The Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is known in the business realm as one of the most difficult professional certification exams. Comprised of four separate sections, the exam takes a cumulative 14 hours to complete. Each section has roughly a 50 percent pass rate and only about 20 percent of candidates pass all four sections on the first attempt.
Candice Vermeulen, BA ’13 M.S. ’15, however, not only beat those odds, she also managed to receive the second highest score on the CPA exam in Texas – in incredible accomplishment in a field of several thousand candidates.
Growing up, Vermeulen developed an interest in accounting early on as her father was a partner at Deloitte, the world’s largest global professional services network. At UD, her professors, including Associate Professor of Accounting Robert Walsh, Ph.D., had a big impact on her decision to continue to pursue accounting.
“Professor Walsh was my first accounting professor during my undergrad who really showed me that accounting is something I can pursue,” said Vermeulen. “Each one of my accounting professors, including Dr. Rhame and professor Oliveti, got me excited about accounting, auditing and the possibilities you have if you do well in this career.”
Vermeulen currently works as an Audit Senior at Ernst & Young, putting the skills from the CPA exam to practice each day.
“I really enjoy all aspects of being a public accountant and how it challenges you,” said Vermeulen. “You are not only required to learn new things all the time with new clients or new transactions your client enters into, but you also learn how to manage a team, communicate with your peers and develop presentation skills.”
Vermeulen’s advice to aspiring CPAs is to prepare for the exam by doing what works for you.
“I found it was better for me to read the material than to listen to the lectures,” said Vermeulen. “If you had good study habits in your undergraduate or master’s program apply those to studying for the CPA.”
“The University of Dallas prepared me with a great foundation of knowledge through my accounting courses while learning real-world applications, thinking critically and understanding the material rather than just memorizing the material.”
Materials by the University of Dallas. Original article “Alumna’s CPA Score is Tops in Texas” appeared April 17, 2018. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.