Accounting Administrators' Cost/Benefit Assessment of Their 150 Hour Program: A National Survey

Document Type



The 150-hour education requirements established by the American Institute of Certified Public Acccountants (AICPA) as the minimum qualification to take the CPA examination has been blamed as a reason for the steady decline in student enrollment in Accounting Programs nation-wide. The 150-hour requirement, in a very general way, is believed to impose additional costs on students, accounting educational institutions, and public accounting firms and their clients. In her research, Ms. Magann and Professor Lee surveyed accounting program administrators using a questionnaire containing six questions compiled to assess the costs and benefits of the 150-hour program. Whether administrators were influenced by the sheer number of other schools adopting, or likely to adopt, a 150-hour program is also examined. Responses to the project were overwhelming from hundreds of universities nationwide. There is a statistically significant, positive correlation between pre-adoption assessments and post-adoption assessments overall.

Information about the Student Author

Class of 2002, Major: Public Accounting

Summary of Research Experience

The problem investigated was the change made by universities to incorporate and adopt the 150 credit hour program as their mandatory accounting curriculum. The method used to investigate the bandwagon effect of this change was to utilize a custom made survey/questionnaire that was distributed to approximately 3,000 accounting program heads nationwide. Our survey received an overwhelming response with approximately 48% of the surveys returned in time for the empirical analysis. The results of the investigation demonstrated that several accounting program chairs viewed the change to have a negative effect on the number of students enrolling in their program of study. Before making the change, it was perceived to be extremely beneficial to adopt the 150-hour rule, however, the costs outweighed the benefits in the majority of the universities surveyed. The highlight of this research project was having the opportunity to work on a one-to-one basis with Dr. John Lee. Dr. Lee is a well-regarded professor with an outstanding wealth of knowledge. His desire to teach students to be "the best" cost accountants by passing on his learned knowledge makes him a great colleague to work with on a collaborative basis. He taught me the importance of acquiring additional knowledge to aid my future endeavors and how to engage in professional-level research. I learned that it is vital to challenge presumptions made by people when incorporating new rules into their existing objectives and strategies. From this survey, I have concluded that today's universities should concentrate more on placing greater emphasis on incorporating the best quality education rather than on requiring larger quantities of education. Our findings were presented at the 2002 Annual Regional Meeting of the American Accounting Association at The Ohio State University on May 2 - 4, 2002. We hope to see our research paper published in a professional journal. In the future, I hope to return to Pace University to earn my Masters of Science in Taxation or Accounting or go to Law School to study Business Law. I completed the Audit & Law portion of the uniform CPA Exam in May and will take the final two parts of the exam this November. I would also like to become a Cerified Fraud Auditor. I am beginning my Accounting career this October as a first year Staff Accountant in the Audit Practice at Deloitte & Touche, LLP. I thank the Eugene M. Lang Foundation for its generous support and for providing Dr. Lee and myself with this wonderful opportunity.

Faculty Mentor

John Y. Lee, Ph.D., Shaeberle Professor of Accounting

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