Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Joseph Ugrin, Honors Thesis Advisor, Accounting


To adapt to the changing business environment, the accounting profession has proposed and ratified a significant change in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and licensing structure. The change is expected to be implemented in January 2024. The new exam will consist of two parts, a ‘core’ exam focusing on foundational elements of accounting, auditing, tax, and technology, and ‘expert’ exams in three sub-discipline areas: tax, technology, and assurance. Candidates are allowed to take one of the expert exams. Upon passing the core and one of the expert exams, a candidate is eligible to become a CPA, and eligible to practice in any of the three focus areas. This study tests if the new exam and licensing structure potentially increases CPAs professional liability when the CPA makes an error performing a service in a sub-discipline that they have not been tested on. An experiment tests and finds that when a CPA makes a large error performing a service in a sub-discipline the CPA has not passed the expert exam, potential jurors assign more blame. The results show there will be unintended consequences of the new exam format on the accounting profession.

Year of Submission



Department of Accounting

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (30 pages)



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