Your Support Options with CPA Canada PEP and CFE

CPA Canada exams are grueling and require hours of dedicated study and practice. At some point, you may feel that you need supplemental support. Here are your options.

One-on-one CPA tutor

You can hire a CPA tutor to sit down with you, act as your coach and provide one-on-one help. Tutors usually don’t have supplemental cases, they use CPA Canada’s cases and answer your questions. You pay per hour and the usual fees are $60-$100/hr (depending on experience).

Case marking

You can hire someone mark your cases and pinpoint the areas to work on. The difference with this option is that you don’t have live sessions with someone, the feedback is done on paper, similar to CPA facilitators. You pay per marked case and the fee is usually $40-$80 (depending on case length).

Supplemental cases, practice drills

You can get supplementary materials such as extra cases, drills, technical notes. With this option, you would study independently using the materials. The prices vary greatly depending on the type of material you purchase.

Coaching program

You can sign up for a coaching program. The great thing about a CPA coaching program is that it’s an amalgamation of above support sources: You receive the live coaching, supplementary materials, and case marking.

Which one is best for you? It depends on your circumstances and your budget. If you failed your exam twice, I highly recommend hiring a one-on-one tutor or signing up for a coaching program. These resources will help you find where you’re going wrong and help you correct and improve it.  If you are taking your module for the first time, you may want to purchase supplemental materials and study independently. After a few weeks, if you feel that you’re struggling, consider upgrading to the other options.

Got questions about the CPA program? Contact me for advice: http://gevorgcpa.com/contact

 

 

How to Download Survival Guides for CPA Canada PEP Modules

The CPA Canada Survival Guides are an excellent resource to keep track of eBook readings, assignments, deadlines and deliverables. It’s a good idea to download and print them before your module starts, so that you complete your readings in advance.

Here are the steps to download the survival guide for any module:

Step 1: Access D2L

Go to CPA Canada’s learning D2L platform: https://education.cpacanada.ca/d2l/loginh/

Step 2: Click on Introduction to PEP course

You’ll see the courses you’re registered in the home page. Click on “Introduction to PEP”

Step 3: Scroll to the bottom until you see Survival Guides

Go to the bottom of the page until you see Survival Guides:

 

 

 

 

 

Now you can download and save the latest survival guides!

Questions or concerns? Contact me for help: http://gevorgcpa.com/contact

 

 

5 Reasons Why Candidates Fail CPA Canada PEP and CFE Exams

Sometimes we fail. When it comes to the CPA Canada PEP exams and Common Final Exam (CFE), there are specific reasons why some candidates struggle to pass. For some, it is not knowing how to study for the exam. For others, it is case writing difficulty and inability to answer AOs within the time limit.

Here are the top five reasons why candidates fail and how to avoid these pitfalls:

1. Bad technicals

There is a saying, “Technicals are not as important as case writing,” because you won’t have time on the exam to put it all down. I partly agree with this statements and partly disagree. Without strong technicals, you are not going to reach depth in AOs, resulting in insufficient marks for passing.

There are a few strategies that I’ve seen candidates take towards the technicals:

  • Full technical review strategy: Some candidates read everything and anything, trying to cram as much technical knowledge as possible. This often results in burnouts and forgetfulness.
  • Minimal technical review strategy: Some candidates find technical too difficult to study, so they skip the complex ones and study basics. This results in getting NA/NC in complex topics which come up on exams every time.

You should aims for the the middle:

  • Study some technicals, write cases: Instead of reviewing technicals day-in, day-out, study in chunks and apply to cases. In my CFE Review course, I provide a checklist of key technicals and a listing of topics for each case, so that candidates can review these topics before they try the case. By continually applying technicals to cases and adding to your knowledgebase as you debrief, you refine your technical knowledge and achieve mastery.

2. Suboptimal study plan

The PEP program takes 1.5-2 years to complete for most . The CFE time off is usually 4-8 weeks. It’s important to develop an effective study schedule that fits into your everyday schedule during these times.

