Crunching Numbers

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Susie P. Gonzalez
Nov. 29, 2011

Crunching Numbers

Accounting students at Trinity University score 5th highest in nation on CPA exam

SAN ANTONIO - Nearly 82 percent of Trinity University accounting students taking the CPA exam pass the arduous test on the first try, placing them in the top five programs in the nation. 

According to statistics compiled by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Trinity students in 2010 had an 81.6 percent pass rate for first-time candidates without an advanced degree. Trinity ranked behind Wake Forest University, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Cornell University.

Under Texas guidelines, students must complete 150 hours to be able to sit for the CPA exam, including 30 hours of upper division accounting courses as well as courses that specifically meet research and analysis and accounting communication requirements, said Linda B. Specht, associate professor of business administration and director of Trinity's accounting program.

In their junior year, Trinity accounting students meet extensively with reps of the big 4 and other local, regional, and national accounting firms. They prepare for internship interviews by attending resume workshops, mock interviews, and other preparatory meetings  before securing  off-campus internship that leads to full-time employment upon graduation.

"Our students are highly sought after, with at least one of the Big Four firms making Trinity its only stop in the San Antonio area," Specht said. "We have 100 percent placement of our students who complete the Master of Science in accounting, with the vast majority of those students having accepted their job offers at the end of the senior year internships."

Following their internships, students enroll in a 30-hour graduate program in accounting that leads to a master's degree. During the spring semester of the graduate year, they file the intent to take the CPA exam with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. Because of the timing of their applications, Trinity students, like those from comparable programs, are considered to be first time takers of the exam without an advanced degree.

Specht said recent graduates of Trinity's accounting program have accepted positions in major accounting firms in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta. Trinity accounting alumni have gone on to successful careers, including partnerships in Big Four firms, across the nation.