Western ranks third statewide in CPA exam performance
Donegan notes results reflect quality of Ancell’s CPA preparation at undergraduate level
DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University graduates ranked third in performance among candidates from 20 colleges and universities statewide who took the Certified Public Accountant Examination administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy during 2011.
The 2011 report on results for the four-part, 14-hour CPA exam, the most recent available providing comparisons of candidate performance by school attended, showed that WCSU graduates attained an average score of 70.9, third in rank among Connecticut higher education institutions behind the University of Connecticut and Fairfield University. Western graduates’ overall pass rate per part of 46.6 percent also ranked third statewide behind UConn and Fairfield.
Professor of Accounting Dr. James Donegan, assistant dean of the WCSU Ancell School of Business, described the strong performance of Western graduates as an affirmation of ASB’s commitment to provide students with the opportunity to satisfy Connecticut education requirements for CPA licensure through a comprehensive undergraduate education. Unlike many business schools where students must pursue graduate studies to complete the education needed to become CPAs, the Ancell School’s 122-credit bachelor’s degree program in accounting, supplemented by an additional 28 elective credits, positions students at Western to become CPAs after passing the exam and satisfying work experience requirements.
“This strong performance reflects well on our curriculum, given that the CPA license is the premier professional credential for accountants and one of the most respected credentials in the business world,” Donegan said.
“Our objective has always been to remain accessible for students,” Donegan said, “and we recognize that the cost of a graduate education can impose one more barrier to seeking a CPA license. By enabling undergraduates to take the credits needed to become CPAs, we are providing access to a number of students who otherwise might find themselves screened out from taking the exam.”
WCSU graduates performed especially well in the examination’s auditing and attestation section, where Western candidates’ pass rate of 61 percent ranked highest among all Connecticut colleges and universities. Donegan credited this performance in significant part to the Ancell School auditing course taught for the past 15 years by Professor of Accounting Richard Proctor, who “has remained very professionally active and brought his real-life experience into the classroom.” He noted that Proctor coauthored a comprehensive and highly realistic case study text used to teach audit principles and practices at Western.
CPA exam results for 2011 also showed Western graduates achieved the fourth-highest pass rate among Connecticut colleges and universities for the test section on business environment and concepts, with WCSU candidates performing near the median in regulation and in financial accounting and reporting. Donegan noted these areas of study will continue to receive emphasis as the Ancell School further strengthens its curriculum to prepare students to seek CPA licensing.
The average age of 32.9 for WCSU graduates taking the CPA exam during 2011 in part reflects the relatively high percentage of older, nontraditional students in the Ancell School of Business. Donegan noted that transfer students, including those entering WCSU after completing community college associate degrees, currently account for 55 percent of total ASB enrollment.
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Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.