Thinking of taking the CFE in the future? Become a SAF graduate!

Nishi ShahI always try to give 110% in everything I do and push myself to complete the best work I am capable of. This approach was no different when preparing for the Common Final Examination (CFE). While I gave 110% when studying for the CFE, I never thought I would make the honour roll. Much to my surprise though, I actually did! Though I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it without the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF).

SAF is one of the only programs in the country that provided such extensive tax course coverage throughout the undergraduate and master’s programs. The breadth of knowledge that SAF taught me from just that one topic prepared me for the CFE better than the students writing the same tax perspective from other schools. The master’s program that SAF offers was the perfect ‘summary’ of my undergrad in that nothing new was taught in master’s program but instead, the ‘process’ was taught, which was crucial for preparing me for the CFE. This structure of teaching the knowledge in undergrad and the process in master’s is an approach that I think was very beneficial in getting ready for the CFE.

Academics aside, there were a lot of other skills I developed through SAF that allowed me to handle the challenges of the CFE. During my time in the SAF I was part of two varsity sports teams, I was a peer leader, a weekly tutorial leader for AFM courses, and a residence tutor for MATH courses. Being involved in all those extra-curricular activities while juggling school really taught me the importance of time management. In the months leading up to the CFE, having those time management skills was very important because I was trying to study for the CFE while also completing my Master’s of Accounting (MAcc) and being a part of some of those same extracurricular activities. Come time for the exam, time management was a crucial skill in being able to complete those cases during the time crunch. Carrying forward to my career, time management continues to be a skill that so many people struggle with and I’m glad that I was able to develop that skill so early on through SAF.

Overall, I think my experiences within the SAF program really contributed to my success on the CFE — not only from a technical perspective but also from a mindset perspective. With this wider and stronger technical knowledge, I am able to understand and adapt to new challenges in the workplace a lot faster than others because I have been trained to do so.

If you’re thinking of taking the CFE in the future, SAF is the right place for you to be! My advice is to take good notes (you’ll be surprised by how many things you learned in your undergrad will resurface when studying for the CFE) and make sure to get involved in extra-curriculars so that you can develop those durable soft skills and create a good work life balance.

With SAF in your back pocket, the CFE is calling your name!

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