Meet the BC writers who made the May 2022 CFE National Honour Roll!
CPABC would like to congratulate the 268 successful BC and Yukon writers of the May 2022 Common Final Exam (CFE). Passing the CFE is a huge accomplishment, and the profession is proud of you!
We’d also like to give special recognition to the three BC candidates who made the National Honour Roll: Chris Pop, Warren Rossing, and Caleb Steegstra. Here’s what each of them had to say about their CFE experience.
Birthplace and current city of residence: Matsqui, BC; Port Moody, BC
Job title: Senior Accountant
What will you remember most about your CFE experience? The late night walks along the ocean while listening to webinars and audio notes to prepare for the big day. These walks provided calmness in the midst of stress and anxiety.
How did you celebrate the news that you made the CFE Honour Roll? My wife Jori and I celebrated with a weekend away in Whistler! We went to the Scandinave Spa and played pickleball at the racket club—two of our favourite activities.
Who would you like to thank for providing support during your studies? I’d like to thank my amazing wife, Jori Pop, for all her support throughout this journey. I’d also like to thank my parents, Virgil Pop and Mirela Pop, CPA, CGA, and my colleagues, Tracy Petersen and Karen Ross. Lastly, I would like to thank my CPA mentor, Connie Brown, CPA, CGA. I was very lucky to have such great support from these individuals. They each contributed to my success in different ways.
Did you have any breakthrough or “aha” moments? I had a breakthrough moment when I received a perfect score on a Day 3 case study that I completed within the allocated time frame in an exam-like setting. There was a feeling of realization that I could do this. Although, I can’t say I ever felt fully prepared for this exam.
Tell us about a source of inspiration during your studies. Music was a great source of inspiration for me. Having a playlist that could lift my spirits was key during the trials of CPA PEP and the CFE. I also surrounded myself with positive people—I have great friends who encouraged and inspired me to keep going.
Birthplace and current city of residence: Toronto, ON; Chilliwack, BC
Employer: Correctional Service Canada
Job title: Regional Finance Officer
What will you remember most about your CFE experience? Not being able to see the composure of other writers, because we all wrote the exam individually in separate hotel rooms. In some ways it was less stressful—there were fewer noises, for example. But other factors made it more stressful—like having an invigilator stare at you throughout the exam!
How did you celebrate the news that you made the CFE Honour Roll? I was planning to go to Hawaii whether I was successful or not, because just getting to the point of writing the CFE is a feat in itself. Finding out that I not only passed but also made the honour roll made this trip even better!
Who would you like to thank for providing support during your studies? First and foremost, my wife, Aman, for her patience and perseverance. Next, my parents and my in-laws, for always encouraging and supporting me. And finally, my mentor and supervisor, Heidi Catlin, CPA, CMA, for her guidance on navigating the program and for providing the flexibility I needed to pursue my studies.
Did you have any breakthrough or “aha” moments? There was a point in Core 2 when my mindset changed from studying to pass the module exam to studying to pass the CFE, which was still a year and a half away. That was a pivotal moment.
Tell us about a source of inspiration during your studies. My daughter, Karmen! She was born the week I started Core 1, and that motivated me to study efficiently, so that I could spend as much time with her as possible. It really pushed me to balance my priorities, which also helped me avoid burnout.
Birthplace and current city of residence: Chilliwack, BC
Employer: Westbow Group of Companies
Job title: Project Accountant
What will you remember most about your CFE experience? The night after writing day two of the CFE, I got quite sick. By the morning I was well again; however, I hadn’t slept the entire night, which made day three extremely challenging. Thankfully it all worked out!
How did you celebrate the news that you made the CFE Honour Roll? I set aside some time to spend with family and friends. (And I took a long nap!)
Who would you like to thank for providing support during your studies? My wife, April, who has supported me throughout my entire education experience. My mentor, Jason Tiessen, CPA, CA, for taking the time to help me develop as an individual. The entire team at Westbow, for supporting me throughout my studies and giving me countless opportunities to learn about all aspects of the business. The faculty of the BBA (accounting major) program at the University of the Fraser Valley for setting me up for success from day one of the CPA program.
Did you have any breakthrough or “aha” moments? I realized early on that what matters most is your critical-thinking process, not your technical answers. Focusing on my thinking process unlocked my ability to make quick decisions and enabled me to take a methodical approach to writing case studies.
Tell us about a source of inspiration during your studies. The concept of continuous improvement has been a huge source of inspiration for me. I’ve seen my studies as an opportunity to learn more and apply new skills to my professional and personal life. Making great decisions based on strong analysis has always been exciting for me.
Photos of Chris Pop and Warren Rossing by Kent Kallberg Studios. Photo of Caleb Steegstra by Brendan Robinson for Riverside Photography.
Originally published in the September/October 2022 issue of CPABC in Focus.