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Loras College Accounting Graduates Test in Top 15% in Nation

Robert Waterbury

Loras College accounting graduates taking the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam for the first time in 2019 had a pass rate among the top 15 percent of small colleges across the nation.

Loras finished ahead of Iowa schools Central College, Coe College, Drake University, Grandview University, Iowa State University, Luther College, Mount Mercy University, Northwestern College, Simpson College, St. Ambrose University, Univ. of Dubuque, Upper Iowa and Wartburg College.

“Our accounting students continue to excel in their successful passing of the CPA exam on the first attempt, evidencing the quality of our students and the excellent education they receive at Loras College,” Jim Padilla, dean of the Francis J. Noonan School of Business, said. “Our faculty play a tremendous role in preparing our students for success both on the CPA exam and in their future careers.”

Loras accounting graduates are working for leading companies such as Ernst & Young, US Bank, Deloitte, KPMG, A.Y. McDonald Manufacturing Company, Flexsteel Industries, Inc., John Deere, Eide Bailly LLP, Cottingham & Butler, Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C., McGraw-Hill Education, IBM and Transamerica.

Loras alumna Kaitlyn Fogarty (’19) was among those who passed the exam. She cites the accounting faculty’s efforts in playing a critical role in her preparation for the test.

“I have always felt Loras does a great job setting their students up for success when taking the CPA exams. All of the accounting staff are well-versed in what topics to expect on the exam and curate their classes towards them. We are very fortunate to have such knowledgeable professors, some of whom have even written exam questions in the past. Not only do they have an in-depth understanding of accounting topics, but they are also deliberate in how they teach them. The accounting courses are taught in a particular order, leaving some of the most difficult subject matters until one’s senior year to keep that information freshest in one’s head in preparation for the exam. They also fashion tests to mirror the actual exam with similar layouts and old test questions. All of this and more made me feel as ready as one can be to take the CPA exam, and fortunately, I was able to pass them all on the first try,” she said.

Another alumnus, Dylan Lange (’19), echoed Fogarty’s sentiments.

“I think Loras did an excellent job preparing me for the CPA exam both in the content covered in class and in the content that I would need to cover in review sessions,” Lange said. “What I mean by that is the classes at Loras do a good job covering the main content of the exam. However, because the exam is all-encompassing, it would be impossible to cover all parts of it adequately in classes. The instruction I received on campus was vital in preparing me for the CPA exam. Furthermore, gaining a strong understanding of the concepts in classes made it easier to fill in the gaps through self-study and review sessions leading up to the exam.”

The new CPA exam format, launched in 2017, shifted focus from lower-order skills like remembering, understanding, and applying to higher-order skills like analysis and evaluation.

“Accounting firms across the country need to pay more attention to the high-quality students and successful future accountants we are preparing,” Padilla said.

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