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AICPA Seeks Comment on Proposed Revisions to CPA Exam

Soyoung Ho  Senior Editor, Accounting and Compliance Alert

· 5 minute read

Soyoung Ho  Senior Editor, Accounting and Compliance Alert

· 5 minute read

As the AICPA is preparing to roll out a modernized CPA Exam in January 2024, the association issued a proposal of the new design for public comment.

The AICPA issued Exposure Draft, Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination on July 6, 2022. Comments are due by September 30.

The organization said that the exposure draft is the next step in the AICPA and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) joint CPA Evolution initiative, which is intended to transform the CPA licensure model that better corresponds with the rapidly changing skills and competencies of the accounting profession.

It took two years of research to develop the exposure draft to better align the CPA Exam to the CPA Evolution initiative.

The proposed new exam includes the draft Uniform CPA Examination Blueprints, which is the official document that presents content eligible for assessment on the Exam, based on the knowledge and skills required of a newly licensed CPA.

“The CPA Exam is always evolving to meet the needs of today’s practice,” Michael Decker, VP of CPA Examination and Pipeline at the AICPA, said in a statement. “With CPA Evolution, we have an opportunity to assess the required knowledge and skills all newly licensed CPAs need. Our goal is for the Exam to remain rigorous and representative of the evolving role of accounting professionals. We believe input from various stakeholders is integral in developing an Exam that will meet these needs.”

Under the new licensure model, the AICPA said that all candidates will be required to take three core sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting, Auditing and Attestation, and Taxation and Regulation.

Each candidate will then choose a discipline to demonstrate additional skills and knowledge: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP).

Regardless of a candidate’s chosen discipline, this exam model will lead to a full CPA license.

“Ensuring that candidates possess appropriate levels of skills and knowledge through the CPA Evolution-aligned Exam will greatly benefit the profession in the long-term,” Colleen Conrad, Executive VP and COO of NASBA, said in a statement. “I strongly encourage all interested parties to participate in this process by submitting their comments on the Exposure Draft.”

New Content

The exposure draft notes that the new exam content is primarily in ISC and TCP discipline sections:

  • IT infrastructure, platforms, and services; security, confidentiality, and privacy, and considerations for System and Organization Controls (SOC) engagements will be assessed in the ISC Discipline Exam section.
  • Personal financial planning and tax planning will be assessed in the TCP Discipline Exam section.

ESG Not This Time

Matters related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) have been an area of increased focus among companies, investors, and regulators. But the AICPA noted that research indicated that newly licensed CPAs have minimal roles in ESG matters at this time.

“As noted under Emerging Content — Environmental, Social, and Governance, the BAR Discipline Exam section includes content on understanding how the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework could be applied to identify, respond to, and report ESG related risks,” the exposure draft stated.

The AICPA will issue a final report, including the final CPA Exam Blueprints, in early 2023, well before the expected launch of the new CPA Exam in 2024.


This article originally appeared in the July 11, 2022 edition of Accounting & Compliance Alert, available on Checkpoint.

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