Since inception of the accelerated program in California
Since inception of the accelerated program in 2000, California has varied the requirements for CPA licensure. Prior to 2002, licensure was available with a bachelor’s degree in any subject, 24 semester hours (36 quarter units) of accounting, 24 semester hours (36 quarter units) of general business, and an experience requirement. With passage of legislation effective in January of 2002, students could continue to become licensed with an undergraduate degree (in any subject) and 24 semester units each of accounting and general business, as long as they had a minimum of two years of experience. However, students with 150 h of education could be licensed with only one year of experience. The current licensing requirements, effective as of January 2014, mandate an undergraduate degree (in any subject), 30 semester hours of accounting, 38 semester hours of business and business-related courses, 10 semester hours of ethics, a total of 150 semester hours of post-secondary education, and one year of general accounting experience. At the time of sitting for the exam, (as opposed to applying for licensure) candidates must have completed an undergraduate degree in any subject and 24 semester hours each of accounting and business-related coursework.
Additional changes in the environment relate to the content and format of the CPA exam. In 2004, the exam switched to a computerized format, and students became able to pursue each of the four parts separately, affecting pass rates positively. All four parts must be passed within an 18-month interval. The 18-month paroxetine hydrochloride australia begins with passage of any part of the exam. Failure to pass all the remaining parts in the following 18 months requires the candidate to retake any parts passed more than 18 months previously. There is no limit to the number of attempts that can be made on the exam. Briggs and He (2012) report overall pass rates in the 28–35% range pre-2004, contrasted with rates uniformly above 40% post-2004. In this study, we control for changes in the regulatory and testing environments by restricting our analyses to graduates completing their programs in 2004 or later.
Methodology and results To collect data for the study, we surveyed alumni of both the accelerated and traditional programs. We piloted the survey by asking four alumni from each program to complete the survey, record their time to completion, and answer a series of questions about the survey (clarity, length, etc.). We revised the survey based on their feedback. We then identified 1008 traditional-program alumni who majored in Accounting, and 847 alumni who satisfactorily completed one of the accelerated programs between January 2004 and September 2013. We did not include earlier graduates because of extensive changes in the administration of the CPA exam in April 2004. Of the identified students, we obtained ‘permanent,’ nonstudent email addresses from the Registrar’s Office (783 and 793 traditional and accelerated students, respectively). Unfortunately, this list undoubtedly includes an unknown number of addresses which are technically good but not currently monitored by their owners. The initial email was sent out in April 2015, provided a link to a Qualtrics survey, and emphasized that responses would provide valuable information for the school and the profession, no matter what path the graduates’ careers had taken. We asked the alumni to provide information on personal history, status, and CPA exam attempts and results. In some instances we were asking about activities that transpired as many as 12 years ago. To encourage responses, we asked that students make their best assessments if they could not recall specific dates, exams, etc. We followed up with as many as three more emails at three-week intervals to alumni who had not previously responded to our survey. Table 1 Panel A shows the number of total alumni, alumni emailed, and the number of respondents in each of four rounds of emailed participation requests. Our first-round mailing resulted in 88 traditional responses and 136 accelerated responses, not including partial responses. We received an additional 60 (31, 45) second (third, fourth) round traditional alumni responses and an additional 57 (40, 51) second (third, fourth) round accelerated alumni responses. Overall, our response rates are 28.6% for traditional and 35.8% for accelerated alumni. In unreported analyses, we compared responses across the response rounds and found no material differences that would lead us to the identification of specific non-response biases. Panel B of Table 1 presents the number of alumni emailed, responses, and response rates by completion year and program. With the exception of markedly low response rates for graduates of 2008, there is no clear trend in terms of response by year. Panel C of Table 1 presents the gender, mean age, and age range by program and year for our respondents. We observe the mean ages and the age boundaries are typically greater for the accelerated programs than for the traditional program.