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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM’s First-time Pass Rate on CPA Exam Exceeds National Average

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 14, 2015) – Passing the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy Uniform CPA Examination is a significant hurdle for graduates who want to progress as accounting professionals. Benefitting from the preparation they receive from quality faculty members and curriculum, University of Central Missouri accounting students are meeting this challenge with a first-time pass rate on the exam that exceeds the national average.

Jo Koehn, Ph.D., BKD Distinguished Professor of Accounting, pointed to 2014 NASBA statistics, noting, “Over 70 percent of UCM students passed this rigorous exam with their first attempt. This far exceeds the national average of 55 percent.”

According to Koehn, Missourians overall are doing well on the national examination. The state ranks fourth out of 53 jurisdictions – mostly states – for CPA Exam test-takers who passed on first attempt. UCM is sixth among all of Missouri’s public and private colleges and universities, and third among regional universities in the state for first-try success on the exam.

The size of an institution seems to make little difference in terms of a successful pass rate. Koehn said UCM ranks higher than some of the larger universities in neighboring states, making the School of Accountancy “very proud that we have bragging rights over some Division I schools.”

Passing the test is a quality assurance measure for NASBA, which ensures that only qualified individuals become licensed as Certified Public Accountants. The CPA Exam is given at testing centers throughout the United States, and students schedule their own exams, usually after they complete their graduation requirements. The exam has four sections, which are completed on different days: Auditing, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation.

Koehn attributes student success on the exam to quality university undergraduate and graduate degree programs in accountancy that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The program also benefits from a strong Accountancy Advisory Board, which consists of about 20 professionals who work in the field, many whom are UCM graduates.

“We have a very strong curriculum,” Koehn said. “You have to have at least 150 hours of credit to take the exam. Many of our students go on to get a master’s degree in accountancy.”

Among recent UCM graduates who took the CPA Exam is Hunter Hoyer, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accountancy in 2014 and is currently working as an audit assistance for Deloitte LLP, Kansas City. He believes the education he received at UCM strongly contributed to his ability to pass the exam on first attempt last December.

“I really believe that the UCM accountancy program prepared me overall for the rigor of the CPA Exam,” Hoyer said. “One of the main attributes of the UCM Accounting Program that assisted me in preparation for the exam was the quality and comprehensive nature of the classes that the department provided.  Further, the professors really care for their students and are willing to challenge their students to go beyond what is expected from a beginning accounting professional.”

“Ultimately, the combination of challenging and engaging coursework with professors who genuinely care, is what I think makes UCM’s accounting program unique and well-suited for students who wish to take the CPA Exam,” Hoyer added.

Armed with knowledge and technical skills that employers need, students who graduate from UCM with an accounting degree are in strong demand, Koehn said. Accounting is rated among the top-10 critical need professions in the U.S. This demand for accountants leads to starting salaries that are higher than other areas in business, and internship and entry-level job opportunities are numerous.

 An accounting degree provides versatility with respect to career options.  Graduates work in public accounting jobs for Big Four firms, regional firms, and local firms; Fortune 500 companies; government agencies;
not-for-profit firms; private companies; health care agencies; and universities.

UCM’s accountancy program received national recognition recently by Accounting Degree Review, an online independent and objective resource for current and prospective accounting and finance students. It ranked UCM third on a list of 30 Most Affordable Residential Bachelor’s Programs in Accounting and the 30 Most Affordable Residential Master’s Programs in Accounting for 2015.