(Posted July 2023)

If you have completed the CPA Core 1 and Core 2 Modules, it is time for you to select your PEP Elective Modules. There are four choices (Assurance, Finance, Performance Management, and Taxation) and you need to select two. What things should you consider when choosing your Elective Modules?

This important decision can impact your CFE Day 2 role selection, which impacts how you will study and prepare for the CFE. While you do not have to choose a CFE Day 2 role that matches one of your PEP Electives, it makes more sense to do so as you will build that technical knowledge base at the Elective level for Day 2 of the CFE.

Your choice of Elective Modules can impact your ability to practice public accounting in the future. It is important to step back and consider your end goal here. What area(s) do you plan on working in after you have achieved your CPA designation? If you may be interested in obtaining your Public Accounting Licence (PAL) in the future, you are required to complete the Assurance and Taxation Elective Modules. If you do not complete these Modules and you want to obtain your PAL in the future, you will be required to take the Post Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) program and exam.

If this does not apply to you, you should consider a number of factors when choosing which Electives make the most sense for you:

• Work experience – If you are working in a certain area every day, you are naturally going to know more of the technical concepts that you need to understand to be successful on the Elective Module final exam. Think about your key work responsibilities and in which Elective area they may fit most naturally. While Assurance and Taxation are quite obvious, Finance and Performance Management (PM) may be more difficult to identify. If you work in a treasury function, then Finance may be more appropriate for you. If you work in an entry-level industry or analyst role, then PM may be most appropriate.
• Interests – Do you enjoy certain topics or areas more than others? If you love preparing tax returns, or you really enjoy NPV calculations and cash flow analysis, then those interests should guide your decision as well. It will make studying much easier because you will be interested in the technical concepts you need to learn and apply.
• Comfort level with the knowledge required – Do you struggle with Financial Reporting and/or Audit and Assurance concepts? Then, maybe the Assurance Elective is not the right choice for you. Consider where your technical knowledge skills are the strongest and select Electives that will support your strengths.
• Past educational experience – Did you take certain courses or excel in certain topics in university? Use those past experiences to guide your decisions. You do not want to select an Elective that was difficult for you previously, as that is unlikely to have a different outcome during the PEP Elective Modules.
• Personal schedule – Pay attention to the Elective Module workshop and examination dates for your chosen Elective. Will a scheduled major life event conflict with these dates? You do not want to have to worry about missing a workshop or exam or have to pay to defer the exam because of poor planning.

CPA Canada has posted sample cases for each of the Electives here. If you are still unsure, you should read through the sample cases and evaluation guides (solutions) for each Module to help inform your decision. Once you have decided on which electives are right for you, if you need extra practice in any of your Elective modules, consider our EDGE courses or an additional practice exam.