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CFE FAQs

Find answers to common questions about the Common Final Exam (CFE)

  • When should Capstone 1 and 2 be taken?

    It is highly recommended that you take the Capstone 1 and 2 modules immediately leading up to the CFE. For instance, if you are planning to write the September CFE, it is recommended that you take Capstone 1 starting in May and Capstone 2 starting in July.

    If you do not take Capstone 1 and 2 immediately leading up to the CFE you will be impacted in the following ways:

    • The Case that you write on Day 1 of the CFE is linked to the case that carries through Capstone 1 - Therefore, there will be a greater (and possibly significant) time delay from the time Capstone 1 is taken and the CFE written. Thus, you may not be able to readily recall details as well on the CFE which could potentially impact your performance.
    • Capstone 2 is an exam preparation module that is designed to prepare you to write the CFE immediately afterwards. If you study too far in advance, you may lose many of the skills that you learned during Capstone 2 by the time you get to the CFE.
    • The Day 1 practice cases which are used in Capstone 2 are based on the Capstone 1 module immediately preceding it.
  • How often will the CFE be offered?

    In 2017, the CFE will be offered once, in September 2017. Exact dates for the September 2017 CFE are to be determined. The Capstone modules will be offered immediately preceding each offering of the CFE.

  • How do I access my receipt that confirms I have paid for the CFE?

    The CFE confirmation receipt is only available on the PEP Module enrolment site: You need to log in and select PEP Module Registration, not Common Financial Examination (CFE).

  • How do I need to pass the CFE to be eligible for a Public Accounting Licence?

    To be eligible for a Public Accounting Licence, you must select Assurance as your depth area and demonstrate competence in Finance Reporting on the CFE.

  • Where can I find more information on the CFE?

    CPA Canada has a presentation on the CFE which is quite helpful in understanding how the CFE is graded and the need to select an elective role on the CFE (and therefore for Capstone 2).

  • How and when do I select my depth area for the CFE?

    The last day for you to select your elective depth area is the last day of enrolment, as per the PEP schedule with Enrolment Deadlines. This selection is made online when you register for Capstone 2.

    For the CFE it does not matter what electives you have taken in PEP. For example, you could have taken the tax and finance electives and then choose assurance as your depth elective on the CFE. In which case, on Day 2 you will read the sections of the case related to the assurance role. Similarly, if you choose tax as your depth area for the CFE then you would read and discuss the tax sections of the Day 2 case. A sample Day 2 exam from Sept. 2015 is available on our website.

    It is strongly recommended that you choose the same elective depth area for both Capstone 2 and the CFE. This will give you an opportunity to practice the Day 2 cases for this role

  • What if I am unsuccessful on the CFE?

    If you are unsuccessful at the CFE, you do not need to re-take Capstone 2. However, it is recommended as it will help you brush up on your case writing skills and technical knowledge.

    If you are unsuccessful on Day 1 of the CFE you will only need to re-write Day 1 of the CFE. If you are unsuccessful on Day 2/3 of the CFE you will only need to re-write Day 2/3 of the CFE.

  • Can members practise public accounting after they become a CPA if they do not choose the public accounting path to qualify?

    Members qualified as a CPA will not be allowed to redo the CPA Common Final Examination. There will be a transitional path available which is under development. Details will be released as they become available.

  • I have successfully passed the CFE and my practical experience is also complete. When will I be admitted to membership?

    • Once you have successfully completed the CFE and your practical experience requirements, CPA Ontario will send you the Admission to Membership Application Form.
    • Submit the completed form and any required fees and CPA Ontario will review your application within four to six weeks.
    • Once the review has been completed, you will receive an email from the Registrar’s Office and will receive, within four to six weeks, your membership certificate and an official letter confirming your admission to membership.