ABSTRACT

While many colleges and universities publicize CPA examination pass rates as evidence of having a high-quality accounting program, some have questioned whether program-specific characteristics are legitimate predictors of examination success. To examine this issue, we empirically investigate the link between accounting faculty characteristics and performance on the CPA examination. We examine the results from nearly 700,000 first-time exam sittings taken during the period 2005–2013 and find that faculty research and teaching specialization has a significant impact on CPA exam performance. That is, when a program has a relatively higher percentage of accounting faculty with expertise in a particular content area tested on the exam (e.g., auditing), graduates achieve higher scores on the related exam section (e.g., AUD). We also find that faculty research productivity and CPA certification status are positively related to candidate exam performance. We believe these results contribute to the existing literature on the determinants of CPA exam success and also provide important insights to those responsible for accounting faculty staffing and development.

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