I suggest planning day-by-day what you are going to do:

  • Review technicals in the eBook (Knotia),
  • Write IPs (if PEP exams)
  • Write practice cases
  • Debrief

It’s more important to plan nowadays since there are so many distractions in our daily lives and challenges with balancing work, personal life, and other commitments.

  • If you’re a morning person: Wake up early, study for a few hours, head to work, and study as much as you can in the evening before going to bed.
  • If you’re a night owl: Get good sleep, head to work, and do most of your studies in the evening.

3. Poor case writing skills

Case writing skill is an umbrella topic that includes several sub-skills, from proper case formatting to efficient outlining. CPA Canada PEP and CFE exams are unique in the sense that no other CPA designation around the world uses simulations (cases) to evaluate candidates. Cases prove to be challenging for candidates who are not native English speakers, fast typers, fast readers or who find it difficult to structure their thoughts under time pressure.

Here are the top 3 “must have” skills:

  • Stay organized: CPA cases are like puzzles. They throw different case facts and your job is to find and organize them, and solve the puzzle. When reading the case, put each piece in the right box. Use the BURN acronym to organize the key case facts: business information, users, required and necessary case facts.
  • Work on your typing speed: In my famous CPA Honour Roll student interviews, I ask top writers what is their typing speed. Most are above average, around 70-80 words per minute (WPM). if your WPM is less than 45, you need to work on that. 
  • Write efficiently: Ironically, CPA Canada solutions are not “solutions.” They are above-perfect answers that are unrealistic for candidates to write under exam conditions. You can use them to learn technicals, but you need “realistic solutions” to learn how to efficiently write cases. My PEP and CFE Review courses offer realistic solutions to several cases, that are actually manageable to write in the time limit.

4. Not understanding the CPA exams

Another common pitfall by candidates is that they don’t do enough research on how the PEP and CFE exams are marked and what specific concepts will be tested. If you are taking Core 1, or you’re an international trained accountant (ITA) challenging the CFE, you’ll find the CPA PEP and CFE blueprints confusing.

  • Research: Take the time to research on YouTube for CPA exam blueprints and how each exam is structured and tested. You’ll find more information on YouTube than in CPA Canada’s website.
  • Study resources: Use your study materials wisely and focus on few resources that add most value to your studies.

5. Mental unpreparedness

For some candidates, their internal emotions and their motivation gets in the way of their own success. There is lots of pressure on you, from co-workers, family, friends, and relatives. It seems that failing the CPA exam will disappoint everyone. However, fear stops your from focusing and thinking clearly. You have to stop fear and intimidation from getting the best of you.

  • Take time out, breath and relax. Other candidates are feeling as stressed and demotivated as you. It’s important that you find a study partner (study buddy) who will positively influence you and give you an extra boost of motivation. You can find a study partner by joining my CPA Canada Facebook and WhatsApp groups. It’s also helpful to schedule time off in your schedule for relaxation and rest.

If you have failed you CPA PEP or CFE exams attempting on your own or with another CPA coaching provider, now is the time to consider a change. Gevorg, CPA has strategies, study materials and markers that will help you study smarter, find answers quicker and get results. We have overall 90% pass rate across our courses and we provide personalized coaching that will help to focus your studies. 

Sign up for the Core 1 Review and CFE Review programs to learn the path to CPA success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s different about Gevorg, CPA CFE coaching program?

I offer a personalized CFE coaching program based on Honour Roll strategies. My candidates achieve overall 90%+ pass rate on the CFE. Here is a quick comparison:

Features Gevorg, CPA CFE course Other providers
Case marking
Access until you pass
Supplemental cases
Day 1 case marking*
Free 1-on-1 coaching*
Clever memory aids
Engaging video lessons
Honour Roll student technical interviews
Private WhatsApp group for support
Featured in national news
T2202 issued to claim tax credits*
Affordable
Flexible marking schedule

*Some but not all CFE coaching providers offer Day 1 marking. Some providers offer 1-on-1 coaching through mentors or instructors who may not be subject-matter experts.  1-on-1 coaching you’ll receive is personally with me. T2202 certification is not issued by all providers. The information in this table is based on the information made available on competitor websites.

