This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
News Bureau • Schofield Hall 201Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900
UW-Eau Claire Ranks No. 3 in Nation for
Number of Graduates Passing CPA Exam
MAILED: Oct. 15, 2001

         EAU CLAIRE — With a first-time passage rate of only 15.5 percent, the uniform Certified Public Accountant examination lives up to its reputation as being one of the most difficult professional credential exams in the nation. But University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire accounting alumni are beating the odds.
         Results released by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy list UW-Eau Claire in third place for the pass rate of first-time candidates on the CPA examination in November 2000, the most recent exam for which data is available.
         On that exam, 39.3 percent of UW-Eau Claire’s first-time candidates without advanced degrees passed the complete exam, placing them third among more than 160 colleges and universities represented by the candidates.
         The results of the May 2000 exam also were impressive with 30 percent of UW-Eau Claire’s accounting graduates passing. This compares to a national first-time pass rate of 18.3 percent during the same time period. Because only 10 first-time candidates from UW-Eau Claire took the exam in May, the ranking was not on the list, which only includes institutions having 20 or more first-time candidates taking the exam.
         “We are thrilled with the results and very proud of our faculty and the students coming out of the accounting program,” said Dr. Michael Wilson, chair of the accounting department. “This type of performance is a reflection of our students’ determination and hard work and our faculty’s dedication to providing the best education possible.”
         The CPA exam has four categories: accounting and reporting, auditing, financial accounting and reporting, and business law and professional responsibilities. The examination, which now requires first-time takers to have a minimum of 150 degree credits, occurs in May and November of each year. Students are required to pass all four components of the exam.
         Shannon Raether, a May 2000 accounting graduate from Schofield, is one step closer to officially adding CPA behind her name after passing the exam in November 2000. “It was difficult, but doable,” Raether said of the grueling 16-hour exam.
         Raether, who typically studied three hours a day during the four months prior to the exam, said most of the material had been covered during her five years at UW-Eau Claire. She also attended a CPA review course in the Twin Cities, which is taught by a number of instructors including UW-Eau Claire associate professors of accounting and finance Dr. Dennis Knutson and Dr. Lucretia Mattson.
         She attributes her success on the exam to the comprehensive instruction she received at UW-Eau Claire, coupled with good faculty. “The professors challenged us to think, and all of the topics taught in the classes were relevant and helped prepare me for the exam.”
         Raether has been working as an auditor in Minneapolis at the Big Five public accounting firm of KPMG since September 2000. After two years of on-the-job accounting experience, she will receive her CPA license.
         UW-Eau Claire has consistently ranked above the national average, Wilson said, but he added, this is the first time UW-Eau Claire has made the top-ten list since 1983, when UW-Eau Claire students placed second in the nation.
         In the November 2000 listing, UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse also were ranked in the top ten of all institutions with first-time candidates without advanced degrees, 4th and 10th respectively. Wilson said the inclusion of three UW System schools in the top ten reflects well on the UW System and the region. “UW-Eau Claire has always ranked well above the national average, and when you look at the list of top performers it suggests a good ol’ Midwestern work ethic,” Wilson said, noting that six of the top ten schools on the list are from this region.
         Achieving the number three spot speaks to the quality of the students, the dedication of the faculty toward their teaching, and the support of the program by the administration, Wilson said. “We are obviously providing a strong overall program for which our faculty should be congratulated, but above all our students deserve high praise for their performance on this exam and their success in the accounting profession.”

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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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(715) 836-4741

Updated: Oct. 15, 2001