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Common Final Examination

  (Redirected from Uniform Evaluation)

The Common Final Examination (CFE) is the final examination of the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) professional designation in Canada. The CFE is the culmination of the rigorous two-year graduate-level CPA program. The exam not only includes important accounting disciplines like finance, governance, strategy, and assurance, but also evaluates professional skills such as critical analysis, decision-making, and professional judgment.[1] Previously known as the Uniform Evaluation (UFE), the UFE has been discontinued following the unification of the three accounting designations (CA, CMA, CGA) in Canada and Bermuda in June 2015.

Administered nationally by CPA Canada, and conducted regionally by the provincial/regional orders, the CFE is written over the course of three sequential days and is the culmination of years of study in financial accounting, management accounting, corporate finance, performance management, taxation and other business-related university courses. Writing the CFE requires successful completion of preliminary education requirements including CPA preparatory courses and CPA Canada's Professional Education Program (PEP). Upon passing the CFE and completing 30 months of approved practical experience, the candidate is designated a Chartered Professional Accountant[2] and may use the CPA post-nominal letters.

The Common Final Examination is typically offered once per year in September (Fall). Sometimes, it may be offered twice a year in Spring and Fall (such as May and September 2016). The upcoming CFE dates are: September 11 - September 13, 2019. Two CFEs are scheduled for 2020, between May 26 - May 29 and September 9 - September 11, 2020[3].


CPA competency mapEdit

Exam structureEdit

Students must demonstrate the depth and breadth of their abilities according to the CPA Competency Map. Students answer questions which are presented in the form of business cases that include a combination of both explicit and implicit requirements for each case's "users", followed by a list of exhibits that provide case facts from which observations, suggestions and conclusions are derived. Common scenarios include providing advice on how to conduct an audit, advising a client on the pros and cons of investing funds in a given business venture, and providing support to an organization as an internal accountant or auditor.

The three-day exam consisted of case based simulations:[4]

  • Day 1: candidates will have four hours to write a case in relation to the Capstone 1 group project. Candidates will be assessed on enabling competencies such as communications skills and professionalism, as well as some technical competencies.
  • Day 2: students would choose an elective "depth" area from four competency areas - performance management, finance, assurance or taxation. Day 2 will last five hours in length and students must be rated "competent" in the chosen elective area as well as either financial reporting or management accounting. Note that students wishing to pursue a public accounting licence must have passed the assurance and taxation courses from their prior PEP modules and show depth in both financial reporting and assurance on the CFE.[5][6]
  • Day 3: multiple (usually three) multi-competency cases are provided within a time frame of four hours aimed to evaluate the student's "breadth" in the competency map. A minimum "Reaching Competent (RC)" grade must be achieved for every individual competency (all six areas).

Evaluation criteriaEdit

All CPA cases are evaluated based on "competency ratings". They are:

  • Not Addressed (NA): candidate has not addressed the assessment opportunity.
  • Not Competent (NC): candidate has addressed the assessment opportunity, but the analysis is incorrect or not related to the issue.
  • Reaching Competent (RC): RCs and Cs are both counted towards "breadth" test for day 3. RC candidates demonstrate more proficiency and understanding than NC, but not at the Competent level.
  • Competent (C): the amount of Cs are used for the "depth" test on day 2. Competent candidates demonstrate the required competency levels as expected by a CPA.
  • Competent with Distinction (CD): Candidates are not expected to achieve this high level of competency. CDs are essentially Cs in terms of exam grading.

Pass ratesEdit

The exam is administered once per year during September and approximately 5,500 students attempt the exam each year. National pass rates for 2003 to 2008 have been 65.5%,[7] 74.5%,[8] 74.0%,[9] 79.3%,[10] 74.6%,[11] and 71.7%[12] respectively. Exam results are released in late November following each September sitting of the UFE.

Beginning with the September 2009 UFE, the Board of Evaluators no longer releases statistics on pass rates.

The CFE Board of Evaluators began releasing statistics on pass rates along with Board Reports on candidate performance. The following are the first attempts of CFE Pass Rates for CFE[13]:

  • 2017 September CFE 77.6%
  • 2016 September CFE 76.8%
  • 2016 May CFE 68.7%
  • 2015 September CFE 82.9%

CFE Honour Roll & Gold MedalEdit

Every CFE, the Board would release the Honour Roll recipients along with the CFE results. The CFE honour roll members are recognized for their performance in the exam that demonstrated academic excellence and exceptional abilities. The Honour Roll of 68 candidates is determined as the top 1% of the first-time writers that wrote all three days.[14] Among the honour roll members, a national Gold Medal (highest standing in Canada) is selected, along with 3 provincial gold medalists (top performers in their respective CPA representations). The CPA Governor General's Gold Medal (National Gold Medal) is awarded to 1 individual for a cash prize of $5,000. While each regional Gold Medalist receives a cash price of $2,500 each.

Successful candidatesEdit

2018: Ontario -


  1. ^ "CFE Results Summary". CPA Ontario. CPA Ontario. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  2. ^ "The new Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) certification program: Overview". CPA Canada. CPA Canada. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Common Final Examination". CPA Canada. CPA Canada. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  4. ^ "How each day of the CFE works". CFE Blog. CFE Blog. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Elective Depth Role". CPA Ontario. CPA Ontario. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Become a Licensed Public Accountant (LPA)". Public Accountant Licence. CPA Ontario. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  7. ^ Institute of Chartered Accountants in Canada and Bermuda: "Uniform Evaluation Report 2003", page 12. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, 2004.
  8. ^ Institute of Chartered Accountants in Canada and Bermuda: "Uniform Evaluation Report 2004", page 12. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, 2005.
  9. ^ Institute of Chartered Accountants in Canada and Bermuda: "Uniform Evaluation Report 2005", page 12. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, 2006.
  10. ^ Institute of Chartered Accountants in Canada and Bermuda: "Uniform Evaluation Report 2006", page 12. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, 2007.
  11. ^ Institute of Chartered Accountants in Canada and Bermuda: "Uniform Evaluation Report 2007", page 12. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, 2008.
  12. ^ "CA School of Business UFE Statistics". Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  13. ^ "CPA certification program: Examination performance rates". CPA Canada. CPA Canada. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Common Final Examination (CFE) honour roll". CPA Canada. CPA Canada. Retrieved 2 December 2018.