Do You Need to Memorize Capstone 1 Case for CFE Day 1?

In preparing for Day 1 of the CPA Canada CFE, it’s important to understand that Day 1 is a continuation of the Capstone 1 case. Similar to Capstone 1, Day 1 will test your ability to problem solve, make decisions and communicate recommendations. Because Day 1 is so different from the other CFE days, candidates often wonder how much of the original Capstone 1 case to read and remember, what parts of Capstone 1 repeat in Day 1, and what parts can be ignored.

Capstone 1 vs. CFE Day 1

CFE Day 1 picks up where Capstone 1 left off. Day 1 is the same company as you had in Capstone 1, only several years in the future (for example, 5 years after Capstone 1). What this means is that you will be working with the same industry, same business and same key stakeholders. For this reason, I highly recommend that you study in-depth the Capstone 1 case to familiarize yourself with key concepts.

If you’re a PEP student taking Capstone 1, you will get the case and read it as part of the module. If you’re an internationally trained accountant, I don’t recommend taking Capstone 1, instead download the case from CPA Canada’s website and study it.

Day 1 differences

The Day 1 case will go over which strategic options from Capstone 1 the company decided to pursue, environmental changes, new options, new financing, a big picture issue and operating issues. For this reason, you do not need to memorize how the Capstone 1 strategic options were assessed and concluded as a group. What is important to keep in mind is that you will have to use a similar approach in assessing this new Day 1 case, which is following the CPA Way, including qualitative and quantitative assessments for each new option, and overall conclusion.

Capstone 1 concepts to memorize

While you will be primarily using new information for the Day 1 version , it’s important to study and remember key concepts from Capstone 1, as some will be applicable.

Below list provides key areas you should remember from your Capstone 1 case. The Capstone 1 case is extremely lengthy, therefore, I recommend to outline key pages for your reference.

  • Mission / Vision / Values – You will be required to compare the Capstone 1 M/V/V to that provided in the Day 1 and comment on any changes or additions.
  • Users / Key Stakeholders – Important to understand the needs of each.
  • Key Success Factors (KSF) – You will be required to list them in Day 1. There are usually no changes to KSF in Day 1, so you can list them as they were in Capstone 1.
  • Internal & External assessment (SWOT) – Remember some of them and list in Day 1. In Day 1, I suggest putting 80% of SWOT from the new Day 1 case and 20% from the original Cap 1.
  • Objectives / Goals / Targets – New goals will be stated but important to keep prior ones in mind.
  • Financing – Remember key ratios, bank covenants, and interest rates from Cap 1 so that you can compare with those in Day 1.
  • Constraints / Big picture – New constraints will be presented.

Additionally, you should make note of key industry and company information. For example, number of products sold, locations, branches, key competitors and so on.

You can download an example of my Capstone 1 summary here to understand how to best summarize the Capstone 1 case.


It’s very important to study the Capstone 1 case prior to Day 1 of the CFE. As part of my CFE exam preparation program, you can use my Cap 1 summary notes to study what’s relevant from Capstone 1. Reviewing these notes prior to Capstone 2 will also make it easier to tackle Capstone 2’s Day 1 practice cases.