CPA Evolution is Now



Last year, the National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) board of directors and the AICPA governing Council officially signed off on the CPA Evolution initiative. A joint effort between the two organizations, the CPA Evolution aims to transform the CPA licensure model to focus on core skills in accounting, auditing, tax and technology. Candidates will also need to exhibit in-depth skills in either tax compliance and planning, business reporting and analysis or information systems and controls, according to a 2020 Journal of Accountancy report1.

The official word from the CPA Evolution on the expected launch of the new Uniform CPA Exam is 2024. The new core + disciplines model results in a full CPA licensure with the same rights and privileges as any other CPA. Further, the selected discipline does not dictate the practice area of the testing CPA.

“Procedures historically performed by newly licensed CPAs are being automated, offshored or performed by paraprofessionals. Now, entry-level CPAs are performing more procedures that require deeper critical thinking, problem-solving and professional judgment. Responsibilities that were traditionally assigned to more experienced staff are being pushed down to the staff level. As a result, newly licensed CPAs need to know more than ever before to meet the needs of practice. To protect the public, the CPA licensure model must reflect these changes2.”

Progress toward this evolution is reflected in the revised CPA Exam Blueprints which were released in November of last year. The most significant changes to the CPA Exam, which reflect the new blueprint starting July 1, 2021, focus on a deeper understanding of underlying business processes and data-driven facets of the evolving profession, Becker reports. The most impacted sections of the Exam, therefore, are the AUD section which will include more in-depth testing on IT systems and controls and the BEC section which will contain new content regarding the aspects of technology that help enable business processes3.

Meanwhile, candidates can expect the exclusion of less relevant Exam staples such as the differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP, as well as topics such as estate taxes and trusts. Not that these topics are not relevant at all, rather they are less relevant to newly licensed CPAs, according to the Journal of Accountancy4.

Undoubtedly, there are more changes ahead for 2021. As the CPA Evolution continues, the AICPA is frequently updating their resource page to reflect new developments.

  1. Tysiac, Ken. “CPA Licensure Model Transformation Will Proceed…Journal of Accountancy. 27 July 2020. Accessed on 8 Mar. 2021.
  2. CPA Evolution.Evolution of a CPA. Accessed on 8 Mar. 2021.
  3. A New CPA Licensure Mode is Expected to Launch in 2024.AICPA; This Way to CPA. Accessed on 8 Mar. 2021.
  4. Tysiac, Ken. “CPA Exam Gets Refresh After Practice Analysis.Journal of Accountancy. 1 Jan. 2021. Accessed on 8 Mar. 2021.

Source: MICPA

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