In Part 1, I walked you through how you can plan for CFE prep step-by-step. In Part 2, I would like to walk you through the CFE resources I would recommend for CFE prep. There are both free (as in, already included in your CPA fees) and paid (including these CFE guides I created). It is important to know that your ultimate success will largely dependent on your effort and strategy execution. Simply having access to these resources will not guarantee a pass. However, time is finite (e.g., the Capstone modules will go by rather quickly). You want to pick your resources and spend your time well.
Free CFE Prep Resources
There is actually an overwhelming amount of resources provided by CPA. You do not need to pay extra for them as they are already included in your Capstone 2 module fees. Since your exam is often reimbursed by your employer (maybe upon passing the of module like mine), my suggestion is to consider these CPA resources before paying for more.
Introduction to Capstone 2 and CFE Module
You will gain access to the Introduction to Capstone 2 and CFE Module the same time you gain access to the Capstone 1 module. Candidates are encouraged to work through the module as they work through Capstone 1. It is a self-study module, therefore, there will be no submission required or facilitator assigned. Even if you do not plan on spending a lot of time on this optional module, I highly suggest poking around. It contains valuable CFE information.
This module contains Folio Views installation instructions. Folio Views is the software you will have used to access reference materials during CFE (e.g., the accounting handbook). Personally, I installed Folio Views and used it to attempt cases throughout Capstone 2. While it is not necessary to install and start using in Capstone 1, it is important for you to know where to find it.
In addition, this module provides flashcards designed for your CFE role. They do not cover everything but they are helpful for technical reviews later on in Capstone 2. I do not recommend reviewing them too early on as they are too condensed for them to be useful (you will end up being confused). When I used them to review my technical the week before CFE, I found them helpful for solidifying my knowledge. The only downside is the lack of coverage, therefore, you are encouraged to add to the flashcards as you attempt cases.
Videos and CFE Study Calendar
There are videos on each day of CFE which serve as a nice introduction to what each exam is about. They also provide sample CFE study calendar you can follow or use as a blueprint. Personally, I did not end up using the provided study calendar. I found it more helpful to create my own that suited my schedule and preference best.
Capstone 2 Module
The Capstone 2 module is where most of the CFE prep materials are.
Cases for Submission & Marking
There is no final exam for Capstone 2, therefore, all you need to do to pass is to submit enough assignments. Capstone 2 houses all the past CFE cases you need to reasonably attempt and submit for marks. Some are marked and some are not. However, whether they are marked or not, you are still expected to submit a minimum number of assignments.
Like all other PEP modules, there is a module workshop during the first weekend of Capstone 2. For most candidates, the cases you write during this workshop will be your first CFE cases.
For all cases in the Capstone 2 module, candidates are provided with the following:
- PDF and Excel Solutions
- the detailed solutions that were not achievable within time constraints; for me, they were most useful for technical reviews
- Feedback Guide
- useful to understand how to score a RC and C
- the case with margin notes; help with identifying AO or locating case facts
- Debrief Notes
- my go-to document as they explain how to identify and score depth for each AO
- eBook Resources
- I did not use these at all but they listed the eBook chapters for the technical topics tested
- Strong Sample Response & Marked Feedback Guide
- I did not use these often but other candidates found them to be useful as it they depicted a realistic response within time constraints (unlike the detailed solutions)
RELATED POST – CPA Capstone 2 – What I Learned At The Module Workshop
Additional Practice Cases
In addition to the cases required for submission, CPA also provides additional practice past CFE cases. Note, these will not be marked by the National Writing Centre (NWC). However, the supplements listed above (e.g., feedback guide, solution) will be provided for each case.
For myself, I either attempted or debriefed almost all of the additional practice cases.
There is a free webinar for you to attend every week during Capstone 2. The topics vary but I believe they were designed to match the progress you are expected to be. I only attended one webinar when I went through Capstone 2 and found it value-added. However, note that these webinars are easy to forget about with everything else. If you are interested in attending live, I suggest setting up a recurring calendar reminder for these events. Alternatively, they will be available on-demand shortly after the session went live.
