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September 24, 2023

CPA Exam Candidates: Save These Dates

Inspired by @profjackc who shared some very important CPA Evolution dates and motivated by our undying sympathy for CPA exam candidates, we’re putting his reminder in picture form to make sure you have these dates. CPA Evolution is bringing big changes with it next year, most notably it’s killing off BEC and replacing it with disciplines. When testing resumes in January, any candidates without a valid passing score for BEC will have to choose one of these disciplines: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP), and Information Systems and Controls (ISC). It is our humble advice to get BEC out of the way while you can and save yourself the trouble.

As of today (July 21, 2023), you have 117 days until NASBA stops processing NTSs for BEC. If you get yours in before that, you have 147 days from today to sit for BEC before it disappears forever and December 15 is the tentative final day of testing for all sections before the new exam debuts in 2024.

Remember these dates:

Note an exception to the above: if you are a candidate in a CPA Examination Services (CPAES) jurisdiction and a FIRST TIME candidate taking BEC you must apply before October 1, 2023 and re-exam candidates in these jurisdictions must apply before November 12, 2023. Boards of Accountancy that do not use CPAES may have slightly different final application deadlines for first-time and re-exam BEC sections, check with yours if needed. More on that from NASBA here.

These are your important 2023 and 2024 CPA exam testing dates directly from NASBA, keep in mind these dates could change:

First, candidates should note that the last day of testing for all current CPA Exam sections (AUD, BEC, FAR and REG) is anticipated to be December 15, 2023. No CPA Exam sections may be scheduled from December 16, 2023, through January 9, 2024, to allow for conversion of IT systems to the 2024 CPA Exam sections. Candidates are encouraged to plan their testing schedules accordingly.

In addition, candidates wishing to take BEC in the latter part of 2023 need to know that the NASBA Gateway system will stop processing Authorizations to Test and Notices to Schedule for BEC on November 15, 2023. This will necessitate that Boards of Accountancy require final application deadlines (first-time and reexam) for BEC sections. These deadlines are yet to be determined and will be published on NASBA’s website once they become available, and shared by each Board of Accountancy.

Conversely, Boards of Accountancy will also need to establish initial application acceptance dates for discipline sections: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP). Authorizations to Test and Notices to Schedule for BAR, ISC and TCP will not be processed by NASBA’s Gateway system until November 22, 2023. These initial acceptance dates are also yet to be determined and will be published on NASBA’s website once they become available, and shared by each Board of Accountancy.

AUD, FAR and REG applications can be continually submitted and processed as the same codes will be used for the core sections that will start in 2024, however the scheduling blackouts do apply.

It is anticipated that testing will commence on January 10, 2024, for all sections. While the core sections (AUD, FAR and REG) will first be available for scheduling through March 26, 2024, in the first quarter of 2024, the discipline sections (BAR, ISC and TCP) will be available through February 6, 2024. Scores are anticipated to only be released once per test section per quarter due to necessary standard-setting analyses and activities.

TLDR:

  • NASBA stops processing Authorizations to Test and Notices to Schedule for BEC: November 15, 2023
  • First day NASBA starts processing Authorizations to Test and Notices to Schedule for BAR, ISC and TCP: November 22, 2023
  • Last day to test for all current CPA exam sections: December 15, 2023
  • Tentative first day of CPA Evolution testing: January 10, 2024

Regarding scores, brace yourselves. First the good news: because the initial score releases of 2024 hearken back to the ancient time before NASBA discovered computers, CBT Administration and Executive Directors Committees of NASBA have recommended that Boards of Accountancy allow an extension of valid passing credit when the clock strikes 12:01 on January 1, 2024 that would extend those credits to June 30, 2025. Meaning regardless of how much time you had left on a passing score, if it’s valid on January 1 then it would be extended to June 30, 2025. This is merely a recommendation, it’s up to each state Board to adopt it. A map on NASBA’s site shows which state Boards have adopted the rule as of February 10, 2023. So, most of them.

And the bad news: they’re doing this because scores will not be released as quickly as some candidates might be used to (cue booing and angry emails to NASBA). As much as candidates might want to believe this is intended to further torture them for shits and gigs (an assumption we can’t say with certainty isn’t true), The Powers That Be have to do some tweaking of new material starting out and it’s unlikely score releases will be this bad forever. All the more reason to knock out what you can before December 15.

Remember all of this can and probably will change so be prepared. There will be hiccups, exacerbated by continued Prometric cost-saving measures (i.e. testing center closures), and it will take some time for the benevolent overlords of the CPA exam to smooth out all the kinks. Be prepared, be patient, and most importantly, be flexible. AND TAKE BEC THIS YEAR IF YOU CAN.

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