Are you an accounting major looking to excel at what you do? Maybe you’re wondering what you need to get accepted by a CPA firm. Well, it all boils down to whether you have an average GPA, as it will allow you to figure out whether you belong in the competitive pool.
Hence, this article aims to address this particular aspect of accounting majors. What is the average GPA? What should you aim for if you want to become a CPA? We will discuss all the elements in this article, allowing you to explore how to excel and boost your chances of acceptance.
Does GPA Matter for Accounting Majors?
So, does GPA matter for accounting majors? Well, the answer widely depends on what your goals are. Are you looking to get hired by an amazing firm? Maybe your goal is to apply for graduate school after you graduate.
Well, in a gist, GPA matters regardless of the major you are studying for. But when it comes to accounting, typically, a GPA of 2.0 or higher is required to be eligible to graduate. Hence, you are expected to achieve a letter grade of “C” or better and maintain a GPA of 2.0 in all accounting classes.
But what about your GPA when it relates to your employment prospects? It goes without saying that a solid GPA will significantly contribute to having stellar opportunities. Not only is it a reflection of your academic capabilities, but it portrays your ability to overcome challenges.
Let us take banks as an example. Many banks have a GPA cutoff of around 3.5. Hence, anyone with a GPA below this threshold might find securing interviews or positions with their desired companies challenging.
But what about the major accounting firms, particularly the Big 4? Well, the GPA requirements can vary based on the school. For instance, some schools have a lower minimum, around 3.2, while others require a GPA in the range of 3.5 to 3.7. These are influenced by the high volume of candidates these firms receive.
So, does GPA matter in accounting? Well, it is not the sole determinant of success in your field. You also need ample experience and proof of capabilities. However, remember that if you are applying for a competitive firm or school, having a high GPA will definitely boost your chances of getting in.
What is a Good GPA for Accounting Majors?
What is a good GPA for accounting major? Well, the definition of a “good” GPA is often the average or above average GPA. Hence, let us first look at the average GPA for students at four-year colleges in the U.S. According to Grade Inflation, it is approximately 3.15.
But for an accounting major specifically, a GPA above 3.0 is considered to be a good one. However, that will not be enough if you want to compete and get into the Big Four companies. For that, you will need a GPA of at least 3.5 to be able to compete, as those companies receive applicants with the highest GPAs.
So, what is a good accounting GPA? Anything above the average is an excellent score. Hence, always aim to score above the average, which varies from institution to institution. But to be able to compete fairly with others, you must have a high enough GPA.
Average GPAs at Top Accounting Schools
Understanding the average GPAs at the top accounting schools will give you a clearer image of what you should aim for. These can vary from year to year, reflecting the competitive nature of these programs.
Some top accounting schools include the University of Texas, University of Illinois, and Brigham Young University. The list below will display the average GPAs for some of these schools:
- University of Texas at Austin: According to statistics from 2019, the average GPA was 3.23.
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: The average GPA for this school is 3.40, according to data collected from 2019.
- Brigham Young University: As for this institution, the average GPA, according to the report 2015, is 3.44.
- Indiana University of Bloomington: According to data gathered by the Top Schools in the USA, the average for this institution was 3.32.
- University of Michigan: According to statistics for the University of Michigan, the average is 3.40.
- University of Pennsylvania: According to this graph, the average in 2011 was approximately 3.42.
- The Ohio State University: According to the university’s official webpage, the average GPA is approximately 3.33.
So, what’s the average GPA for accounting majors? As you might have realized through the above statistics, the average GPA changes. Not only does it depend on the institution, but it depends on your curriculum, particular major, and courseload. However, it is safe to assume that the average GPA for accounting is between 3.2 to 3.4.
What GPA Do Accounting Majors Need if They Want to Become CPAs?
If you aspire to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), part of your application requires you to focus on your GPA. So, what GPA do you need? This section will dive into the different facets involved in knowing what GPA to aim for when applying to become a CPA.
First of all, it’s vital to understand that no specific GPA guarantees employment at a CPA firm. According to the resource, top CPA companies have turned down graduates with perfect GPAs.
Moreover, a student with a lower GPA but stronger leadership skills might be preferred over someone with a high GPA but weak soft skills. Others believe you will not be accepted into a CPA firm if you score less than a “B” in any accounting course.
But if you were wondering if there is a minimum GPA requirement to take the CPA exam, well, there isn’t. However, they do recommend aiming for a GPA of 3.5 or higher if you want to apply to work with one of The Big 4.
However, you need other requirements to sit for the CPA exam. First, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree with 150 semester hours from a state-accredited college or university.
While the GPA is not explicitly stated as a requirement, the academic rigor needed implies a certain level of academic performance.
What GPA Do You Need to Get Hired by Accounting Firms?
Accounting companies and firms might look at your GPA as one of the many hiring factors. However, we must emphasize that it is rarely the only aspect of your personality and work they look at. Hence, while it is an essential element, it is not the sole deciding factor regarding whether you will get accepted.
According to Indeed, large accounting firms often choose to interview candidates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. However, that does not mean that having a low accounting GPA eliminates you from the pool of candidates. Instead, other factors such as recommendation letters, experience, and internships can boost your chances of getting interviewed.
However, what’s the scenario if you want to apply to one of The Big 4? Well, the rules don’t differ that much here. There isn’t a set minimum GPA requirement. It is recommended that you aim for at least a GPA of 3.0. That will increase your acceptance chances and make you more competitive than other candidates.
Let’s review the Top 4 accounting firms and whether they state any minimum GPA requirement as part of their application process:
- Deloitte: According to Deloitte’s application webpage, the minimum GPA you need is 3.0. However, they prefer a GPA of 3.4.
- Ernest & Young (EY): According to their career page, Ernest & Young accepts individuals with a minimum GPA of 3.20.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC): PwC prefers a cumulative GPA of 3.3 According to their application process.
- Klynveld Peat Marwick Geordeler (KPMG): KPMG prefers their candidates to have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Wrapping Things Up: What’s the Average GPA for Accounting Majors?
In conclusion, achieving the minimum requirement of a 2.0 GPA might be enough for accounting majors who want to graduate. However, those who aim to excel and attain an excellent position with a strong firm must aim for a much higher GPA, typically above 3.0.
If you want to work with The Big 4, your aim should be achieving a GPA of 3.5 or higher. While they consider other factors as part of your application process, having a high GPA will undoubtedly boost your acceptance chances. Hence, it is equally important to create a well-rounded profile to increase your chances of getting into graduate school or accounting firms.