Densmore Blog


Didn't Pass the CFE This Time?

On December 9, 2016

No one said the road to success would be smooth, and unfortunately, if you are reading this blog, it is likely that you are experiencing what feels like a major sink hole in your road. As difficult as it is to keep perspective, this is actually just a speed bump in your career and does not define who you are. Know that the CFE is passable and while you were not successful at this attempt, you will be able to re-write and succeed.


We recognize for many of you it may be the only thing you ever failed in your life and this is a very tough blow. You will need to process your disappointment – and maybe anger – and then move on to accept the results.


Be prepared for reactions from co-workers and family members; assure them you are okay and you will move forward. They will be concerned for you, and your positive attitude will say a lot about the confidence you have in yourself. Some of the hardest conversations you will have will be with your friends and peers who did pass. We encourage you show a brave face and congratulate those you know who passed. It takes strength of character to do this, but you will be glad you did once it is behind you. (For more detailed advice about returning to the office as an unsuccessful candidate, please see our separate blogs on the topic.)

The best advice we can give you at this point come from the words of that classic, and to some annoying, Disney song. As hard as it may seem right now, you need to “Let It Go.” You have some decisions to make, but they can be made over the next week or so. There will be a follow-up blog to this giving you some specific steps to consider.


Between now and January, take time off, reconnect with friends and family and forget about all things CFE. In early January, once you have had time to process, do some soul searching and be honest with yourself. What were your strengths and what were your weaknesses? What worked and what didn’t work? This early assessment is the first step in efficiently utilizing your time to prepare for your next attempt.


Again, we understand how difficult it is to receive unsuccessful results. We want to assure you that the CFE is doable and even though it is not openly discussed, many current CPAs also struggled through the process. Take comfort that once it is behind you, it is rarely ever mentioned again.


(Carol Jones and Amie Lear – December 9, 2016)


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