Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting News

Featuring content from Checkpoint

Back to Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting News

Subscribe below to the Checkpoint Daily Newsstand Email Newsletter

New CPA Exam to Launch April 2017

The AICPA announced the new iteration of the Uniform CPA Examination, which it called “current, relevant, reliable and legally defensible.” Testing on the new exam is slated to begin in April 2017.

The AICPA on April 4, 2016, announced the new version of the Uniform CPA Examination, with testing slated to begin in April 2017.

The accounting profession’s largest trade group, which develops the exam, said it based the latest set of changes on the result of a “practice analysis,” a broad effort launched in 2014 to ensure the test stays “current, relevant, reliable, and legally defensible.”

The changes, according to an AICPA news release, include placing greater emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, and other high-level, cognitive skills, along with more so-called “task-based simulations” meant to test those skills.

A task-based simulation requires the test-taker to solve problems related to a hypothetical situation they could face as a CPA. The AICPA has created new exam blueprints with some 600 representative tasks in each of the exam’s four sections.

The four sections — “Auditing and Attestation,” “Business Environment and Concepts,” “Financial Accounting and Reporting,” and “Regulation” — have not changed.

The new exam is also longer, with total testing time of 16 hours, up from 14 hours.

In a statement, Michael Decker, the AICPA’s vice president of examinations, said the updates “will continue to help protect the public interest by ensuring that newly licensed CPAs have the skills and knowledge they need to meet the needs of a business environment that is increasingly complex.”

The CPA exam is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

In an October comment letter to the AICPA, NASBA supported increased focus on so-called “higher order” cognitive skills, but said the rate of change should be modest “to allow candidates to adjust to new test item types and the new blueprint structure.”

“Newly licensed CPAs must make decisions about the appropriateness of accounting methods used and correct tax treatment of items, which involve a moderate degree of complexity and uncertainty,” the group wrote in response to an AICPA exposure draft, entitled Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination. The AICPA issued the exposure draft in early September to seek input on developing the 2017 exam.

Tagged with →