Course preview and details

You can watch free lessons and learn more by clicking on the cover image below. You can also get in touch with me for a quick consultation call.

Unsuccessful Results for September 2021 CFE: What to Do Next

The September 2021 Common Final Exam (CFE) results will be released on Friday, December 3. The result are at the National Certification Centre website: https://www.certificationenterprise.net/CPAcp/cpLogin.aspx

If you are unsuccessful, here are the next steps and the answers to frequently asked questions.

Why was I unsuccessful?

There are different reasons. You may have struggled with technicals, time management, or efficient case writing. The first step is to look at your detailed transcript to see what Level you failed.

For Days 2/3:

  • Level 1 sufficiency: This is driven by both Days 2 and 3, with more emphasis on Day 3. Failing Level 1 means you didn’t achieve C and RC enough in your cases.
    • Decile ranking: Decile ranking is for Level 1 only. It shows how close you were from passing. For example, decile 1-3 means you were close to passing, while decile 8-10 means you were far. If you passed Level 1, you will not see decile ranking. Decile ranking is not available for Level 2, 3, or 4.
  • Level 2 depth in FR/MA: This is driven by both Days 2 and 3, with more emphasis on Day 2. You didn’t achieve enough Cs in FR or MA.
  • Level 3 depth in role:  This is driven by Day 2 only. You didn’t achieve enough Cs in your role (PM, Assurance, Finance or Tax).
  • Level 4 breadth: This is driven by both Days 2 and 3, with more emphasis on Day 3. You didn’t achieve enough Cs or RC in all competencies (for example, you may have scored NC in all Tax or Finance AOs).

For Day 1:

  • You will see only pass/fail assessment with no details.

Should I appeal?

No, I don’t recommend appealing. The chances of success are less than 2%.

Should I get PAR report?

It depends on your situation. PAR provides a breakdown of each case, with comments on your performance. It takes several months to receive the PAR report and it is costly. I wrote a detailed post and description of an example PAR here.

Should I write May 2022 or September 2022 CFE?

May exams have less writers from public practice due to busy tax/audit season. This means the level of competition will be lower, since most public practice students have several resources. Since CFE is marked on average performance (“curved”), your chances of passing are higher.  The biggest disadvantage of the May exam is the Day 1 case. If you need to re-write the Day 1 from September, you will need to wait until next September to get the same case. Otherwise, you will need to learn a new case. See the Day 1 case schedule below. If you’re writing CFE for the first time, or re-writing Days 2/3, May exam is a good option.

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

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

When should I start studying again?

This depends what CFE Days you are writing and which exam sitting you will be re-taking:

  • Re-writing next year in September:
    • CFE Days 1,2,3 re-write: Start studying from April.
    • CFE Days 2, 3 re-write: Start studying from May.
    • CFE Day 1 re-write: Start studying from June.
  • Re-writing next year in May:
    • CFE Days 1,2,3 re-write: Start studying from January.
    • CFE Days 2, 3 re-write: Start studying from February.
    • CFE Day 1 re-write: Start studying from March.

I suggest studying technicals ahead of time, whenever you can, so that you don’t get rusty and keep your technicals fresh. If you are working in the public practice and you’ll be busy in winter, you should start your studies sooner, in October-November.

What should be my study plan as a repeat writer?

This depends on what CFE Days you are re-writing. Here is an effective plan to follow:

  • Step 1: Review technicals, especially complex, non-routine topics
  • Step 2: Make personal summary notes, flashcards, computer notes
  • Step 3: Re-do cases from your electives (especially if you didn’t clear Level 3)
  • Step 4: Write cases. If you’ve written all Capstone 2 (past CFE) cases, then get supplemental CFE cases.
  • Step 5: Get your cases marked.
  • Step 6: Get a study partner, study resources, or sign up for a coaching program.

