Christopher Houng’s SAF Experience

Christopher HoungIn September 2019, over 6,000 candidates passed the Common Final Examination (CFE), moving them towards their profession as a chartered professional accountant (CPA). The CFE Honour Roll consists of the top one per cent of successful CFE writers. Out of the 28 Ontario Honour Roll members, 15 of them were School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) graduates. We had the chance to sit down with Christopher Houng (MAcc ’19, Financial Analyst at Manulife) to ask him about his CFE experience, and how SAF helped him make it onto the honour roll.

How has your SAF program prepared you for the CFE and professional success?

The SAF program provided me with a very strong technical base to leverage for writing the CFE and in the workforce.

In your opinion, how do you think your cumulative experiences within your SAF program (academic, extra/co-curricular, co-op, etc.) attributed to your CFE and career success?

The technical base developed academically really helped in writing the CFE. Additionally, being part of Young Tax Professionals (which gave me a deeper understanding of career options and develop some key skills needed for tax practice) in both my undergrad and master’s allowed me to reinforce concepts learned in class, and also dive deeper into select topics that were covered at each month's session.

What do you aspire to do within your professional career?

I aspire to specialize in an area of tax and become an expert that people can come to for advice and help.

What tips or pointers can you offer to current SAF students?

I was very academically oriented in my undergrad and master’s and would always be studying, so one piece of advice that I'd give is to maintain a good work life balance, because that's one thing that I would change if I could go back.

As a study tip, I would highly encourage students to spend time debriefing cases since it allows you to learn from mistakes and see what areas you need to focus on.

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