Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

CPA Candidate Performance Declines Slightly

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

CPA Candidate Performance Declines Slightly

Article excerpt

Just over 20% of first-time CPA candidates in 1990 passed all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, a slight decline compared to recent years, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). More than half the first-time candidates failed to pass a single section (see the exhibit on page 27).

NASBA's recently released 1991 edition of CPA Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination analyzes the performance of 143,572 CPA candidates (a record number) who took the two exams in 1990.

Passing rates declined slightly for repeat candidates as well, although, as usual, they scored better than first-timers.

Accounting practice and accounting theory were the sections in which first-time candidates did best, followed by business law. Auditing ranked last.

Despite a 1% increase in total candidates in 1990, the estimated number of new CPAs is down 4.5% from 1989--a direct result of the decline in passing rates in 1990.

Graduate degrees. The percentage of candidates with advanced degrees was up slightly from 1989 in both May and November 1990, but lower than 10 years ago. NASBA called for further emphasis on postbaccalaureate training in the 1990s to achieve the profession's 150-hour goal by the year 2000.

Work experience. …

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