KU School of Business ranks 29th for graduates’ first-time pass rate on CPA exam

Lauren Cunningham, communications director

LAWRENCE — A recent National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) report ranks the University of Kansas School of Business as 29th in the nation among large programs for graduates’ first-time CPA exam pass rate. The report, which assesses the performance of aspiring certified public accountants, shows that 76.4% of KU accounting graduates passed the CPA exam on their first try in 2019.

KU’s pass rate is nearly 20 percentage points higher than the national average of 58.6%. That pass rate places the KU School of Business in the top 12% of 247 large programs, defined by NASBA as institutions with more than 60 reported candidates.

“I am very proud of our program’s recent CPA exam success,” said Alee Phillips, director of the school’s Master of Accounting program. “It’s a testament to our outstanding students and to our dedicated, award-winning faculty who provide a challenging curriculum and who have high expectations in the classroom.”

The CPA exam consists of four sections, and students study and sit for one section of the exam at a time. All four sections must be passed within 18 months.

The business school’s full-time Master of Accounting program primes students for CPA exam success with its structure and 30 credit-hour curriculum, which offers a program from Becker, a leading CPA exam review company.

“Our program’s unique 10-week spring semester and partnership with Becker allows students to complete their degrees by the beginning of April and dedicate significant time for exam preparation before they begin their full-time jobs,” Phillips said. “This structure is clearly working well for our students, both in the classroom and for success on the CPA exam.”

In addition to the 2019 NABSA report, KU accounting students’ CPA exam success rate was recognized by a recent article in Accounting Today, a leading news and information resource for public accountants.

The article centers on a new analytic developed by Baylor University accounting professor Charles Davis and University of Northern Iowa accounting professors Timothy Lindquist and Joseph Ugrin. This metric, the CPA Success Index, estimates students’ progress toward completing all four parts of the CPA exam in 18 months. Based on the CPA Success Index, KU ranks among the top 10 larger collegiate accounting programs with an index of 76.7%.

The School of Business and its accounting program both hold accreditations by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction earned by only 190 institutions.