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CPA Evolution Update

CPA Evolution Update
Updated July 1, 2022

CPA Evolution Update: Blueprint Exposure Draft Released!

On June 28, 2022, the AICPA gave the public their first look at the content coming to the CPA exam in 2024 when they released an Exposure Draft (ED), that contains tentative CPA Evolution Blueprints, for public comment.

Titled, Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination – Aligning the Exam with the CPA Evolution Licensure Model, the draft is open for comments via email to practiceanalysis@aicpa.org until September 30, 2022.

In addition to the draft Uniform CPA Examination Blueprints, the ED presents the findings and conclusions of the Practice Analysis conducted by the AICPA, under the oversight of the Board of Examiners, that was used to draft of the blueprints.

The Practice Analysis was meant to determine the technical knowledge and critical skills necessary for newly licensed CPAs to possess, which makes the Evolution Blueprint draft the first glimpse into how the new CPA Exam is addressing the accounting skills gap and ensuring the CPA Certification remains the gold standard in the world of accounting.

The blueprints for evolution include not only the content (by way of representative task statements for each exam section), but also the proposed numbers of questions, how the AICPA is planning to weight the content on the new CPA Exam, and the critical skills allocated for testing on each exam section.

Gleim is actively updating our course to include everything you need to prepare for the new exam and feel confident on exam day.

CPA Evolution Transition Policy

In February 2022, NASBA announced their CPA transition initiative, which explains how CPA candidates who complete one or more sections of the current CPA Exam will transition to the new format of the CPA Exam when it is updated. Current CPA Exam candidates should not be affected. The launch date of the new CPA Exam is currently January 2024.

Here’s what you need to know.

CPA Evolution Basics

The new CPA Exam will test a “CORE” set of skills required for all candidates. The AUD, FAR, and REG sections will become CORE. In lieu of the current BEC section, candidates will choose a “Discipline” in which to demonstrate deeper skills and knowledge. There are three Disciplines, and candidates will only have to take and pass one of them:

  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR)
  • Information Systems and Controls (ISC)
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP).

The new CPA Exam is expected to be no longer than the current 16 hours and will remain split into 4 total sections, including the one for your chosen Discipline, and is currently slated to launch in January 2024.

New accounting students should pay attention to the exam’s education requirements. They have not changed yet, but a new model for an accounting curriculum in line with the CPA Evolution updates was unveiled in June 2021. We will update you if there are changes.

To avoid having to account for these changes, we recommend that candidates complete their CPA studies as soon as possible.

What If I Have to Take Both Versions of the CPA Exam?

If you find yourself starting your exams under the current model but have to finish them after CPA Evolution launches in January 2024, don’t panic!

NASBA has been working in coordination with the State Boards of Accountancy to establish a transition policy for candidates who find themselves in such a position. The goal of this policy is to ensure that CPA candidates are not penalized for exam sections already passed within their 18-month window and that exam costs are not increased.

CPA Evolution Transition Policy

CPA Exam candidates who have already passed the AUD, FAR, or REG sections of the exam when CPA Evolution launches will be given credit for the corresponding CORE sections:

  • CORE: Auditing and Attestation
  • CORE: Financial Accounting & Reporting
  • CORE: Taxation and Regulation

Candidates who have already passed the Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) section will be given credit for the Discipline exam, of which there are currently three choices.

Because Evolution candidates can only take one of the Discipline exams, this means that candidates who have already passed the BEC section of the exam will not need to select a Discipline.

All of this is good news for current exam candidates!

CPA Exam Transition Policy

What’s on the New CPA Evolution Exams?

A practice analysis is currently underway to determine the content of the new exams, and it is expected to be complete by July 2022. Following the completion of the practice analysis, new Blueprints should be released in January 2023 that will provide more specific information on what will be covered in the new exam.

Why CPA Evolution?

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 are now working to implement the “CORE plus Discipline” licensure model.

Everything We Know about CPA Evolution so Far

What is the CPA Evolution?

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 new CPA Exam is expected to still total 16 hours over 4 exams, including one for the chosen Discipline.

CPA Evolution Model

Once a candidate achieves their 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 CORE will focus on accounting, audit, and tax, all with an emphasis on 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.

What Are the Next Steps for the CPA Evolution?

The AICPA and NASBA will continue working with state boards, state CPA societies, academia, CPA firms, and others to ensure that the new CPA Exam drives the accounting profession forward. In the summer of 2021, they began working with academia to make sure that students are well prepared for the changes to the education requirements when they are enacted.

The practice analysis used to determine the content of the new exams has been completed and used to create an Exposure Draft that contains tentative CPA Evolution Blueprints. The Exposure Draft is open for comments (send emails to practiceanalysis@aicpa.org) until September 30, 2022.

The launch date of the new CPA Exam is currently January 2024.

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!