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By Danielle Wong

When Owais Ashfaq found out he was among the top 52 writers in a national chartered accountant exam, his initial reaction was relief.

“I was just glad I passed,” the Ryerson commerce grad said. “It’s not practical to hope for the honour roll because it’s that kind of exam.”

The national Uniform Evaluation (UFE), issued by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), is an exam all Canadian-trained chartered accountants must pass.

Jim Brown, the director of education for the Institution of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO), said Ashfaq should be very proud because he stands out from a group of students who are already outstanding.

Of the 3,118 students who wrote the test in September 2007, 2,327 passed. Only 17 Ontario students made the honour roll. “The test was very challenging,” Ashfaq, 24, said. “It was tough, but doable.”

The students were tested over three days, using seven simulated business cases that cover six “competency” areas including taxation and finance. “Ryerson has had a bad reputation,” Ashfaq said. “but this recent exam shows that it doesn’t matter which university you’re from.”

He credited Ryerson’s techincal training, as well as his practice in case writing. Ashfaq, who wanted to be an accoutant growing up in Pakistan, is now a chartered accountant for Deloitte & Touche LLP in Toronto.

He hopes to teach accounting one day, as he enjoyed being a TA at Ryerson. Deirdre Taylor, one of his professors at Ryerson, describes Ashfaq as a student with “star quality.”

“You just knew by talking to him that he had drive and intelligence,” Taylor said. She said Ashfaq wasn’t very outgoing in her class but was a nice person.

“He’s someone Ryerson should be proud of.”

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