Celebrating CFE Success!

By CPABC in Focus
Sep 20, 2023
Celebrating CFE Success!
Photo credit: pcess609/iStock/Getty Images

Meet the BC writers who excelled on the May 2023 CFE

CPABC is proud of the 297 BC and Yukon candidates who were successful on the May 2023 writing of the Common Final Exam (CFE) and would like to give special recognition to BC writers Justin Pouliot and Dan Toonders for making the National CFE Honour Roll. We also congratulate Justin for achieving the highest standing in Western Canada, which garnered him a CPA Canada Gold Medal.

Here’s what Justin and Dan had to say about the CFE experience.

Justin PouliotJustin Pouliot Regional Gold Medallist

Employer: JYSK Canada (Coquitlam)

Job title: Manager of Financial Reporting

What will you remember most about your CFE experience? Although each exam day lasts between four and five hours, I’ll remember how the time seemed to fly by and how relieved I felt when I finished on the final day.

Tell us about a breakthrough or “aha” moment during your studies. I started gaining momentum after completing the Core 2 module. That’s when I truly started to believe that I could complete the program. Up until then, the CFE had always felt far away—especially considering that I had to do six prep courses before even entering the CPA PEP.

Who would you like to thank for providing support during your studies? I chose to study alone in this process, so I don’t have a specific CFE mentor or study partner to thank, but I would like to thank the great managers I’ve had at JYSK Canada over the past four years for all of their support and for everything they’ve taught me. Specifically, I’d like to thank the CFO and CEO for their guidance. Furthermore, I’d like to thank all of my colleagues in the finance department for coming together and covering for me during the month I took off to study.

I’d also like to give credit to the Gevorg, CPA study program, which helped me focus my studies. It provided me with thorough technical reviews and case writing templates, and I highly recommend it.

Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends for their support.

Dan ToondersDan Toonders

Employer: Mowi Canada West (Campbell River)

Job title: RMT North America Controller

What will you remember most about your CFE experience? What I’m going to remember most is the feeling of accomplishment when it was all over. The exam was the culmination of almost four years of work, and I felt a great sense of relief that it was done. I also felt excitement about what would come next.

Tell us about a breakthrough or “aha” moment during your studies. While I was taking the prep courses, I read an article about how to cope with the stress of exams and the advice stuck with me. The advice was to stop looking at exams as an evaluation of you and instead think of them as an opportunity to demonstrate everything you’ve learned. Using this approach helped me limit my exam stress and made it much easier for me to focus on the task at hand.

Who would you like to thank for providing support during your studies? First off, I’d like to thank my wife Kim for all of her support. My weekend courses and evening study sessions meant that she was often taking care of the kids on her own, and that was probably the harder job! I also want to thank my employer—particularly my colleagues Michelle Stuart and James Mark—for supporting me in pursuit my CPA designation. Thank you also to my mentor Andrew Foy, CPA, CMA, for the excellent guidance that he has given me throughout the program. Finally, I’d like to thank all of the course facilitators along the way—their expertise and excellent delivery of the content were key to my understanding.

Photo of Justin Pouliot by Kent Kallberg Studios. Photo of Dan Toonders by Island Life Photographics.

A version of these profiles will be published in the January/February 2024 issue of CPABC in Focus.