American Univesity of Beirut

AUB senior accountant and alumna wins international CPA outstanding performance award

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Safa Jafari Safa​​, ​Office of Communications, communications​​​​​

AUB Senior Accountant Sara Bou Hamdan was one of 135 winners of the 2019 Elijah W​att Sells Award for outstanding performance in the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination, out of nearly 75,000 individuals worldwide who sat for the exam in 2019. Bou Hamdan is the only winner of the award from the Middle East to be recognized for meeting the 2019 award criteria: attaining a cumulative average score above 95.5 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, passing all four sections on the first attempt, and completing the exam in 2019.

Sara Bou Hamdan graduated from AUB, ranking among the top three of the Olayan School of Business (OSB) graduating class of 2016.  With high distinction, she received her bachelor of business administration in finance, with a minor in public health. She is also the recipient of the Beta Gamma Sigma​ (BGS) award, making her a member of an international business honor society for top performing students. After almost three years of working as associate auditor at Ernst & Young (EY), she returned in 2019 to her alma mater to become senior accountant in the grants section of the Comptroller's Office at AUB.

During the summer of 2019, at the young age of 23, Bou Hamdan completed the fourth and last CPA exam with a cumulative average of 96, receiving the Elijah Watt Sells award as one of the top performing candidates of the Uniform CPA Examination.

Named in honor of one of the first CPAs in the US who was active in the advancement of professional education in the profession, the Elijah Watt Sells Award recognizes outstanding performance on the CPA Exam. The award was established in 1923 by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the world's largest member association representing the accounting profession and serving since 1887 in 130 countries and territories. AICPA owns and scores the CPA exam and supports candidates with information and tools, including exam blueprints, sample tests, tutorials, and a recent exam booklet.

“While studying for the exams, I would always wonder why I was working that hard and sacrificing time away from my family and social life, as the CPA requires a lot of self-commitment," said Bou Hamdan after a year and a half of hard work on the notoriously challenging four-part Uniform CPA Examination. “The persistence to reach the end goal of success kept me going forward."

Moving forward, Bou Hamdan plans to pursue a master's degree in business analytics at AUB next year to develop the skills required amid what she dubbed a continuously changing business world. “I am proud of receiving the Elijah Watt Sells award and representing Lebanon and the Middle East in this achievement," she added. “I really believe now that hard work always pays off. No matter how tough the path seems, just focus on the target and enjoy the results."​

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