May 5, 2014

Cornell Student Scores for Accounting Examination Ranked First Place in State

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Student scores from Cornell for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination ranked first in New York State and 11th in the nation, according to Prof. Jack Little, applied economics and management.

The exam is required for those seeking to become a U.S. Certified Public Accountant.

According to Little, in order to become a certified public accountant, one must meet three important criteria — 150 credit hours of education, passing the CPA examination and one year of work experience under another certified public accountant.

“Within those 150 credit hours, they have to have 33 credit hours of accounting [and] 36 hours in business,” he said. “After they have their education completed, they can take the CPA exam. Anyone in the country taking the CPA exam takes the same exam — it’s uniform.”

He added that prospective certified public accountants are also required to have a statement testifying that they are ethical.

“As long as they pass the exam and they have the experience requirement fulfilled, they are accepted,” he said. “Another CPA [also] has to sign a statement that they are of good moral character.”

Little said Cornell’s results from the examination were “incredible,” since programs that have been around for “many, many years” do not have the same kind of results.

“Eighty-one percent of [Cornell students] are passing the exam at their first shot … nationally, less than half pass on the first shot,” he said. “Last year, two kids passed the CPA [exam] before graduation. I’ve never heard of that before.”

According to Little, Cornell’s high rate of success in regard to the examination results is due to the academic discipline necessary to gain admission to the University.

“The important to thing to consider here is that you would expect Cornell to do the best because we bring in such bright people to start,” he said.

Little said he hopes to create a master’s program within the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, which will accommodate students who wish to graduate early but stay an extra year to complete their Master’s in Public Service degree.

“I think it will take probably two years from submission [of the program] to the first student — but it’s a process that has to be approved,” he said. “I could see kids start[ing] the undergraduate business minor, discover[ing] accounting in that process, and be able to transition into this program.”

Annie Bui, Alexa Davis and Anushka Mehrotra contributed reporting to this article.