AState Alumnus Earns Sells Award for Top CPA Exam Performance

JONESBORO – The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) announced that Arkansas State alumnus Connor Shannon of Jonesboro earned the prestigious 2019 Elijah Watt Sells Award for his outstanding performance on the Uniform Certified Public Accounting (CPA) Examination.

Only 133 candidates out of nearly 75,000 individuals received the award, which required that a candidate obtain a cumulative average score above 95.5 across all four sections of the CPA exam, pass all four sections on their first attempt, and complete testing in 2019.   Shannon’s scores placed him in the top .18 percent of those candidates.

Connor Shannon LR

“I’m very proud to receive this award and I’m thankful for the education I received from Arkansas State,” Shannon said.  “A-State is a place full of great opportunities that helped me grow as a person and a professional. My professors and the MAcc program prepared me for success on the exam and in my career.”

Shannon earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting (MAcc) from the Neil Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State University.  He graduated summa cum laude with a BA in accounting in 2018 and was named the Outstanding MAcc graduate in 2019.

The only 2019 Sells Award winner who graduated from an Arkansas university or college, Shannon is employed with Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck PLC in Memphis.

“The accounting faculty is extremely proud of Connor’s impressive achievement on the CPA exam.   Connor winning the Sells award and the strong performance of MAcc students on the CPA exam provides an external validation of the high quality of A-State’s accounting program,” noted Dr. James Doering, Jones/Schaaf Endowed Chair of the Department of Accounting.

A-State’s MAcc students perform significantly above the national average on the CPA exam.  Over the aggregate 2017-2018 period, A-State students passed at a rate of 81% (based on a weighted average of the number of sections taken) while the national average was 55%.

According to Mike Decker, American Institute of CPAs vice president of examinations, “I’d like to commend the 2019 Sells Award winners for their impressive accomplishment.  The CPA Exam is a rigorous assessment and these candidates should be proud of their exceptional performance.”  The AICPA works with hundreds of volunteers and other stakeholders to maintain its relevance to the profession and alignment with the knowledge and skills required of a newly licensed CPA.

The Elijah Watt Sells Award was established by the AICPA 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA exam.  One of the country’s first CPAs, Sells was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role advancing professional education in the profession. Details are online.

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