results, we recommend that you read “Is it worth it to appeal the CPA CFE? Let's look at the stats,” also written by Grigoryan. “When deciding to appeal the CFE, it's ultimately a question of costs vs. benefits. You really have nothing to lose except the appeal fees, which is a bit like playing a lottery. If you decide to appeal, keep in mind the success rates, the rigorous marking process and your exam results.” 

Gold Medal Award and Honour Roll

Lixian Cao of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is the Governor General’s Gold Medal winner for the May 2022 CFE. Cao works for Big Four public accounting firm KPMG LLP and is profiled here by CPA Canada. 

CPA Canada also awarded regional Gold Medals to: 

  • Daphne Ward, Newfound Mechanical Ltd., St. John’s (NL), Atlantic Canada Region.
  • Melanie Jagroop, Arterra Wines Canada, Inc., Mississauga, Ontario Region.
  • James (Jake) Pamic, Canadian Payments Association, Ottawa, Ontario Region.
  • Julie Charbonneau Carruthers, Deloitte S.E.N.C.R.L./s.r.l., Montreal, Quebec Region. 

The honour roll always contains a few surprises and lessons for current students. For example, it is not necessary to work at a public accounting firm — let alone a Big Four firm — in order to succeed on the CFE. Just five of the 16 winners are employed by public accounting firms. (That said, far more students at public accounting firms write the September rather than May CFE, as these students are working during tax season.) 

Many of the successful writers also work for public sector organizations, such as the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and Correctional Service Canada. Still others work for private sector companies, such as Powerland Computers in Winnipeg, MB; Westbow Construction Group in Chilliwack, BC; and Arterra Wines Canada, Inc., in Mississauga, ON. 

Congratulations to all the successful writers of the May 2022 CFE. For those who were not successful this time, be sure to read the many articles in the Students section of Canadian Accountant for advice from columnists such as Gevorg Grigoryan, CPA and Andrew Knapman, CPA. 

Published by Canadian Accountant with files from CPA Canada.

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