Accounting graduate students score highest on exam

For the second year in a row, Master of Accounting graduates at the university have achieved one of the highest pass rates in Texas on the Certified Public Accountant exam.

In the July-August 2009 test window, university MAc graduates passed the uniform accounting exam at a rate of 71.78 percent, said Elaine Cole, public relations manager for the Neeley School of Business. Graduates of the program scored one of the highest pass rates in Texas for the exam last year during the same testing window, she said.

The Texas State Board of Public Accountacy reported Southwestern Adventist University, Rice University and Hardin-Simmons University with the highest statewide CPA pass rate. The first two schools had a 100 percent pass rate but only one candidate each. Hardin-Simmons had a 83.33 percent rate and six candidates. TCU, which ranks just below Hardin-Simmons, had 67 candidates.

Ray Pfeiffer, an accounting professor, said TCU scored the highest of the eight schools it considers competitive for master’s programs in Texas, which does not include Hardin-Simmons.

Pfeiffer credits the quality of students the program attracts and the strength of the MAc program for its success.

“It certainly helps that the education we give them in our master’s program is very strong,” Pfeiffer said. “We have really high-quality courses taught by some of our best faculty members.”

Brian Wallace, a MAc student, said the numbers give students confidence that they will be well prepared.

“This is the test that is dreaded and feared by everyone,” he said.

The MAc program is not solely based on students passing the exam, Pfeiffer said.

“It’s a little too narrow to focus on just what’s on the CPA exam,” he said.

The exam is only part of the greater picture, Wallace said.

“They do a good job for preparing us for passing that CPA exam, which is a major hurdle for us coming out of school,” Wallace said. “Working into an educated individual who has the certification to go ahead and start being a contributor to your employer is perhaps more important.”

Pfeiffer said the recognition caused by the pass rate helps the school attract more applicants.

“People that are applying to MAc programs want to know that the degree they get will get them a good start in their career,” he said. “Any news that our program is doing something that is helping our students become stronger candidates for jobs and then better professionals certainly is helping.”