Here’s a List of All Special Reports for CPA Canada PEP and CFE Exams

Special engagements or special reports are a common AO in the CPA Canada PEP exams and the Common Final Exam (CFE). Candidates are familiar with some of them, such as Attestation engagements to report on compliance (CSAE 3530) and Direct engagements to report on compliance (CSAE 3531), but you may face a new special report on the exam.

Here is a list of all possible special reports you may get, per the CPA Canada Competency Map 2020:

Assurance engagements related to F/S:
• An audit of general-purpose financial statements (CAS 200, 220, 250, 720)
• An audit of financial statements prepared in accordance with special-purpose frameworks (CAS 800)
• An audit of single financial statements and specific elements of a financial statement (CAS 805)
• An engagement to report on summary financial statements (CAS 810)
Other assurance engagements:
• Reporting on controls at a service organization (CSAE 3416)
• Assurance on other matters (i.e., not financial statements or financial information) (5021)
• An audit of internal controls over financial reporting that is integrated with an audit of financial statements (5925)

Review engagements:
• Engagements to review historical financial statements (CSRE 2400)
• Auditor review of interim financial statements (7060)

Other engagements:
• Attestation engagements other than audits or reviews of historical financial statements (CSAE 3000)
• Direct engagements (CSAE 3001)
• Attestation engagements to report on compliance (CSAE 3530)
• Direct engagements to report on compliance (CSAE 3531)
• Compilation engagements (9200, AUG 5)
• Compilation of a financial forecast or projection (AUG 16)
• Reports on the results of applying specified auditing procedures to financial information other than financial statements (9100)
• Agreed-upon procedures regarding internal control over financial reporting (9110)
• Reports on application of accounting principles (7600)
• Auditor’s involvement with offering documents, including assistance to underwriters and others, consent to use of report, etc. (7150, 7170, 7200, AUG 6)
• Reports on supplementary matters arising from an audit or review engagement (CSRS 4460)

Where can I get study resources for these?

These are discussed mostly in the CPA Canada’s Learning eBook, also known as Knotia. The eBook’s Assurance chapters cover: CAS 800, 805, 810, CSRE 2400, CSAE 3416, 3530/3531/ 3000/3001. For others, you can use CPA Canada’s resource website and Deloitte’s IASplus. For example, CSRS 4460 can be learned at: https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/business-and-accounting-resources/audit-and-assurance/standards-other-than-cas/publications/csrs-4460-new-standard-supplementary-matters and https://www.iasplus.com/en-ca/standards/assurance/other-canadian-standards/csrs-4460-reports-on-supplementary-matters-arising-from-an-audit-or-review-engagement

The above resources are not perfect, but they provide a good summary. If you would like more coverage of special reports, with templates and explanations, check out my CPA coaching courses.

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How to Write Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis in CFE Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 Cases of CPA Canada

In this article, I’ll discuss how to approach quantitative (quant) and qualitative (qual) analysis per each of the CPA Canada Common Final Exam (CFE) Days:

CFE Day 1

You’ll face Strategic (ST) and Operational (Op) issues.

For ST, you’re required to analyze quantitatively and qualitatively. Follow the steps below for quants:

  • Start with excel: write appendix title, purpose, conclusion
  • Choose the right “technique” (ie, tool for the job). Eg, if it’s valuation, choose between asset-based, transaction-based and market-based (multiples). Use case facts to determine the right technique (eg, if “capitalization rate” given, then it’s transaction-based CCF valuation technique).
  • Apply the template (horizontal, vertical, top-down, etc. I provide templates in my CFE Review course)
  • Show support for calculations
  • Summarize the analysis in the memo
  • Write 2-3 assumptions in the memo

Follow the steps below for qual:

  • Use Word, format in bullet list
  • Write 4-5 Pros and 4-5 Cons
  • Write a balanced analysis, including both pros and cons
  • Integrate AT LEAST 4-5 situational analysis factors in EACH issue

For OP, the requirds are mostly qual-based. They have to do with minor issues, eg board issues, performance issues, ethical issues and so on. You still need to integrate 4-5 times overall in the operational issues. The format varies based on the type of issue. To get good at OP issues, practice with sample cases and debrief from the solutions.

CFE Day 2

The quants come into play at MA requireds. Follow the same approach as with Day 1, but this time go into more depth in your analysis. If there are uncertainties, perform sensitivity analysis. If there are multiple scenarios, address all of them. It’s easy to lose track of time with MA quants, so it’s important that you budget your time and move on when the time is up. Passing Days 2/3 Level 2 requires depth in FR or MA, so if you focus on getting Cs in FR, you’ll pass with RCs on MA.

