What’s in a Name? Understanding CPA PEP’s file-naming policy

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Jul 30, 2021

As Lead Policy Advisor for CPAWSB I will admit policies sometimes leave me scratching my head. Why is this necessary? Why is this so difficult for people to follow? I have the same questions as candidates likely have.
As an educator, I go to conferences and hang out with other educators. We will often cover a breadth of topics including how to “best” teach learners. A common theme is  ensuring educators explain the “why” – diving into the significance or “so what” of the technical – to make it sticky. Gone are the days of “because I said so” being an acceptable response. Thank gosh.

The purpose of this post is to provide learners and educators insights into the significance of appropriate naming protocol when submitting assignments and a nifty tool to help learners master this skill.

What is the significance of the File Naming Policy?


The most significant reason for appropriate naming of files is it allows for our plagiarism team to perform part of their plagiarism investigations.  While CPAWSB supports collaboration, sharing CPA copyright materials (which includes candidate submissions) is a violation of policy.

Bigger picture: It is unfair to ethical candidates if cheaters are not investigated and caught. Even bigger picture: We are a profession built on an ethical foundation and we cannot risk graduating candidates without ensuring their submissions are their own.

Training future CPAs

CPAs are often responsible for large sums of money, private information, and tight deadlines. We are responsible for paying attention and executing based on small details that may have potentially large negative repercussions if done incorrectly.

Fortunately, the penalty is less harsh in CPAWSB. No one will fine you, fire you, or even fail you if you incorrectly name your files. Just be aware that it is often getting the little things right that leads to people trusting you with the bigger things, helping to further you in your career.

Why can’t naming my files correctly be easier?

Ask, and you shall receive. Our Director of Learner Support created the File Name Generator. Simply plunk in your details and voila! The appropriate name for your file will be generated just like that.

That’s not my name

A file is named incorrectly if the name on your file does not match your registered name in D2L. If you would like to change your name in D2L, please email  cpamodule@cpawsb.ca. Of note, your name in D2L does not necessarily need to match your legal name; contact CPAWSB if you would like to change your name and have supporting documentation.

Choose your battles

Alrighty, so we are almost at the end of my mini lesson on the “why” behind the importance of correct file naming. Still not convinced and ready to write a letter about it? If this is you, I have one last discussion point.

Oftentimes candidates admit later that they found a policy particularly annoying or frustrating and when the module wrapped up, reflected and realized complaining about the policy was actually how they voiced frustration with something unrelated. This program is hard enough, so ask yourself how will objecting to this policy help you? If you want to provide your thoughts, CPAWSB wants to hear from you, and has mechanisms in place to receive your feedback to make improvements to the program.

I look forward to seeing you – and your perfectly named files – in D2L soon.


Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum. 

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB and a Senior Instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education. Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.