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The Elijah Watt Sells Award Program

Honoring the life and legacy of one of the country’s first CPAs

After years of coursework, the time has finally come to schedule all four sections of the CPA Exam. You study diligently for months, staying up late and waking up early. You complete each section, one at a time, and anxiously await the scores. The BEC score comes in first – a 93! Later, the AUD and FAR scores arrive … you got a 99 on both! Is this real? You’re still waiting on REG to determine if you passed. It comes in - wow, another 99! These were Leslie Rezgui’s actual scores, which earned her one of the profession’s most prestigious awards – the Elijah Watt Sells Award. Thousands of candidates will take the CPA Exam each year, yet only a few will achieve the Elijah Watt Sells Award. In order to achieve the award, candidates must meet the following criteria: 

  • Have obtained a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the CPA Exam 
  • Passed all four parts of the Exam on their first attempt

Our Elijah Watt Sells Award program was created in 1923 to honor the legacy of Elijah Watt Sells, one of the country's first CPAs. 

From assistant station agent to founding partner. 

Following his time at Baker University, Elijah worked at a railroad station as an assistant station agent, where he was a valued worker but fell short in his accounting skills. After being reprimanded for reporting inaccuracies, Elijah dedicated himself to perfecting his craft. His commitment to learning and professional development launched his career as a CPA. In fact, he helped with the establishment of the AICPA and was a founding partner of Haskins & Sells, now widely known as Deloitte. 

You can do it, too. 

The success of Elijah Watt Sells was not a stroke of luck or playing politics. He earned every advance in his career through his commitment to continuing education, and you can, too.

Need study tips? A few Elijah Watt Sells Award winners have written entries in our Exam Diaries to give you an exclusive look into exactly how they prepared for the CPA Exam and how adding the credential to their names has opened doors for them. Read their Exam success stories: 

Learn more about the exam and access free materials like the CPA Exam Blueprints and sample tests.  

You can find past Elijah Watt Sells Award winners here


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