National CPA Exam Award for Second Straight Year

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Master of Accountancy Alumna Honored with Prestigious Elijah Watt Sells Award

The Belk College of Business and UNC Charlotte Turner School of Accountancy are proud to congratulate Master of Accountancy (MACC) alumna Clare Creighton on receiving the prestigious Elijah Watt Sells Award. This is the second year in a row that alumni from the Belk College MACC program have earned the national CPA exam award, further cementing the sustained excellence of the program alongside its top-caliber students and faculty. With three Elijah Watt Sells Awards in two years, (Clare Creighton in 2018 and Katie Warlick and Wesley Sweigart in 2017), the Belk College of Business MACC is squarely positioned in the very top echelon of graduate accounting programs in the United States. This latest accomplishment is just another example of how the Belk College MACC is increasingly recognized among its peer programs across the nation.   

“Clare's honor as a recipient of the Elijah Watt Sells award is a testament to her dedication throughout the Master of Accountancy program," notes Dr. Jack Cathey, MACC Program Director and Associate Professor of Accounting. "She has exemplified her academic strength by testing in the top .15% of individuals who sat for the examination in 2018.  The faculty in the Turner School of Accountancy are dedicated to their classes and the MACC students work very hard, resulting in the top employable talent upon their graduation."

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) reported that nearly 86,000 individuals sat for the CPA Examination in 2018. Of that number, 110 candidates, including Creighton, met the difficult criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award. Creighton earned her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from Rice University before enrolling in the Belk College MACC, further demonstrating that the MACC program is uniquely able to support students with a variety of academic backgrounds. In fact, many graduate students in the Belk College MACC come from a variety of backgrounds, pivot into accounting and continue on to significant success in the accounting profession.

The Belk College MACC is ranked in the top 25% of graduate accounting programs by The Financial Engineer. The program consistently positions its students to pass the CPA exam the first time at a very high level.  With a 90-95% CPA pass rate, Belk College MACC students score well above the national average of 52%. Additionally, within six months of graduation, MACC alumni report a 93% employment rate. These continued achievements create an incredible track record for the Belk College MACC. For more information, please visit