The Elijah Watt Sells award is an award given to anyone passing the CPA exam with a cumulative average score exceeding 95.5 for all four sections of the exam. In addition, the individual must have passed all four parts of the exam on the first attempt. The winners of the award are announced annually by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which created the award in 1923.
The award is considered by some to be the most prestigious in the accounting field. Audit firms encourage their employees to strive for the score needed to achieve this award, and sometimes offer large bonuses as an inducement.
The award is named for Elijah Watt Sells, who was a founding partner of Haskins & Sells, which (due to mergers) is now Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, one of the "Big Four" audit firms.