TRU Gaglardi alum Haley Coss earned a top one per cent score on the Common Final Examination (CFE) in the September 2022 exam session for the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.
The CFE is a comprehensive, three-day exam and a requirement for the CPA designation in Canada. Achieving a top one per cent score is a significant accomplishment that places Coss on the September 2022 Honour Roll. Achieving the honour roll is highly regarded by employers in the accounting industry, as it demonstrates a candidate’s exceptional understanding of accounting principles and practices, and their ability to apply those skills in real-world scenarios.
The exam is known to be challenging and rigorous, and writers spend several months studying to prepare for it.
“Although it can be extremely stressful at times, my experience studying for the CFE was incredibly positive overall,” says Coss. “I found that following a plan, leaning on my study group and support network, and utilizing the study strategies I knew were successful for me in the past helped me stay focused and grounded throughout the experience.”
According to Coss, a typical day in the months leading up to the CFE included following a comprehensive daily study schedule provided by her employer, KPMG. Coss and her study partners would start each day with several hours of case writing, followed by swapping cases within their groups to provide valuable and objective feedback, and they would end the day debriefing their own case independently. For Coss, a mix of individual and group study was the study strategy she found most effective.
“Group study was extremely helpful when it came to case marking or talking out some of the more complex accounting topics that could come up on the CFE, but I also found independent study to be more effective for debriefing cases or reviewing notes,” she says.
While studying, Coss also relied on the strong foundation provided by her studies at TRU Gaglardi.
“I had a solid foundation of accounting skills and knowledge that I could draw on,” Coss says. “I even went back to some of my university materials to brush up on topics that I hadn’t seen in a while, and I found these materials to be great resources throughout the summer.”
Coss also studied with many TRU Gaglardi alumni working in the Kamloops accounting community.
“Since many of us had studied together in university, I felt supported and encouraged by my former peers at TRU, whether that was during long study sessions or connecting outside of study hours to unwind,” she says.
So, what is Coss’s advice to students looking to write the CFE?
“Find out how you study most effectively and plan your approach accordingly. What works for one writer may not work for another, and the key to performing well on the CFE is to make sure you are studying in a way that works for you.”