September 23, 2020

Looks Like There Will Be a Very Different CPA Exam by 2024

The Journal of Accountancy reported this week that the NASBA Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the proposed CPA Evolution, which would mean a slightly different exam with a stronger focus on technical skills, though core content is expected to remain the same. The AICPA Governing Council endorsed the model in May.

We first heard about the model in late 2019. Here’s a brief bit we wrote about it back then in case you missed it:

The Journal of Accountancy reported last week that under the proposed licensure model, candidates would pick one of three areas in which to show advanced skills in addition to being tested on competency in the familiar core areas of general accounting, auditing, and tax.

The three “bonus” areas to choose from are as follows:

  • Tax compliance and planning.
  • Business reporting and analysis.
  • Information systems and controls.

Sounds kind of interesting as a concept, will be interesting to see how they implement this. The direction they’re going with this is pretty much what we have now (e.g., everyone gets tested in audit concepts even if they don’t plan on being an auditor), just with an added “specialization.”

Writes the JofA:

The new model is designed to:

  • Be responsive to feedback by requiring all candidates to demonstrate strong core competencies.
  • Enhance public protection by producing candidates who have the deep knowledge necessary to perform high-quality work.
  • Be adaptive and flexible, helping to future-proof the CPA as the profession evolves; and
  • Result in one CPA license.

Additionally, the JofA reports that candidates in the CPA exam process at the time of implementation “will be able to sit for the current CPA Exam until the new exam launches,” and a plan for those candidates who have started but not finished the exam by the first part of 2024 is in the works.

The good news is the 16 hours it takes to sit for the exam is not expected to change, nor should you expect the additional “core discipline” testing to be its own separate section from the existing four CPA exam sections.

For more information about CPA Evolution and the proposed changes to the exam of the not-so-distant future, visit the CPA Evolution website. You’ve got time to get through it before any of this matters.

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