Can You Leave Your Outline in CPA Canada Cases?

When preparing electronic outlines for CPA Canada PEP and CFE cases, many writers question whether this can be left in their memo or should it be deleted before submission.

The answer is YES, you can leave it, the markers are not concerned with having outline left in the memo. However, you must make it clear it’s only an outline. Here’s how to do that!

Step 1: Label your outline

I suggest putting a short “Outline” header at the top to make it clear. This includes both Word and Excel documents. For Word, simply write “Outline” at the top. For Excel, you may be using it to track the timing on AOs; make sure this is labeled as “time budget”, “tracker” or “outline” so that it’s not confused with an Exhibit.

Step 2: Keep it brief

Don’t make your outline very detailed, it’ll take valuable time and this could confuse the marker into thinking this is the final response. Your outline should briefly state the business information, users, requireds, any relevant appendices you need to refer back to from the case, a timeline, and for Excel the priority in which you will answer AOs and the time you are allotting for each. Outline should not contain technical criteria, attempt an analysis, or conclusion. Instead, keep it brief and save your longer write-up for the memo.

Step 3: Put outline at the start

It should be clear to the marker when your outline ends and when your memo begins. Some writers may choose to start the memo in a fresh new page, but this is not necessary.

What all writers need to do is put a header after the outline, to signal to the marker that the memo starts from that point onwards. The header should address who the memo is written to (user names), from (always “CPA”), what the memo is regarding (via a subject line; name of the company), and optionally the date the memo is written. Writing an introduction paragraph in CPA cases is not necessary; once you put the header, start solving AOs.


Markers will not penalize writers for keeping an electronic outline in your Word document. As long as you are keeping your outline and memo response distinct to avoid any marker confusion, you do not need to spend any additional time deleting your outline at the end of the exam. Having the outline there is a great reference to you to help you avoid flipping back and forth between hard copy case papers to track all the case facts.