Choosing CPA PEP Electives

Choosing CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) electives can seem daunting as the ones you choose can influence your CPA career path. Below we outline what to think about when making your choices.

Things to Consider

CPA PEP includes four elective options, and you are required to choose two. When you are deciding what to take, think about:

Your Strengths: Electives give you an opportunity to explore your areas of interest in further depth. You are more likely to be successful if you choose electives that you are interested in or proficient at. Consider your experience and the skills you have earned and how those skills might relate to an elective.

Your CFE Role: You are more likely to be successful on the CFE if you choose a role that corresponds with one of the electives you choose. For more information on electives and CFE roles, see our earlier post.

Public Practice Licensing Requirements: To earn a license to practice public accounting as a partner or owner of a CPA public practice firm, you must either take both the assurance and taxation modules as your electives or complete the Post -Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) Program after you have finished your CPA PEP education. Some employers may require that you complete the taxation and assurance modules.

Elective Module Overview

Performance management: The objective of the Performance Management module is to equip you with the ability to:

  • contribute to strategic decision making
  • support effective governance
  • manage and mitigate risk
  • assess overall performance management

You will apply common frameworks for strategy, governance, risk and performance in more complex settings than dealt with previously, developing competencies used to focus an organization on:

  • improving performance
  • delivering sustainable value

Consider this elective if:

  • You are planning or interested in a management accounting role in your career
  • You wish to be selected for a performance management role on Day 2 of the CFE

The blueprint provides you with information on what to expect from the examinations.

Finance: The objective of the Finance module is to equip you with the ability to:

  • develop overall finance policies
  • identify, analyze, evaluate and recommend investment and financing decisions
  • You will learn to apply the appropriate finance principles and conceptual approaches to determine appropriate courses of action. You will also develop the capability to:
  • provide finance-related services for an organization, either individually or as part of a larger team
  • understand when the advice of a finance specialist is required
  • understand and communicate with other finance professionals

Consider this elective if:

  • You plan to pursue a career that provides investing and finance advice to organizations
  • You wish to be selected for a finance role for Day 2 of the CFE

The blueprint provides you with information on what to expect from the examinations.

Assurance: The objective of the Assurance module is to equip you with the competencies necessary to perform both internal audit projects and external assurance engagements, including:

  • assessing the need for an engagement or project
  • developing and performing procedures
  • documenting and reporting results

Please note: If you plan to practise public accounting, this module is required.

Consider this elective if:

  • You have any experience in assurance and would like to pursue it further. It is highly recommended that you have some experience in assurance to take the module
  • You wish to work in assurance engagements or internal auditing in your career
  • You are considering an assurance role for Day 2 of CFE

The blueprint provides you with information on what to expect from the examinations.

Taxation: The objective of the Taxation module is to equip you with the competencies necessary to provide taxation services and guidance, including assisting individual and corporate entities to minimize taxes and meet their objectives while remaining in compliance with tax laws and regulations. You will:

  • learn to address compliance and tax-planning issues for individuals and corporate entities, with some exposure to partnerships and trusts
  • learn to go beyond presenting the issues and consider the broader circumstances and risk tolerance of all stakeholders involved
  • develop competence in the areas of governance, controls and risk management by exploring the relationship between financial reporting decisions and taxation, and considering the importance of taxes when making business and investment decisions

Please note: If you plan to practise public accounting, this module is required.

Consider this elective if:

  • You have experience in and would like to pursue tax as a career. It is recommended that you have some experience in tax when entering the module
  • You would like to pursue a tax role for Day 2 of the CFE

The blueprint provides you with information on what to expect from the examinations.

For additional information, the CPA Competency Map and the CPA Knowledge Supplement cover details on the electives.