I did not personally visit the discussion board but I knew it was a popular platform for candidates to ask questions. The boards were closely monitored by a team of facilitators.
CPA Canada Learning eBook on Knotia
The Learning eBook you are no doubt very familiar with is a useful resource for technical reviews. Since I started CFE prep early than required, I re-read some of the assurance and tax chapters. I do not recommend attempting past CFE cases until Capstone 2 begins, therefore, the Knotia eBook is a great place to refresh some technical topics.
Note, you are not expected to know everything on the CPA Competency Map. If you do decide to start reviewing your technical prior to Capstone 1, I suggest identifying your weakest areas and refresh your knowledge by reading those chapters.
Webinars Hosted By CPA Bodies
When you read this, go on your social media of choice (Instagram is my favorite) and follow all of the CPA accounts. This is because the various CPA bodies will host their own CFE events and announce them on social media. When I was prepping for CFE, these events were all virtual. I was able to attend CFE webinars hosted by CPA Alberta and CPA Ontario even though I was in BC. I learned valuable information about CFE from these webinars.
For your reference, here is the list of Instagram accounts:
- CPA Canada (@cpa.canada)
- CPABC (@cpabc)
- CPA Alberta (@cpa_ab)
- CPA Ontario (@cpaontario)
- CPAWSB (@cpawsb)
Don’t forget to also follow my account (@byjenthinks) as I would love to keep you up to date with everything CPA related as well.
RELATED POST – Things I Learned About CFE From Case Writing Session
Paid CFE Prep Resources
CFE Guides – Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3 (code JENTHINKS for 10% off)
Unlike the posts you can find on jenthinks, these guides are created for a specific CFE day. In each of them, I tell you all you need to know about each day of CFE and how to pass it. These guides contain information I learned by spending hours researching and prepping for CFE. I processed what I read or heard and applied to my own experience. Imagine having someone who went and learned all there is to know about CFE and shared with you what really mattered and worked in an organized manner.
Below is an overview of what my CFE Day 3 guide is about:
“This CFE Day 3 package is designed to help you pass Day 3 by focusing on the most important strategy: time management. Day 3 is designed to be time-constrained and it will require a lot of self-discipline during CFE prep and on exam day. You don’t need to be an expert on any topic but you need to prepare so you can execute your strategy the day of.“
Densmore CFE Prep
Most candidates would have heard of Densmore at some point on their PEP journeys. I had access to their CFE prep with marking when I prepped for CFE. Below is my answer to one of the most popular Densmore questions I get:
“No, you do not need Densmore (or any other additional CFE prep resources) to pass CFE.
With this being said, there is a lot of value in Densmore CFE prep. Like I mentioned, I found value in the Densmore package even after reading and researching about CFE more than most candidates would.
My suggestion to you is to analyze your decision carefully: do the benefits outweigh the cost? For some, maximizing the chance of passing CFE is worth the price tag. For others, few hours with a CFE tutor might be sufficient.”
For the full Densmore CFE Prep review, click here.
Note, this product was sponsored by Densmore Consulting Consulting Services Inc. However, all opinions are 100% my own.
Private One-On-One CFE Tutor
I have not personally hired a CFE tutor but I definitely see the value in doing so. This is because everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are different. A good CFE tutor can pinpoint what you need to work on to maximize your chance of passing CFE during your first attempt. For repeat writers, getting your experience evaluated by a dedicated tutor will also be beneficial. You and your tutor can work together to identify what went right and wrong.
I recommend reaching out to past CFE writers in your network for a recommendation. I also suggest starting this process as early as possible as good tutors might be booked up early. The extra time will also minimize your risk of having to switch tutors closer to CFE. If you are not able to find a CFE tutor through your network, contact learners support at your regional CPA body. They can provide a list of registered CPA mentor and tutors.