A summarized report of the Invitation to Comment (ITC), Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination, which was sent out to members of the accounting, finance and academic communities in September 2014, was recently released by the American Institute of CPAs. The ITC was a chance to “explore changes to the CPA profession and request feedback on possible changes to the next version of the Exam.”
“The report is part of a practice analysis – an extensive research project designed to determine the knowledge and skills required of newly licensed CPAs. The AICPA Board of Examiners and the AICPA Examinations Team reviewed feedback from more than 300 members of the accounting, finance, and academic communities, along with additional research, and agreed on a number of preliminary changes to consider and areas for further exploration. Notable findings include:
- Respondents support the consideration of testing higher-order skills beyond basic content knowledge, such as critical thinking, problem solving, analytical ability, and professional skepticism. The AICPA is exploring increasing its assessment of these higher-order skills throughout each section of the exam.
- Candidates strongly requested additional opportunities to sit for the CPA exam, and the AICPA is exploring extending the testing windows, allowing candidates to retest a failed section within a testing window, and other ways to enhance convenience for candidates taking the CPA exam.
- Members of the profession indicated that the current structure of the exam is appropriate for testing in the fundamental areas of Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulations (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC).
- Respondents support the use of Excel in the CPA exam to create an authentic user experience. The AICPA plans to launch a new testing interface utilizing Excel in 2018.”
The report also states that “The AICPA aims to release the exposure draft in September 2015. Comments received through November 2015 will be considered by the AICPA staff and BOE, with expected approval of the final Exam blueprint, structure, and design and administration model in 2016. This version of the Exam would be launched in 2017.”