Meet the two BC writers who made the May 2021 CFE National Honour Roll
CPABC is proud of the 308 successful BC and Yukon writers of the May 2021 Common Final Exam (CFE)* and would like to give special recognition to the two BC candidates who made the National Honour Roll: Sammi Leung and Lexi Zhang. Here, Sammi and Lexi reflect on their CFE experience.
Birthplace and current city of residence: Burnaby, BC
Employer: Traction on Demand
Job title: Senior Accountant
What will you remember most about your CFE experience? Writing the CFE in the midst of a pandemic was an experience in itself! Accompanying that was the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and relief I felt at the end of the final day.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you started CPA PEP? I actually wish I’d known less—hearing everyone’s CFE and PEP stories was intimidating! No doubt, they’re both challenging, but they can be done. And having a positive state of mind is already half the battle.
Who would you like to thank for providing support during your studies I was fortunate to have received guidance from many individuals along my CPA journey. I’d like to first thank my mentors Leah Li, CPA, CGA, and Jonathan Martin, CPA, for their impeccable mentorship and coaching. I’d also like to thank Alex Leung, CPA, CA, and Jeff Lee, CPA, for their valuable feedback on my practice case writing.
Lastly, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to J, and to all my friends and family, for being my support system.
What do you want to do with your CPA after you qualify? I’m excited to explore all the possibilities and opportunities the designation has to offer. I’d also like to use my experience to help others succeed with their studies and help them overcome the same challenges.
Birthplace and current city of residence: Nanjing, China; Richmond, BC
Employer: ACM Advisors Ltd.
Job title: Corporate Accountant
What will you remember most about your CFE experience? The 30 minutes before the exam, when I was eagerly waiting for it to begin. I was staring at the mountains through the window, and time seemed to go by so slowly. I had to keep pumping myself up to get ready for the “battle.”
What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you started CPA PEP? The mindset of explaining the “why” and not just memorizing the criteria. The “why” component that integrates the case fact is the key to tackling all issues.
Who would you like to thank for providing support during your studies? I’d like to thank my colleagues at ACM Advisors for always being supportive and kind.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to my cat BaiBai for being cute and keeping me company, especially during my late-night study sessions. I went solo in my studies, and I’m proud of myself for staying confident. To those like me who are used to studying on their own: Don’t worry—you can also do well without study buddies!
What do you want to do with your CPA after you qualify? I want to become a better professional who can assist in making strategic decisions to grow the business.
**About the May 2021 writing: One Yukon candidate and 307 BC candidates were successful on the May 2021 CFE—the first of two CFE offerings in 2021. The May 2021 exam followed the same strict physical distancing and sanitization protocols that were implemented in September 2020, with candidates writing in individual hotel rooms under the supervision of assigned invigilators.
Photo of Sammi Leung provided by the candidate. Photo of Lexi Zhang by Kent Kallberg Studios.
Originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of CPABC in Focus.