In June 2019, the AICPA and NASBA announced an initiative to update the CPA Exam to match the growing demands placed on newly-licensed CPAs. On July 27, 2020, the NASBA Board of Directors voted unanimously to advance the CPA Evolution initiative. The AICPA’s Governing Council already voted overwhelmingly in favor of the initiative in May 2020. The two organizations will now work to implement the “core plus discipline” licensure model.
Current CPA Exam candidates should not be affected. The exam is not expected to change until January 2024 at the earliest. However, those just getting started and new accounting students should pay attention to education requirements, which may change as early as Fall of 2020 if the Uniform Accountacy Act (UAA) is soon adopted by State Boards of Accountancy.
To avoid having to account for these changes, Gleim recommends that candidates finish their CPA studies as soon as possible.
The CPA Evolution initiative aims to change the CPA licensure model to recognize the skills and competencies required to practice accounting today and in the future. The new CPA Exam will test a core set of skills required for all candidates, and candidates will additionally choose a discipline in which to demonstrate deeper skills and knowledge. The CPA Exam is expected to be no longer than the current 16 hours and remain split into 4 exams, including one for the chosen discipline.
Once a candidate achieves the CPA license, they will be able to practice in any area, regardless of which discipline they test in. The “core plus discipline” model is designed to show CPAs have the deep knowledge necessary to perform high-quality work. It also reflects the reality of most practices focusing on a key area of accounting rather than all of them at once.
It has not yet been determined what content will be “core” or how exactly the disciplines will be set up. This will be determined by state board education requirements and the CPA Exam practice analysis. At this time, we know the core will focus on accounting, audit, tax, and technology. The disciplines will focus on more advanced tax, accounting, analytics, and information systems concepts. This model will allow the AICPA to easily add or remove disciplines to accurately reflect the practice as times change.
The AICPA and NASBA will continue to work with state boards, state CPA societies, academia, CPA firms, and others to ensure that the new CPA Exam drives the accounting profession forward. This includes working with academia to make sure that students are well prepared for the education changes when they are enacted.
Gleim will update CPA candidates as new information becomes available. For now, continue to prepare for (and pass!) the CPA Exam to avoid these changes. Demo Gleim Premium CPA Review to see how we can help you pass the CPA Exam!