There is no qual in Day 2 unless you are taking Finance, PM or Tax. See below for discussion on how to address these.

CFE Day 3

The quants can be tested as part of MA, Finance, S&G or Tax. The challenge with Day 3 is time, so the goal is to write a quick analysis in Excel and summarize in the memo. Don’t write assumptions, don’t write detailed explanations nor detailed conclusions. You’ll have about 7-10 minutes to do the quants, so move quickly. Getting RC in all quants in Day 3 is enough to pass the CFE Days 2/3.

The qual can be tested as part of Finance, S&G or Tax. There can be different requireds but generally “pro/con” format is applied to S&G, “bullet list” format is applied to Tax, and “bullet list/table” format is applied to Finance. For example, if the Fiannce AO asks you to discuss the financing sources, create a table with 3 columns: financing source, pros, and cons, and discuss in each row each of the options (eg. see TinyCo case from CFE 2019 Day 3). More detailed examples are available in my CFE Review course.

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Tough AOs! How to Handle Complex Topics in CPA Canada PEP and CFE Cases

A best practice with writing CPA Canada PEP and CFE practice cases is to put a timer and practice under the exam setting. In doing so, you develop time management skills and improve your case writing.

During this process, you’ll often run into situations where you can’t answer all technicals. Even though you identify the right required, you don’t know how to actually answer it.

What to do when you don’t know an AO?

Some students pause their timer, look up the relevant technical notes, and then resume the timer and answer the required. If you do this, you are not exactly imitating the exam setting.

Other students leave that required totally blank and mark it for debrief at a later point. With this approach, you’re not challenging yourself and again not imitating the exam setting.

Best approach

I know it’s temping to check your notes or the solution and work backwards.  This is a bad idea. You are better off doing it under exam conditions and getting poor results, as opposed to taking the easier route. When you come across a situation where you don’t know the technical, keep the timer going and try to answer your best by referring to the Handbook (don’t look at your notes/solution).

Don’t leave it totally blank, attempt it, take a guess if you need to, you’ll be surprised how often you are on the right track. When debriefing, mark these AOs for re-attempt and study the technical during debrief.

The reality is that during PEP and CFE exams, you’ll very often come across AOs that are totally new and you’ll be stumped.  You have to develop the skill on addressing unknown technicals.  The strategy is to:

  • Budget a reasonable time
  • Look up the technical in HB/CAS/ITA (if applicable)
  • Apply relevant case facts
  • Tie to user preferences
  • Recommend

This will often give you RC, which is magnitudes better than NA.

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Writing CPA Canada Practical Experience Requirements (PERT) – Technicals

I often receive a question from a CPA candidate in the EVR route on how to write the technical section of the PERT.

Here are general guidelines:

  • Write experience for Financial Reporting (FR), Management Accounting (MA), Finance, and Strategy and Governance (S&G) (skip Assurance and Tax unless you’re in public practice)
  • Write 2-3 examples for each sub-competency
  • Make each example at least 1/2 page long (in Word)
  • Follow CARL format (challenge, action, result, lesson learned)
  • Think of it like writing a case: What is the issue? How did you analyze it? What’s the recommendation?
  • Have titles for each section and give lots of details.

I provide free CPA PER review services to help candidates pass this requirement. I will look over your PER and give my feedback before you send it to CPA reviewers. You can reach me at gevorg at gevorgcpa.com

7 Tips to write the PER report

 

Get CPA PER Coaching

I’m excited to announce that I’m working on PER coaching program. It’s Canada’s first and only comprehensive course that will help you fill out the PER requirements and get experience report marking services. The course will include video lessons, templates, sample passing PER report, marking of your PER reports and much more. I’m working on this course at the moment, if you’d like to get notified when it’s available, per-register for FREE here: https://prep.gevorgcpa.com/courses/cpa-per-review

How to Write Control Weaknesses (WIR) in CPA Canada PEP and CFE Cases

Control weaknesses are a common assessment opportunity (AO) in CPA Canada’s PEP program, starting from Core 1 and leading all the way up to the Common Final Exam (CFE). It is something you should know well, even if you’re not taking Assurance as your elective.

