Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Which Is More Difficult: The CPA Exam Or The Bar Exam?

Accounting Today, Which Is More Difficult: The CPA Exam or the Bar?:

You might not believe this, but some accountants and attorneys compete for who had the tougher journey to pass their credentialing exam. I sat for the Bar Exam a few years ago and passed on my first try after finishing law school at the age of 58. However, my master’s degree is in accounting, so two years after passing the bar, I decided I might as well try to obtain my CPA license by sitting for the CPA Exam as well. Of course, everyone thought I was a bit crazy, and that is something I expected. What I did not expect was the debate surrounding which exam is harder. ...

It had not occurred to me that sitting for both exams would create a competition among my highly educated colleagues as to who had it worse in their path toward licensure. But it did. So, here is my honest assessment of the two exams. ...

[W]hich exam is harder? In my opinion, the actual question people are asking is, “Who is smarter, an attorney or an accountant?” That is why they want me to tell them which exam is harder. As someone who has taken both exams, the answer is both exams are hard. Both exams and professions need perseverance, intelligence and dedication to succeed. Personally, I find the CPA Exam the less stressful exam only because I can take it more often, it is in sections divided to be taken over an extended period of time, and it is a more private endeavor. The content is not easier at all, but the exam process is less arduous. Both CPAs and attorneys truly earn their credentials. Both fields deserve respect for the effort it takes to have their license hang on their walls.

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