To get the suggestions for US CPA 2024 exam changes a feedback survey was released by AICPA on the preliminary content proposed for the redesigned CPA Exam, which will be assessed in three sections that will comprise a material that would assess candidates’ knowledge in one of three Disciplines they choose under the new CPA Evolution licensure model, plus the Core of the Exam.
Three sections that comprise the Core of the Exam will test skills and knowledge in accounting, auditing, and tax, with a recognition of the impact technology, has on these areas. The Core Exam section focuses on the skills and knowledge required of all newly licensed CPAs. Each candidate will be required to choose one of the following three Disciplines:
- Information Systems and Controls (ISC).
- Tax Compliance & Planning (TCP).
- Business Analysis & Reporting (BAR).
The Core-plus-Disciplines licensure model was developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) to reflect changes in the technology and profession, focusing newly licensed CPAs on the most relevant and useful knowledge and skills. The expected debut of the new Exam is in 2024.
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The model is designed to ensure that newly licensed CPAs will possess broad-based knowledge. The new model will establish a foundation for the most relevant and important topics that all newly licensed CPAs need to know to protect the public interest.
Exponential growth in new concepts, rules, and standards, along with changes in the roles and responsibilities of newly licensed CPAs, have caused the body of knowledge required of new CPAs to grow.
“The Core-and-Discipline model allows candidates to focus on areas that are of either special interest to them or their employer,” said Mike Decker, the AICPA’s vice president–Examinations & Pipeline. “It also gives us flexibility for the future as the profession evolves. We’ll always have a Core, and the Disciplines could potentially shift, in the future, as the profession shifts. Therefore, the new model could provide greater flexibility.”
The draft content emerged during the first phase of the practice analysis in which the AICPA, NASBA, and various volunteer committees examined the content currently tested on the Exam. They carefully considered what should be tested in the future in the Core and the Disciplines.
The Core needs to be restructured because there will be three sections in the Core, and the Exam currently has four sections.
The team took the existing material and refocused it on knowledge determined to be essential to the Core. The material in the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section was reallocated, with some of it staying in the Core and the rest moved to either the BAR or the ISC discipline.
The Core would test understanding of business processes, including technology, and internal controls that CPAs would need to rely on in an audit engagement. The ISC section would go further, assessing skills and knowledge required to advise a client on test technology or business processes rather than just relying on it.
Knowledge and skills for CPAs who would perform a SOC engagement would be tested in the ISC Discipline.
For assisting the academic community, the NASBA and AICPA June launched the blueprint for an accounting program that is designed to help educators prepare graduates.
The curriculum describes the subject matter that colleges and universities can offer to align their accounting programs with the CPA Evolution licensure model. Of course, the higher education programs offer vastly more learning than is covered on the CPA Exam, but the curriculum is designed to facilitate exposing students who are interested in pursuing their CPA license to the appropriate knowledge and skills.
July 2022 is the target date to release a draft blueprint for exposure and comments. A final blueprint is scheduled to be published at the beginning of 2023, with the Exam launch date targeted for January 2024.
The result will be a remodeled Exam that will assess the required core knowledge of newly licensed CPAs as well as content in their own, more focused area of interest, all aligned with the objective of protecting the public interest.
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