Candidates often face the trouble of identifying the control weakness issue and understanding how to analyze it properly. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Step 1: Find the required.
    • The case will give clear indications that you have to discuss the weaknesses. For example, here are requireds from past CFE Day 3 cases:
      • (1) CFE 2020 Jump Inc:

 

 

 

 

      • (2) CFE 2018 Perkins Packing Inc.:

 

 

 

      • (3) CFE 2015 Katwill Lodge Inc.:

 

 

 

    • The above examples have the trigger words “control weakness” or “improvements to processes.”
  • Step 2: Determine the area.
    • The control weakness could be specific to the accounting controls (eg payable process), or IT system (eg new ERP). In both cases, your approach is the same (see the next step).
  • Step 3: Apply WIR template.
    • Apply the WIR (weakness, implication, recommendation) template.
  • Step 4: Write your analysis.
    • Read the relevant appendix in the case and write your analysis:
      • Weakness – what is wrong with the process? Look for 4-5 issues. For example: lack of segregation of duties, no approvals, cheques aren’t signed, lack of IT controls (eg passwords aren’t changed frequently), no disaster recovery plan. Every case will have different issues, find these specific issues in the appendix. For this part, write only 1 sentence, only the specific case fact.
      • Implication – how does it impact the company? Write how the users, operations, and financials are impacted. Make sure to answer the “so what” question to get depth (“C”). Write 2-3 sentences in this part.
      • Recommendation – what can the company do to fix the weakness? Write 1-2 actionable items, only 1-2 sentences in this part.
  • Step 5: Practice WIR and debrief.
    • Practice control weakness requireds until you get Cs. You can practice using CPA Canada cases and get extra mock exam cases for supplemental practice. Make sure to debrief the cases properly so that you learn lessons and don’t repeat the same mistakes.

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7 Tips on How to Write CPA Canada Practical Experience Requirements (PER) Experience Reports

If you have done some reading on the practical experience requirements (PER), or you’ve submitted a PER, you would have found that the process is a nightmare. There is very few documentation, you spend hours writing the reports, and when you submit it, it usually gets rejected by the reviewers. This is the case for both Experience Verification Route (EVR) and Pre-approved Program (PPR) routes.

7 Tips to write the PER report

Tip 1. Use the acronym CARL
CARL stands for: Challenge, Actions, Results and Lessons learned.  When writing your experience verification, don’t put random paragraphs of things that happened. Instead, put the CARL template and fill out each of the letters. What is the challenge that you faced? What exact steps did you take to resolve it? Wat was the end result and what lessons did you learn from the experience?

Tip 2: Use the words CPA Way a lot
The CPA Way is the backbone of the entire program, and it doesn’t end with the CFE. Writing PER is like writing cases. So don’t make up your own format. Instead, put the CARL format, and at the A step, put the sentence: “To resolve this challenge. I followed the CPA away”, then put each of the CPA way steps down and fill the details.

Tip 3: Use the question marks
When you’re at the PER tool, called PERT, you’ll see question marks, and when you click on them, it’s gonna give you a guideline of whether this applies to you and what to fill. This is one of the BEST resources you have because it’ll guide you on your writing process. I recommend going through the entire PERT, copying these guiding comments and saving them somewhere for your quick reference, which leads me to the next strategy.

Tip 4: Write your experience in Microsoft Word
The PERT is kind of nice and it has been updated recently but the writing space is so little that you can barely see what you wrote. Create a Word file and type your experience there, then copy to PERT and submit. Remember to start with the CARL outline and filling the details as you go Here’s another related strategy.

Tip 5: Keep a tracker at work
Since you have to write about all the challenges that you face and how you approach them, it’s really important that you keep track of those challenges. Create an Excel file and write your successes and challenges, what actions you took and what happened. Divide it into 3 columns, first is challenge or success, then next to it the details and then the date. This also comes in handy when you’re doing a performance review at work, when your boss asks you why you should get a bonus or promotion, you’ll have concrete examples to bring up. Now, assuming you haven’t been keeping track of what happened at work like most people and you’re drawing a blank when you’re doing your PERT, you can go to your Outlook, click on your Sent Mail and go through all the emails. Most of them will be regular communication, but you’ll probably come across a couple of cool projects that you worked on that you’ve completely forgotten about. You can put some examples in PER.

Tip 6. Get your employer to become a pre-approved Training Office
Here’s an interesting fact that pretty much nobody knows about, you don’t have to work in public practice to be under PPR route. Any company, be it manufacturing, retail or software, can become a pre-approved training office and, you guessed it, if you’re in the pre-approved training office, none of the technical requirements will be required for you. This will cut out at least 70% of PER workload, you just have to fill out the easy enabling questions and you’ll get your PER done. First try to get the company you’re working for right now to convert to a PPR training office. Second, consider changing your companies. If you’re stuck at a dead end job and you’re not hitting those Level 1 and 2s, and your supervisor is not supporting you, you have to do something. Most people think this means you have to go to public practice, and going from industry to public practices means a huge pay cut, but as I said any company can be under PPR. Now instead of going door by door and asking every company what CPA route they are under, just open up Google, type your provincial CPA body name and the words “pre-approved office”. You’ll get a list of all offices that are under PRR. Throw this list to Excel and filter out all LP or associate companies, which are all public practice companies.

