By Joshua Corcuera
The results of the October 2022 Certified Public Accountant Licensure Examination (CPALE) were released last night, October 27. The board exam for CPAs is notorious for its difficulty as evidenced by its low passing rate.
According to the results, the passing rate of the recently concluded exams is 25.84% which means, on average, only 1 out of 4 test takers would pass the test. In total, 6,665 accountancy graduates took the exam while 1,722 passed.
Despite the low passing rate, this appears to be better compared to previous years. Last October 2021, the provincial passing rate was merely 15.25% while the December 2021 NCR passing rate was 21.87%. If my mind serves me right, the reason graduates from NCR would take the 2021 CPALE in December, instead of October, is because of health concerns brought by COVID-19. Meanwhile, before the pandemic, the October 2019 CPALE passing rate is 14.32%.
With this in mind, it is reasonable to think that the CPALE is one of the most difficult, if not the hardest, board exams in the country. After all, the passing rate of the Bar Exam—the licensure exam for lawyers which is also notoriously difficult—is even higher compared to the passing rate of the CPALE in recent years.
As to the performance of schools, there seems to be no list on the top performing schools. This may have something to do with the number of examinees per school. For a school to be considered a top performing school, the said educational institution must have a passing rate of at least 80% and at least 50 examinees. Based on the results, there are schools that exceeded the 80% passing rate but only had less than 50 examinees. There are some schools with over 50 examinees, but their passing rate failed to reach 80%.
From the list of the performance of schools, however, we can see which schools performed significantly above average. As usual, the University of the Philippines – Diliman recorded a high passing rate of 88.24% (30 out of 34 passed). Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines – Iloilo had a passing rate of 80% (16 out of 20 passed). The University of Santo Tomas had a passing rate of 63.9% but had a huge number of examinees (269 out of 421 passed). There are schools which received a 100% passing rate but those schools only had 1 or 2 or 3 students who took the board exam.
The accountancy profession plays a crucial role in society. They offer services ranging from taxation to auditing, from bookkeeping to advisory. In the government, the Commission on Audit (COA) is an independent constitutional commission tasked with examining, auditing, and settling accounts and expenditures of the funds and properties of the government. Thus, the COA issues audit reports on government offices and may raise a red flag where discrepancies are found. In the private sector, accounting firms audit companies to enhance the confidence of users of financial information such as investors, and also perform tax and advisory services.
Regardless of the results yesterday, however, everyone who took the CPALE deserves to be congratulated for their courage. To those who passed, may they serve the people with integrity, and to those who did not make it, the fight continues.