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Elective Depth Role

Your elective depth role is used in writing the Common Final Examination (CFE). You are evaluated on this role during Day 2 of the CFE.

Select Your Elective Depth Role

There are four elective depth roles available for writing the CFE:

  • Assurance
  • Finance
  • Performance Management, or
  • Tax

Day 2 of the CFE

Day 2 of the CFE assesses technical depth in one of four unique roles that reflect the four CPA elective choices. Your elective depth role must be selected before writing the CFE. All CFE writers receive the same case. The case has a common section and four sets of appendixes containing additional information applicable to each elective depth role.

All required tasks, regardless of the elective depth role, are clearly directed. Day 2 focuses on evaluating the competencies listed in the elective area and in Financial Reporting and/or Management Accounting in the CPA Competency Map.

To assist in selecting your role, please review the CFE Reports, which provide additional information on what has been evaluated to date for each elective depth role. The following table provides the nature of the elective depth roles for past CFEs:

Nature of Roles Assumed on Prior CFEs

Considerations for Selecting Your Elective Depth Role

When should I start thinking about my elective depth role for the CFE?

It is beneficial to consider what elective depth role you will select when writing the CFE prior to enrolling in elective modules. Elective depth roles are based on the CPA PEP elective for the respective area. You can choose any elective depth role on the CFE, though you are more likely to be successful if you complete an elective module in the area selected.

What does the elective include?

To learn about what each elective depth role includes, please review the CPA Competency Map for each elective module. This will provide you with an understanding of what will be evaluated for each elective depth role on the CFE.

What are your strengths?

Your strengths include your technical skills and the practical experience you have gained to date. For example, if you have no audit or assurance work experience, you are less likely to be successful in the Assurance role -even if you have completed the assurance elective. Due to the complex nature of auditing and assurance work, it is unlikely to gain the full understanding of the required competencies through education only. If you work in financial reporting in industry, consider Performance Management, Tax or Finance as your electives if you have never worked in audit or assurance.

Do I need a public accounting license?

If you wish to earn the right to licensure in audit or assurance as part of your CPA designation you must complete the following:

  • Tax and Assurance electives;
  • Select the Assurance elective depth role on the CFE;
  • Demonstrate depth in Assurance and Financial Reporting on the CFE; and
  • Meet practical experience requirements that include specific chargeable hour requirements in the performance of audit and/or assurance engagements.

If you are currently working in industry, you should choose a role in the CFE that will position you to be successful in passing the exam. If you decide later in your career that you wish to obtain a public accounting license, you can complete a bridging program to public accounting license post certification.

Helpful Hints:

  • Review the CPA Competency Map for detail on what the electives cover, especially if you have been granted any exemptions from the electives.
  • You are more likely to be successful on the CFE if you choose a role that corresponds with one of the CPA PEP elective modules that you chose to complete.