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January 27, 2023

Which Big 4 Firm Had the Most 2020 Elijah Watt Sells Winners?

On May 5 the AICPA announced that of the 75,000 brave souls who sat for the CPA exam in 2020, 89 of those managed not only to pass each part on their first try but also scored a cumulative score of at least 95.50 which is necessary to qualify for the esteemed Elijah Watt Sells Award.

Don’t feel like a scrub if you didn’t manage to get on the winner board, just sitting for the exam at all is an achievement. In fact, that’s exactly what AICPA VP of examinations Mike Decker said in their press release. “The CPA Exam is a rigorous assessment and successfully passing is an impressive accomplishment,” he said. Sorry, everyone who didn’t pass, try harder next time if you want a shout-out I guess.

You can find a full list of winners via the AICPA here. Meanwhile, we tallied up the winners to find out which firm boasts the most Watt Sells winners to continue the time-honored tradition of incessant Big 4 dick-measuring contests around here. It seems 2020 ended with a tie for first and a clear last place (you already know who it is):

  • Deloitte – 14
  • EY – 14
  • PwC – 13
  • KPMG – 11

As much as I hate to bring up old shit, I remind you that Deloitte ranked 4th in previous year Watt Sells winners, coming in with a paltry nine versus EY’s 27. Maybe someone gave one hell of a motivational speech to the firm’s CPA exam candidates in 2020 that lit a fire under their collective ass, or maybe their 2020 candidates were more familiar with Deloitte lore and realized that they were making the firm look bad by not winning the award named after their own alum. Who knows, but whatever happened it clearly paid off for them.

For anyone aiming to join the ranks of the CPA exam elite, you’re welcome to familiarize yourself with the completely obvious not-so-secret secret to winning the Elijah Watt Sells award. Spoiler: it involves studying, sorry.

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