Accounting students’ CPA pass rate No. 6 nationally

By Anna Flagg

Baylor ranked nationally for overall pass rate of the 2010 Certified Public Accountant exam as shown by results released by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy in October.

The exam is a professional licensing test used by all states in order to ensure individuals have the minimum accounting knowledge needed to enter the accounting profession.

According to the results, 86.6 percent of Baylor graduate students passed the exam on their first try, leading the university to rank No. 6 in the nation for first-time candidates with an advanced degree.

Additionally, Baylor ranked nationally in three of the exam’s four parts. The university ranked No. 5 on the auditing section, No. 3 on the financial accounting and reporting section and No. 7 on the regulation section.

Graduate students also achieved the highest overall pass rate in Texas and the highest average score in Texas — 81.1 out of 99.

The accounting program at Baylor has always been strong and is continuing to improve, Dr. Charles Davis, accounting department chairman, said.

“We have great students who work hard and prepare for the exam and a world-class faculty who provide them with an educational experience that gives them a good foundational knowledge of technical accounting,” Davis said.

He said the department works to stay current on accounting trends.

“We have an accounting advisory council that is made up of practicing accountants that meets twice a year to provide input on the programs and curriculum in our department,” Davis said. “We also maintain close relationships with close to 30 accounting firms that recruit our students and work with them to make sure we are giving students access to the knowledge they need to be successful.”

He said the department teaches students to communicate well, and students develop a strongwork ethic during their undergraduate and graduate years.

Boerne senior Natalie Buckingham said old CPA exam questions are included on her class exams, preparing her for questions she might see when she takes the CPA exam in the future. But her professors are helpful beyond just coursework, she said.

“I find myself not only going into my professors’ offices for class help, but for advice about my accounting future,” Buckingham said. “They never hesitate to provide insight, and I feel that they genuinely care.”

December 2010 alumnus Grant Tidmore said the faculty takes a lot of pride in the students and prepares them well to become accountants.

“We have a very well-informed faculty that teaches us the technicalities of accounting,” Tidmore said. “They go even farther to teach us things like how to network, lead and how to write thank-you cards. Every student walks out of the program with an incredible work ethic that ultimately leads to an above-average passing rate, and eventually a very lucrative career.”

Tidmore said as students are getting ready to graduate, they receive a final push from professors encouraging them to finish strong with the CPA and to work hard in order to score well on the exam.

“It is well worth it to see the fruits of your hard work at Baylor result in a good score on the CPA,” Tidmore said. “It is very rewarding.”