Gender and Other Determinants of CPA Exam Success: A Survival Analysis

Brad S. Trinkle, James Scheiner, Amelia Annette Baldwin, George Krull

Abstract


The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of individual, institutional, and jurisdictional factors on the probability of passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. This is an important subject because the CPA designation is the most valuable credential for advancing an accounting professional’s career. Therefore, an understanding of factors that influence CPA exam success is essential.

Using survival analysis and a large sample from NASBA of CPA exam candidate sittings from 2005-2013, the current study shows that the candidates were more likely to succeed on the CPA exam if they were male, younger, received a degree from a college or university with an AACSB accredited business school and separately AACSB accredited accounting program, and received a degree from a private college or university. Also, the more times that candidates sat for a section of the exam the less likely they were to pass the given section and the exam as a whole. Interestingly, candidates who sat for the exam in jurisdictions that have the 150 hour to sit requirement were no more likely to pass any part of the exam than candidates sitting in jurisdictions without the 150 hour to sit requirement.

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