Taylor University’s accounting department has demonstrated success over the years. May 2021 accounting alumni have an 81% passing rate for first-time attempts on the CPA exam.
The exam consists of four parts that cover different topics related to the field. Each part is taken separately over the course of a few months with a maximum time limit of four hours per section. Passing this exam is a requirement to become a certified public accountant.
Most accounting students at Taylor University excel at this. Associate Professor of Business and Chair of the Business Department Mary Jo “Jody” Hirschy said that students not only pass; most do so on their first try.
“It is rare for a Taylor student to take these exams multiple times in order to pass them,” Hirschy said.
Two students from Taylor finished in the top 10 CPA exam scores in Indiana in 2021. One of the two students, Hunter Huber, received the highest score in the state.
Taylor University has had a 100% job placement rate for accounting students over the years. Hirschy said that most students land a job before even graduating.
Graduated accounting students who passed the CPA exam have also gone on to work for major companies. This includes “the big four” which consists of KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Additionally, some accounting firms offer a substantial bonus to new hires if they pass the CPA exam in their first year.
The accounting department utilizes several important components in order to achieve high levels of student success.
The department’s curriculum is one of those components. The accounting field is constantly changing; therefore, different areas of the CPA must frequently be updated to match the current needs of the profession. The department is constantly improving the curriculum to match those standards.
One part of the curriculum is an optional six credit CPA review class. Taylor University offers this course to students during the spring semester of their senior year.
Students must also study other business topics that extend beyond traditional accounting. The exam includes other questions related to different business subjects.
The material covered in the review class covers information on the exam that might otherwise be missed in other courses students take. As a part of the course, students also take practice assessments.
Most importantly, however, the class solidifies study skills for students.
Associate Professor of Accounting David Poucher said that having good study skills is critical to passing the CPA.
“It’s really kind of, you know, preparing (and) getting them disciplined,” Poucher said. “You’re preparing them for a marathon.”
Taylor University alumna Kristianna Johnson graduated from Taylor in May with a major in Accounting with Systems. She has already passed the first three sections of the exam and is currently preparing for the final one.
“A lot of the tactics we learned in school for how to study for these are carried over and a lot of the visualizations and charts and everything, from our books and from whatever our professors give us, I'm even using now,” Johnson said.
In addition, a practicum is required to graduate. This provides students with experience before graduating.
“We need to be able to think and apply our discipline and think about it as a speciality within a business,” Poucher said. “So that’s, you know, that’s probably the more challenging thing. (To) have students think more in terms of an integrated, big picture.”
The CPA exam can be intimidating to many students; however, Taylor’s accounting department prepares their students in several different ways for it.
Gabriella Hill is a senior accounting major at Taylor University. She is getting ready to pursue her CPA exam after she graduates as well.
“I remember the very first time he exposed us to what the exam is going to look like,” Hill said. “I wanted to cry, like it looked like so much. But I feel like the more that we go, the more prepared I'll be. And it also helps to think that so many people have already gone before me so many people have already done it. I can do it, too.”