More than a decade after computerization, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination has finally experienced its next wave of evolution. After enduring years of criticism that it was rooted in tradition and not pragmatic progress, the AICPA, on April 1, 2017, rolled out the new exam. The new version strives to conform to current academic standards and seeks to incorporate the more analytical workforce requirements that accountants require. To quote the late rapper 2Pac: “Things will never be the same, that’s just the way it is.” The way it is indeed.
Changes Part of Larger Evolution of Accounting Industry
Prior to the release of the new exam, Michael Decker, AICPA vice present of examinations, stated: “as we look at the suite of changes that we’ve made for April of 2017, we’ve addressed the changing needs of the profession.”
The exam focuses more on skills such as analysis and evaluation than memorization, a dramatic change from prior versions. The theory behind the changes is the exam follows the career requirements of a recent CPA graduate, which are more focused on analyzing data trends, rather than data input. The exam structure strives to be more like its multiple choice sections, adaptive, and capable of imitating the sharp turns in the accounting profession. The AICPA is “already thinking about the new version,” Decker said.
Summation of Changes
The format for the exam remains largely the same, with four parts: Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) and Regulation (REG), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), and Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR). However, BEC and REG have moved to four hour exams instead of three, for a total of 16 hours of testing.
Every exam will have a lower number of multiple choice questions and a higher number of task based simulations, which now encompass 50 percent of a candidate’s exam score (BEC simulations account for 35 percent with the written communications section accounting for the other 15).
Availability of Exam and Testing Breaks
There will be 40 more days of available testing each calendar year and a new 15 minute standardized break during each section of the exam that will not count against the candidate’s total testing time.
All completed sections of the exam prior to April 1, 2017, will carry over as part of the normal 18 month test completion period.
Will the scores from the new CPA exam structure more adequately reflect a candidate’s knowledge base that translates to success in the workforce? Will it help to reduce the historic levels of talent shortage in the accounting industry? Will pass rates remain constant as they have over the course of the exam’s history? Answers to all of those questions will become clearer in time. Ten days in and counting…
By: Todd Cheney, CPA, Accounting Policy and Practice Editor
Continue the discussion at Bloomberg BNA Accounting LinkedIn.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)