Tip 7. Write a lot
Aim to write at least 1 full page for each example and don’t spare the details. Too often I see students writing a quick half-page example and they think they can get away with it, but it doesn’t work that way .We need a full page, 3-4 detailed examples of everything you’ve done related to that experience. Don’t spare the details, you need to storytell and paint a picture in the reader’s head of what is going on.

Get CPA PER Coaching

I’m excited to announce that I’m working on PER coaching program. It’s Canada’s first and only comprehensive course that will help you fill out the PER requirements and get experience report marking services. The course will include video lessons, templates, sample passing PER report, marking of your PER reports and much more. I’m working on this course at the moment, if you’d like to get notified when it’s available, per-register for FREE here: https://prep.gevorgcpa.com/courses/cpa-per-review

Tax Competencies for CPA Canada’s Core 1

One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a CPA Exam Coach is what types of Finance and Tax topics can be tested in Core 1.

I’ve covered the Finance topics in another blog post, I’ll cover the Tax topics here.

Common Tax topics to know for Core 1

Here are some of the common Tax topics you should know for Core 1:

  • Tax income/payable – individual
  • Tax income/payable – corporation
  • Destructibility of expenses(eg home office, meals, moving expenses, etc.)
  • Common business expenses DISALLOWED
  • Common business expenses ALLOWED
  • CCA
  • Employee vs Contractor
  • Residency
  • Property Income
  • Sales tax (GST/ITC) rules and deadlines
  • Employer provided automobile – standby charge
  • Employer provided automobile – operating benefit
  • Pros/cons of incorporating
  • Salary vs. Dividends
  • Filing and payment deadlines
  • Notice of assessment/reassessment

All Tax topics that can be tested

The Tax topics that you will be tested on are listed in the CPA Canada Competency Map.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Write September 2021 CFE if you Don’t Pass May 2021 CFE

Candidates who wrote the CPA Canada May 2021 CFE (Common Final Exam) are wondering if they can re-write the exam at the next offering in September, should they be unsuccessful.

Yes, you can write in September if you didn’t pass May

According to the learner support team at CPA Canada:

While candidates are welcome to choose to write the CFE in back to back offerings please be aware that the CFE is not designed to be taken that way.

If you write in May your results will be released in August – if you choose to re-register for September at that time you will need to register and write the CFE well before May CFE appeal results will be available (likely available in October) and significantly before PAR results will be available (likely February/March).

You will be able to add your name to the waitlist and register for the Fall CFE if you wish to do so after the results are released for the May offering. A waitlist fee will not be required and adding your name to the waitlist guarantees you a place in that exam.

So you can write it in September, but it’s not recommended by CPA Canada. I personally do recommend writing back-to-back because your technical knowledge and case writing skills are fresh. However, be sure to take time off, get coaching, and analyze your weaknesses.

What Day 1 cases are in September 2021, May 2022 and September 2022 CFEs?

For the September 2021 CFE, the following Day 1 cases will be tested:

  • Waste Disposal Inc. case (WDI) v2
  • Distinct Hotels Corporation case (DHC) v3

For the May 2022 CFE, the following Day 1 cases will be tested:

  • Creative Toys case (CTI) v2 – introduced in the May 2022 Capstone 1 module

For the September 2022 CFE, the following Day 1 cases will be tested:

  • Waste Disposal Inc. case (WDI) v3
  • CanDo Fitness (CDF) v1

Do you need help to pass the CFE?

My name is Gevorg. I’m an instructor and a CPA exam coach. I’ve been featured on CBC News and Google News as a CPA exam expert. If you want coaching with me, contact me or sign up for my CPA CFE Review Course.

CFE Review by Gevorg CPA

 

CPA Canada CFE Day 1 Waste Disposal Inc. (WDI) Mock Exam Case

The Capstone 1 Waste Disposal Inc. (WDI) case will be tested in both September 2021 and 2022 Common Final Exams (CFEs) on Day 1. The original Capstone 1 case was made available to candidates enrolled in Capstone 1 and it will be released publicly be CPA Canada at a later date.

How do I prepare for WDI case for the CFE Day 1?

