Everything you need to know about the changes coming to the CPA Exam, consolidated and analyzed in one easy-to-reach place.
The AICPA recently announced plans for CPA Evolution! This is the largest set of changes coming to the CPA Exam in recent years, and the goal is to better align the content of the CPA Exam to the duties CPAs will be expected to perform in the near future. Check out our CPA Evolution Update for more info!
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 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!
The CPA Exam changes scheduled for 2022 were routine, resulting from new laws, rules, and regulations. The AICPA updates the CPA Exam annually to amend sections, add new topics and remove older topics. Listed below are the content changes that became testable on the CPA Exam effective January 1, 2022. The only changes were to the AUD section. FAR, REG, and BEC were not changed.
Effective January 1, 2022, the AUD section of the CPA Exam will be updated to reflect updates to SAS Nos. 134-140 and SSARS No. 25. These updates include:
In 2020, the CPA Exam had few changes. The most notable change was the introduction of the CARES Act to the REG section effective in Q4 of 2020. In 2021, the CPA Exam underwent additional changes, mainly to the AUD and BEC sections, with minor revisions to the remaining two sections, FAR and REG.
Early in 2020, the AICPA announced changes to the CPA Exam Blueprints due to the 2019 Practice Analysis, which focused on the duties of newly-licensed CPAs and their expected skill levels. The AICPA released those new Blueprints with an effective testing date of July 1, 2021.
Beginning on July 1, 2021, the CPA Exam underwent changes as a result of new CPA Exam Blueprints 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 had some of the more significant changes that took effect as of July 1, 2021.
The AUD section of the CPA Exam saw changes to the content area and skill allocation weightings effective July 1, 2021.
What did all of that mean? You probably saw more content being tested with Task-Based Simulations and less with Multiple-Choice Questions. This does not mean you saw a change in the number of MCQs or TBSs; it just means that more content was being 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 saw the elimination of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) framework and the IFRS versus U.S. GAAP content area. There were 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 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 only had minor revisions to the content areas taking place as of July 1, 2021.
The REG section of the CPA Exam saw 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.
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.
As of July 1, 2020, the CPA Exam implemented continuous testing for all jurisdictions except South Carolina. SC is currently in their legislative process to approve continuous testing in that state.
Continuous testing means candidates can test anytime—there are no blackout dates on the exam calendar. 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.
Candidates who need to retake a section will be able to reapply for an NTS as soon as they receive their score, and the reapplication should take under 72 hours to process.
Candidates may be able to retake a section within the same quarter depending on when they took their previous exam and when they received their score.
Previously, the AICPA updated the exam between windows. Since there are no longer “testing windows,” the AICPA will update the exam based on the calendar quarter.
The timing and frequency of updates remains more or less the same, usually spanning 6 months to a year between announcement and implementation. There is a minimum of 6 months before a new pronouncement can become testable.
Auditing and accounting pronouncements will become testable the later of the first quarter after the pronouncement’s earliest mandatory effective date or the first calendar quarter beginning 6 months after the pronouncement’s issuance date.
For Internal Revenue Code and federal tax regulations, changes will be testable the calendar quarter beginning 6 months after the change’s effective date.
Other federal laws will become testable 1 year after their adoption by the simple majority of the jurisdictions.
For all other topics, changes are eligible for testing the later of the first quarter after the earliest mandatory effective date (regardless of entity type) or 6 months after the issuance date.
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:
Taking advantage of new technologies and improving the testing experience sometimes changes the interface or other administration elements of the CPA Exam.
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.
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.