The 2021 CPA Exam Blueprint changes were recently released by the AICPA and include significant changes to the AUD and BEC sections. Read our News Blog for more information!
In 2020, the CPA Exam had few changes; the most prominent change was the introduction of the CARES Act to the REG section effective in Q4 2020. In 2021, the CPA Exam will undergo additional changes, mainly to the AUD & BEC sections, with minor revisions to the remaining two sections – FAR & REG.
The CPA Exam changes regularly. Gleim CPA Review takes new pronouncements, law changes, and the AICPA Blueprints into account when developing our materials, so there is really nothing for you to worry about. In other words, you don’t need to stress about learning each of the Blueprint changes because Gleim updates your CPA review materials based on all of these changes.
But if you want to keep up with the landscape of CPA Exam changes, read on!
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 Opens in new window.
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 be no longer than the current 16 hours and remain split into 4 exams, including one for the chosen discipline.
Current CPA Exam candidates should not be affected. The exam is not expected to change until January 2024 at the earliest. However, those just beginning their studies and new accounting students should pay attention to the exam’s education requirements. A new model for an accounting curriculum Opens in new window in line with the CPA Evolution update will be unveiled at a launch event June 15-16 2021.
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. The launch date of the new CPA Exam is currently scheduled for January 2024.
Gleim continues to monitor the progress of the CPA Evolution initiative, and we will update our course in plenty of time for the new exam.
Beginning on July 1, 2021, the CPA Exam will undergo changes as a result of new CPA Exam Blueprints that were released in October 2020. Changes are predominately in the AUD and BEC sections, with minor revisions in FAR and REG. Read below to see the specifics for each section.
The AUD section of the CPA Exam has some of the more significant changes taking place as of July 1, 2021.
The AUD section of the CPA Exam will see changes to the content & skill allocation weightings effective July 1, 2021.
What does this mean? You will more than likely see more content being tested with Task-Based Simulations and less with Multiple-Choice Questions. This does not mean you will see a change in the number of MCQs or TBSs; it just means that more content will be tested at a higher skill level.
Each area of the AUD blueprint saw changes to the representative task statements as well as some of the content topic areas. Of those changes, the most significant include the following:
You can rest assured that your Gleim study materials will always contain the most up-to-date information in order to prepare you for the CPA Exam. For more detailed information on the AUD Blueprint changes, check out our AUD resource page.
The BEC section of the CPA Exam also has some of the more significant changes taking place as of July 1, 2021.
The BEC section of the CPA Exam will see changes to the content weightings effective July 1, 2021.
There are no changes to the skill allocation weightings.
While there are changes to all areas in the updated BEC blueprints, the most significant changes take place in Area IV – Information Technology. Changes have been made to support the increased emphasis of data analytics, including new topic areas and new representative task statements. There is an entirely new topic area titled Data management and relationships, which includes several task statements providing guidance on how testing will take place within this content area.
You can rest assured that your Gleim study materials will always contain the most up-to-date information in order to prepare you for the CPA Exam. For more detailed information on the BEC Blueprint changes, see our BEC resource page.
The FAR section of the CPA Exam will only have minor revisions to the content areas taking place as of July 1, 2021.
The FAR section of the CPA Exam will see the elimination of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) framework and the IFRS versus US GAAP content area. There are no changes to the content or skill allocation weightings in this section.
You can rest assured that your Gleim study materials will always contain the most up-to-date information in order to prepare you for the CPA Exam. For more detailed information on the FAR Blueprint changes, see our FAR resource page.
The REG section of the CPA Exam will only have minor revisions to the content areas taking place as of July 1, 2021.
The REG section of the CPA Exam will see the elimination of estate taxation as well as the removal of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from the authoritative references.
With regard to the continuation of the testing of the CARES Act, per the AICPA, as of January 1, 2021, the CPA Exam will only test CARES Act items that were extended beyond December 31, 2020. Thus, Gleim materials only include CARES Act items extended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was passed on December 28, 2020.
You can rest assured that your Gleim study materials will always contain the most up-to-date information in order to prepare you for the CPA Exam. For more detailed information on the REG Blueprint changes, see our REG resource page.
On July 1, 2020, the REG section of the CPA Exam was updated to include updates related to the SECURE Act of 2019 and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act of 2019, along with updates in BEC related to COSO & COBIT. REG updates related to the CARES Act began on October 1, 2020.
Beginning July 1, 2020, the CPA Exam started continuous testing for all jurisdictions except South Carolina. NASBA is working with the South Carolina board and government to institute continuous testing.
Continuous testing means candidates can test anytime—there are no blackout dates on the calendar for 2020. However, the AICPA has reserved the right to add a blackout period as necessary (typically this will be the last week of the calendar quarter) to update the exam software and make other important changes.
Previously, the AICPA updated the exam between windows. Since there will no longer be “testing windows,” the AICPA will now update the exam based on the calendar quarter Opens in new window.
The timing and frequency of updates remains more or less the same, usually spanning six months to a year between announcement and implementation. There is a minimum of 6 months before a new pronouncement can become testable.
The AICPA regularly revises sections, adds new topics, and removes outdated topics to make sure it reflects the latest professional standards and regulations of the following governing bodies:
Sometimes it changes the interface or other administration elements of the exam to take advantage of new technologies and improve the testing experience.
Many of the changes are minor changes that improve how information is presented or clarify topics and testing material.
The CPA Exam Blueprints are a breakdown of the knowledge and skills the AICPA has deemed necessary for Certified Public Accountants. The AICPA uses these Blueprints when creating the CPA Exam and releases them as study guides for CPA candidates.
The AICPA usually releases CPA Exam Blueprints once or twice a year, and the changes do not go into effect immediately.
Within the Blueprints you will find
The most important thing to remember is that the Blueprints are not an exam rubric. They present sample tasks, but they are not limited to only testing the content areas with those tasks. Equally important: not every topic on the Blueprint will be tested on every CPA Exam.
Gleim is committed to providing you with all the materials you need to pass the CPA Exam the first time, so you can rest assured that you don’t need to comb through an archive of exam changes to figure out everything that has changed over the years. With Gleim, you can be certain that there will be no exam-day surprises.
Check out our free CPA Exam Guide for everything you need to know about the CPA certification, including the most up-to-date information regarding the format and interface of the CPA Exam.
The CPA Exam changes every year, sometimes more than once. It can be hard to determine which changes are important, so let us do the work for you! Our free CPA Exam Guide includes everything you need to know about the CPA Exam. Studying with Gleim CPA Review means you never need to worry about CPA Exam changes—we always have you covered.