Insights from the 2014 CPA Passing Rate Data

MGR Accounting Recruiters in
on Jul 3, 2015. Posted inBlogging In Balance

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NASBA chart 2014 larger

NASBA recently released the graph above showing the number of candidates taking the CPA exam in 2014 and their passing rates, all separated by age groups.  Even though the chart shows what many feel are obvious points, I think it doesn’t hurt to revisit some of these truths occasionally…

  • Take it early.  It is difficult to continue studying after you have graduated and were hoping to take a break from studying for a while.  Plus, you now also have the responsibilities of your new job.  But as the graph shows, the older you get (implication… further from your college years), the more difficult it becomes statistically-speaking to pass the exam.  The earlier you start studying the more likely you are to become certified, and with less overall effort.
  • Otherwise, you may regret it later.  Another truth that can be deduced from the graph is that although the CPA certification may not seem overly important to you early in your career, you may feel differently as you get older.  As the graph implies, when you get older you may find that it becomes more difficult to progress without a certification.  And although more people start to focus on the exam again in their 30’s, the passing rate doesn’t go up even though they are more focused.  It gets difficult to pass the longer it has been since college.  Even though it may not appear as important for the first few years in your career, it is likely that your perception of the importance will change as you get further along in your pursuit to move up within your organization.

In summary, take the exam early no matter how difficult it may be to continue your study habits after graduation.  It won’t become any easier later on, and you are likely to never regret the extra effort it took once you become a CPA.

I wish you the best in your pursuit of certification, and in your career overall.

Mark Goldman CPA