Shepherd University accounting students had the highest pass rate in the state of West Virginia on the 2017 certified public accountant exam administered by the American Institute of CPAs. Shepherd University also had the highest pass rate in 2015 and 2014.
Fifteen students from Shepherd took the exam in 2017 and 64.7 percent passed with an average score of 72.8 percent. This is both the highest passed percentage and highest average score in the state for all testing events; the second highest passed percentage was 52.8 and the second highest average score was 71.8. Of the Shepherd students who took the test for the first time, 62.5 percent passed, which is also the highest rate for first-time test takers in the state.
The exam is given in four sections—auditing, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation. Shepherd students had a 60 percent pass rate in auditing, an 87.5 percent pass rate in business environment and concepts, a 45.5 percent pass rate in financial accounting and reporting, and an 80 percent pass rate in regulation. In comparison, the overall statewide pass rate was 45.5 percent. The exam section pass rates for West Virginia were 51.8 percent in auditing, 48.1 percent in business environment and concepts, 37.7 percent in financial accounting and reporting, and 45 percent in regulation.
Roger Hamood, associate professor of accounting and chair of the Department of Accounting, attributes the success of Shepherd students to several factors.
“First and foremost, we have dedicated faculty who help keep the focus on skills needed for future success,” Hamood said. “In 2011 we significantly changed the accounting major requirements. The degree now requires the student to complete the 42 credit hours in the university core, which are classes all students at Shepherd must take, and 78 credit hours in the major.”
Hamood said the credit hours in the major include courses such as accounting, business administration, economics, business law, computer-based accounting, fund accounting, ethics in accounting, quantitative methods, and a choice of an international class. Proposed changes for the 2019-20 academic year aimed at strengthening the program to respond to needs in the career field and suggestions by alumni include the addition of business communications and business analytics.
“The high pass rates for Shepherd students pursuing their CPA license is a testament to the quality of Shepherd University’s accounting curriculum and faculty,” said Dr. Cindy Vance ’88, associate professor of accounting. “Not only am I proud to be a faculty member at Shepherd, but I am also proud to be an alumna.”