Where can I get more study resources (tutoring, coaching, personalized support)?

There are several options available to you:

  • Tutors: CPA tutors provide 1-on-1 help by connecting with you over Zoom or meeting you person. Their level of expertise varies and it’s important that you find a tutor that fits your needs. CPA Canada publishes a list of tutors which you can request by contacting your provincial CPA school. The tutoring fees are normally $60-$80 per hour.
  • Supplemental cases: Writing more cases will help to broaden your technical and improve your time management skills. You can obtain supplemental CFE cases here. The price is $59-$97.
  • Coaching: CPA exam coaches are subject-matter experts who work with you to understand your weaknesses and coach you to achieve better exam performance. Coaching program fees vary and it’s important that you find a program that’s effective.

What does your CFE coaching program offer?

I offer a CFE coaching program that teaches technicals, case writing skills and proven strategies towards the CFE. The CFE Review provides the following learning materials:

  • ​​New CFE practice cases with solutions and feedback guides (six Day 3 cases, one Day 1 case)
  • Dedicated Day 1 prep course with marking
  • Marking of three (3) Day 1, one (1) Day 2 and three (3) Day 3 case (total of 7 cases marked)
  • Case writing walkthroughs
  • Case outlining templates
  • Quantitative analysis templates
  • Time management methods
  • Memory aids
  • Technical study notes
  • 8-hours of engaging video lessons
  • Historical CFE data
  • Supplemental practice drills (including DAIS)
  • Study plan for the CFE
  • Case checklist
  • Technical review checklist

You’ll also get free one-on-one coaching with me. You get access to the course materials immediately and you keep access until you pass, no matter how long it takes.

What’s different about Gevorg, CPA coaching program?

I offer a personalized coaching program that’s based on Honour Roll strategies. My candidates achieve overall 90%+ pass rate and several graduate with distinction. Here’s a quick comparison.

Features Gevorg, CPA CFE course Other providers
Case marking
Access until you pass
Supplemental cases
Day 1 case marking*
Free 1-on-1 coaching*
Clever memory aids
Engaging video lessons
Honour Roll student technical interviews
Private WhatsApp group for support
Featured in national news
T2202 issued to use as tax credits*
Affordable
Flexible marking schedule

*Some but not all CFE coaching providers offer Day 1 marking. Some providers offer 1-on-1 coaching through mentors or instructors who may not be subject-matter experts.  1-on-1 coaching you’ll receive is personally with me.  T2202 certification is not issued by all providers. The information in this table is based on the information made available on competitor websites.

How long does it take to go through CFE Review?

The video lessons take 1-2 weeks to complete. You’ll receive a personalized study plan for the May and September CFEs to help you organize your studies and start preparing.

Do you mark extra cases?

Yes, my CFE program includes 7 case marking and I can mark extra cases if needed. 

When should I sign up?

You keep access until you pass, so you can sign up anytime. I constantly add new learning materials and new cases to the course, and occasionally increase the price. By signing up soon, you’ll get the course at the current price and access to all new learning materials that will be added.

Conclusion

I know failing the CFE is demotivating. It doesn’t mean you’re not smart or unable to succeed, it means you need a new strategy. Take some time think about your options and decide what you will do differently next time. If you feel CFE Review is the right coaching program for you, you can watch some free lessons by clicking on the image below.

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.

Need help passing CPA CFE exam?

Sign up for the CFE Review programs to get case marking, extra practice cases,  study plan, engaging video lessons and personalized coaching with me.

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.

Need help passing CPA CFE exam?

Sign up for the CFE Review programs to get case marking, extra practice cases,  study plan, engaging video lessons and personalized coaching with me.

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.

Need help passing CPA exams?

Sign up for the Core 1 Review and CFE Review programs to get extra practice cases,  study plan, engaging video lessons and personalized coaching with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Need help passing CPA exams?

Sign up for the Core 1 Review and CFE Review programs to get extra practice cases,  study plan, engaging video lessons and personalized coaching with me.