CPA pass rates soar at Bradley

December 12, 2011

By Elise Dismer ’13

Imagine taking a test that only about 53 percent of students nationwide pass the first time.

Those were the odds that Bradley MSA graduate Jennifer Owdom ’09 faced when she took her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam in 2010.

“I felt very nervous when I sat down to take the exam, but I also felt that I was as prepared as I could be,” Owdom said.

To become a CPA, students must first pass the exam’s four sections – Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulation (REG) and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – each of which takes three to four hours to complete.

“CPA certification is important to have on a resume and makes you a more competitive candidate for accounting positions,” Owdom said. “My company also has a policy that you need to be a CPA to be promoted to certain levels.  Without my CPA, I would be at a disadvantage and not receive promotion.” 

So when Owdom finally learned the outcome of her 14-hour test, she was very pleased. 

“Overall, my scores were higher than I had expected,” she said. “I think Bradley was very good in preparing me to take the exam.”

But Owdom wasn’t the only one at Bradley to smile over the test results.

In 2010, 69.6 percent of Bradley candidates who took the exam for the first time passed. That’s 16.7 percent higher than the national average, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

This means Bradley has the second highest CPA pass rate for first-time candidates in all of Illinois.

Bradley Accounting Professor Dr. Simon Petravick was thrilled to see these numbers.

“One measure of an accounting program’s success is how well its students do on the CPA exam,” he said. “I think Bradley distinguishes itself with this high CPA rate.”

He pointed out that helping students earn certifications increases their likelihood of finding a job and getting promotions in their careers.

Because of this, Petravick said the CPA pass rate reflects the faculty dedication towards student achievement.

“Our department’s goal is to help students begin a successful career,” he said. “The CPA exam is testing to see if students know what’s important in one part of our profession, public accounting. Our faculty are doing a good job in helping students get ready for that profession and you can see it in these exam scores.”

Owdom said Bradley should be proud of its CPA pass rate.

“One of the main reasons I chose to attend Bradley in the first place is because it has an excellent accounting program,” she said. “The high CPA pass rate is proof of that.”