CPALE tallies upward trend

By Joshua Corcuera

The results of the May 2023 Certified Public Accountants Licensure Examination were released late in the evening last Tuesday, May 30. According to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), a total of 2,239 examinees passed the test out of a total 7,376 test takers.

Before dissecting the data, I would like to congratulate everyone, especially those who will enter the accounting profession as CPAs very soon. To those who did not pass, your feelings are valid, and it is totally fine to grieve for the meantime. Do not be discouraged because, after all, the mere fact that you took the CPALE is already an achievement as it requires courage, determination, and enormous effort. More importantly, the CPA title can still be attained; success is not denied, it is merely delayed.

According to the results, the national passing rate for the May 2023 CPALE stood at 30.36 percent, an improvement of almost 5 percent compared to the October 2022 CPALE passing rate of 25.84 percent.

Interestingly, and somehow fortunately, the CPALE is now at an upward trend in recent years. As a matter of fact, the most recent passing rate of 30.36 percent is the highest in five years, the highest since May 2018. Meanwhile, the October 2017 CPALE national passing rate stood at 30.45 percent.

The CPALE national passing rate plummeted to a very low 14.32 percent in October 2019 and rose to higher percentages ever since. Due to the pandemic, the next board exam was held two years later in October 2021 with a 15.25 passing rate, while the December 2021 boards stood at 21.87 percent.

Moreover, the May 2022 CPALE recorded a passing rate of 22.29 percent. One year later, an average of 3 out of 10 test takers hurdled the notoriously difficult exam. Still, we can see that a majority of test takers would have to try again in the next CPALE to be held from September 30 to October 2.

Though the upward trend is encouraging, the challenge remains for students, educators, and reviewers. The preparation for the CPALE, arguably, starts not in the review school, but as early as in college. One reason often given why the board exam for CPAs is difficult is its broad scope.

With six subjects, from accounting to auditing, from taxation to certain law subjects, the coverage of the CPALE is too comprehensive. Definitely, it is of the utmost importance to dedicate more time for accountancy students to study these six board exam subjects. Furthermore, changes in laws, as well as taxation, require learners to be frequently updated with their knowledge which is another enormous challenge.

I would like to finish this column on a positive note. Despite the struggles and sacrifices, we may have realized that success is not guaranteed. But remain hopeful and try again. One well-known CPA review shared in its social media accounts the testimonial of one of its reviewees who is now a CPA—a CPA in his fifth take of the CPALE. In spite of failures, he decided not to give up, and that decision was worth it in the end.

This lesson applies not only to those taking the CPALE or an exam, but to people from all walks of life. No matter how burdensome the challenges brought by the world, keep on fighting as hope lives on.