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Times They Are a-Changin’, at Least for the CPA Exam

cpa exam.jpgHaving come down from a two-day smackdown of Live CPA Review classes this weekend, I’ve got CPA Review on the brain. It’s sort of like spending the weekend doing rails off toilet seats with strippers (not like I’d know) except I can’t see what sort of nutjob would wake up at 5 am for coked-out whores like I did for BEC on Saturday. Whatever, I do it for the kids.
Anyway, I thought it important to point out here that major changes to the CPA exam are coming down the pipe – so now is the time to get off your lazy ass and get this thing over with already. Seriously.
Continued, after the jump

My dear editor here at Going Concern already covered this briefly and frankly I share his concern that perhaps you kids will still be struggling with variance analysis by the time the AICPA Board of Examiners’ changes actually hit the exam.
Don’t worry, I speak AICPA BoE so let’s decode this, shall we?
First of all, the adoption of IFRS in the United States is still up in the air. The AICPA BoE wants you to know that they aren’t playing around when it comes to International Financial Reporting Standards.
They are already pre-testing IFRS questions on the exam (allegedly, or so my gut says) so don’t get shocked if you get an XBRL question in BEC. Unless you didn’t study, you already know 15% of CPA exam questions are pre-tested. This shows the AICPA isn’t shooting rubber bullets, they’re serious about this IFRS stuff.
While IFRS will eventually revolutionize the FAR exam, for the first few testing windows it isn’t likely that you’ll see much more than comparison questions (e.g.: “under GAAP, an asset is recognized thusly… in IFRS, it is recognized…”).
So it isn’t like you’re going to take FAR in the last testing window of 2009, fail, and then suddenly have to be an IFRS expert come the January window. In fact, the AICPA BoE has a pretty sad track record as far as these things go (if they weren’t painfully predictable, I might be out of a job) so don’t feel let down if you end up taking FAR in the last window of 2010 and only get a handful of tame IFRS MCQ.
As for this whole business about communications in BEC? Be grateful. This will likely cut a half hour off of Audit (as of now the longest exam) and tack it on to BEC. As always, communications are the easiest component of the exam since you don’t actually have to know what the hell you’re talking about, you just have to stay on topic and write correctly.
CBT-e means communications will disappear from AUD, REG, and FAR because apparently writing skills aren’t important to a CPA and 2 of the 3 writing portions will count towards your BEC score.
So stop panicking but take this as a huge hint that you should hurry up and knock this thing out once and for all. The computerized CPA exam is still relatively new and the AICPA is still working out the kinks. This may be the largest change to date but it’s certainly not the last.