AICPA Seeks Feedback on Proposed CPA Exam Changes

 – December 23, 2019
AICPA Seeks Feedback on Proposed CPA Exam Changes

The AICPA has published an Exposure Draft and Invitation to Comment following the completion of a months-long Uniform CPA Examination (Exam) practice analysis. The project focused on the impact data analytics and technology have on the role of newly licensed CPAs and re-examined the core knowledge and skills essential to those entering the profession.

The Exposure Draft incorporates feedback from 80 AICPA volunteer subject matter experts in addition to input from more than 130 CPAs who directly supervise the newly licensed. The resulting Draft details major themes from the research along with proposed Exam content additions, changes, and deletions. The goal is for the updates to appear in the CPA Exam Blueprints no later than Dec. 31, 2020. The 16-hour, four-section structure will remain the same.

At the same time, the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) are collaborating on CPA Evolution, a separate initiative that focuses on the future of the licensure model and the transformation of the profession as it relates to technology.

 “The last practice analysis laid a solid foundation with the creation of the CPA Exam Blueprints and the existing Exam structure,” said Michael Decker, AICPA vice president of examinations. “During this year’s multi-phased research, we used a targeted approach that included working with firms of all sizes and their insights into technology, data analytics, and core competencies will help us ensure the Exam remains current and relevant.”

The Invitation to Comment gives stakeholders an opportunity to provide additional input on related topics or potential Exam changes that are longer-term proposals and require further considerations. Given the need for more research, there are no definitive plans or anticipated implementation timelines. Comments will be accepted on both the Exposure Draft and the Invitation to Comment until April 30, 2020.

Themes identified during the practice analysis included the following:

  • The current Exam structure and Blueprints are well-positioned to accept changes that reflect a greater assessment of technology and data analytics.
  • Newly licensed CPAs must have an understanding of business processes, information systems, data flows and internal controls.
  • Newly licensed CPAs must have a digital and data-driven mindset.
  • The profession is placing greater reliance on SOC reports as clients are outsourcing more accounting processes, which impacts the work of newly licensed CPAs.

The AICPA proposes 46 changes to the CPA Exam Blueprints that include content to be added to the Exam in response to the identified themes. They also address content either to be removed or assessed at a different skill level to better focus on the core knowledge and skills required of newly licensed CPAs to protect the public interest.