AICPA Honors GU Accounting Alumnus Chase Ronderos

Chase Ronderos

May 07, 2020
Gonzaga News Service
SPOKANE, Wash. — Chase Ronderos, who earned a Master’s of Science in Taxation (MSTax) degree from Gonzaga University in 2019 and a bachelor’s in accounting in 2018, is among 137 winners of the prestigious 2019 Elijah Watt Sells Award from the American Institute of CPAs honoring the nation’s top performers on the Uniform CPA Examination.

To qualify for the award, CPA candidates must obtain a cumulative average score above 95.5% across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, pass all four sections on their first attempt, and have completed testing in 2019. One of nearly 75,000 individuals who sat for the CPA Exam in 2019, Ronderos said the award honors both him and Gonzaga’s faculty.

“Receiving this award represents the culmination of not only my efforts but also those of the faculty at Gonzaga who have helped me over the years,” said Ronderos, who is employed with BDO USA, in San Jose, California. “My professors in the MSTax program always emphasized the importance of learning how to research rather than attempting to memorize the material word-for-word. This was more important than ever on the CPA exam where the sheer breadth of the material made rote memorization nigh impossible, particularly in regard to the task-based simulations. I’m happy to say that the skills my professors taught me in the classroom have applied not only to the CPA exam but also to my work in public accounting.”

Gary Weber, Ph.D., director of Gonzaga’s Graduate Accounting Programs, congratulated Ronderos for the achievement.

“We are pleased to see Chase win the Elijah Watt Sells Award and share in his excitement about this remarkable accomplishment. He was an exceptional student in our program who really distinguished himself through his hard work, attention to detail, and outstanding attitude. Chase is an excellent representative of Gonzaga’s program, and we can see in graduates like Chase just how well a Gonzaga accounting education prepares students for success in their careers.”

Mike Decker, AICPA vice president of examinations, commended Ronderos and all the 2019 Elijah Sells Award winners. “The CPA Exam is a rigorous assessment and these candidates should be proud of their exceptional performance.”

The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AICPA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Exam. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the United States, was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role in advancing professional education within the profession. The AICPA, which owns and scores the CPA Exam, 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.

Gonzaga University ranks 7th best in the nation among large programs for its first-time pass rate on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, according to results recently released by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Gonzaga also remains No. 1 among schools in the Pacific Northwest and on the West Coast.

With a pass rate of 83.2% across all sections of the exam, Gonzaga remains far above the national average for the first-time CPA pass rate of 57.5%, according to statistics published by the NASBA.

For more information, please contact Haley Topliff at the Gonzaga University Graduate School of Business, at (509) 313-7047 or via e-mail.