On CFE Day 1, you will be presented with the same WDI case and you will be required to analyze and answer new strategic and operational issues.

Follow these strategies:

  • Step 1: Study the Capstone 1 original case well: It’s important that you know the Capstone 1 case inside-out. You will encounter the same users and similar industry challenges. I suggest making notes of the following key situational analysis factors:
    • Users
    • Mission, vision and values
    • Key success factors (KSF)
    • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)
    • Board objectives
    • Quantitative analysis
  • Step 2: Know the Capstone 1 strategic issues: WDI is facing 4 major strategic issues and several minor issues. In the May 2021 CFE, 4 new strategic issues were presented and it is likely that you will see again 4 strategic issues in your exam.
  • Step 3: Make note of the timeline: The CFE Day 1 case is several years in the future and there are new issues to analyze. It helps to stay organized by creating a timeline of events as you are reading the case.
  • Step 4: Understand key stakeholder preferences: The WDI case has several users who have opposing views. For example, Laura is not interested in selling her shares and would like to buy Kingsley out. Kinglsey on the other hand wants to increase WDI’s profits as quickly as possible and sell the company by 2025. It’s important that you understand  these user preferences as these will repeat in the CFE Day 1.

Whether you are in Capstone 1, Capstone 2 or you are an intentionally trained accountant (ITA) challenging the CFE under MOU, I strongly recommend practicing with supplemental mock exam cases. In Capstone 2, you will get 3 practice versions of the WDI case. However, most writers find that this is not enough and feel unprepared.

Where can I get a WDI mock exam cases?

I provide one (1) original Waste Disposal Inc. (WDI) supplemental mock exam practice case to help you better prepare for the CFE Day 1. The mock exam case is a realistic simulation of what you may get on your exam and covers typical AOs that you may find in your Day 1. The value package includes the WDI mock exam case, marking guide and the solution.

Head over to the cases section of my website for a free preview. If you have any questions  or need additional help, I’m here for support.

Waste Disposal Inc. (WDI) Mock CFE Day 1 Exam Practice Case and Solution

Preview and purchase the supplemental CFE Day 1 WDI mock exam case to improve your case writing skills and take on the Day 1 exam.

 

 

 

 

We’re Hiring CPA Canada Tutors and Mentors

Are you a professional accountant with a CPA designation looking to help university students get through their accounting courses or candidates in CPA Canada’s PREP/PEP programs get through their exams and successfully pass the CFE?

GevorgCPA Coaching is looking for enthusiastic and knowledgeable part-time Tutors who are familiar with CPA Canada’s education and examination process, including: technicals, marking, case writing, and exam strategies. The successful tutors will provide support to candidates in various GevorgCPA courses, demonstrate and give practical instruction in online class settings, and assist in the delivery webinars and other program-related activities.

GevorgCPA Coaching is Canada’s only CPA coaching provider that has been recognized in the national news as the CPA exam experts. Our flexible, integrated prep programs allow candidates to enter the CPA Canada PEP modules with strong academic knowledge, technical expertise and case writing skills. Our CPA PEP and CFE programs support candidates in their studies throughout the Core 1, Core 2, Assurance, PM, Tax, Finance, Capstone 1, Capstone 2 and the CFE. Student success is achieved through personalized coaching, the Honour Roll approach and our in-depth knowledge of the CPA examination process.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Demonstrate and give practical coaching in online setting (Zoom) on part-time basis
  • Delivery introductory to advanced level tutoring related to CPA Canada’s PREP, PEP and CFE modules
  • Mark practice cases and integrative problems as needed
  • Devise educational models to demonstrate case writing principles
  • Explain complex concepts in an easy to understand manner by using everyday examples
  • Provide a safe and inclusive learning environment

Qualifications

  • CPA designation or Bachelor’s Degree related to accounting
  • Some experience with tutoring, marking, mentoring or teaching accounting or CPA candidates
  • Demonstrated coaching skills, communication skills, and interpersonal skills
  • Post-secondary teaching experience an asset

Benefits of working with GevorgCPA Coaching

  • Connect with a pool of candidates actively seeking tutoring support
  • Professional Development (PD) hours and opportunities for career development
  • Learning opportunities from Canada’s leading CPA exam experts
  • Increase your knowledge with discounts on GevorgCPA courses

Pay rate

  • $50-$60/hour, depending on experience

Location

  • Remote

How to apply

Join our team! If you want to be part of a dynamic team of CPAs who are aligned, focused, and passionate about seeing students succeed then submit your application hereWe thank all interested applicants; however, only qualified candidates will be contacted.