Montana State University

MSU accounting faculty receive grant to study factors affecting CPA pass rates

April 1, 2016 -- From MSU News Service

Mary Burns, accounting professor in the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, recently received along with her colleague Nathan Jeppson a $6,500 grant for a research project related to pass rates for individuals taking the certified public accountant exam. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.Nathan Jeppson, accounting professor in the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, recently received along with his colleague Mary Burns a $6,500 grant for a research project related to pass rates for individuals taking the certified public accountant exam. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

Mary Burns, accounting professor in the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, recently received along with her colleague Nathan Jeppson a $6,500 grant for a research project related to pass rates for individuals taking the certified public accountant exam. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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BOZEMAN — Nathan Jeppson and Mary Burns, accounting faculty from the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, recently received a $6,500 grant for their research related to pass rates for individuals taking the certified public accountant exam.

Jeppson and Burns received the accounting education research grant from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, or NASBA. The two professors will use the funds to study how student characteristics, accounting program quality and delays in taking the exam affect CPA pass rates. Their project is called: “Are Being Selective and Being Attuned to Top Quality Students All That Matter? The Impact on CPA Exam Performance by Student Characteristics, Accounting Program Quality, and Delays in Test Taking.”

Jeppson and Burns explained that in 2004, the CPA exam was switched from a paper-and-pencil format to a computer-based testing format. The new format allows the exam to be available throughout the year, instead of just two times per year, as was the case previously. The two will examine pass rates from 2004 to the present. Additional test modifications are anticipated in 2017.

Jeppson noted that the research builds upon additional research MSU business faculty are conducting related to the Major Field Achievement Test in Business – a standardized test that compares senior business students’ scores to those of others across the nation – as well as a 150 semester hour educational requirement that must be met in order to be licensed as a new CPA in many states and jurisdictions including Montana, and other factors that may affect CPA exam performance.

“We are pleased that this grant through NASBA recognizes the quality research and collaborative efforts of the business faculty at MSU,” Jeppson said.

Burns said that results from the study should provide useful information for educators, students and potential employers alike.

In addition to the grant itself, Jeppson and Burns will also be reimbursed for project-related travel expenses. They will have one year to complete their research and may be asked to present their findings to NASBA’s Board of Directors or at its national meeting.

NASBA awards a maximum of three grants per year that advance research on educational issues impacting certified public accountants, the public accounting profession and state boards’ charge to protect the public.

The MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship offers four undergraduate options of study - accountingfinancemanagement and marketing - as well as five minors - accounting, business administration, entrepreneurship and small business management, finance, and international business. It also offers a master of professional accountancy degree and a business certificate.

Contact: Audrey Capp, (406) 994-7026 or audrey.capp@montana.edu