The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) have been working on restructuring the CPA Exam into a new CPA licensure model. The goal of both NASBA and the AICPA is to update the CPA Exam by January 2024 to align with a new core-plus-discipline licensure model. This model contains a core mastery of accounting, auditing, tax, and technology with disciplines of Business Analysis and Reporting, Tax Compliance and Planning, and Information Systems and Controls.
Today’s CPAs are required to perform more advanced tasks and contribute to increasingly complex projects earlier on in their accounting careers. The CPA Exam must remain relevant as a measure of the knowledge and skills CPAs need to practice their profession as efficiently and effectively as possible.
To better understand the 2024 CPA Exam, we requested an interview with Tracie Miller-Nobles, CPA. Miller-Nobles is an associate professor of accounting at Austin Community College, an author, and a CPA Exam content developer. She is also a member of the core task force appointed by NASBA and the AICPA to help develop high-level model curricula topics and learning objectives for the sections of the 2024 CPA Exam.
UWorld Roger CPA Review: How is the 2024 CPA Exam’s Core-Plus Discipline Model the same as the current CPA Exam? How is it different?
Tracie Miller-Nobles: The purpose of the 2024 evolution project is to ensure that newly licensed CPAs are meeting the needs of the profession. This has always been the intent of the CPA exam but as the business world changes, the CPA exam must change to reflect the increasing needs of employers.
So, what’s the same? The exam will still have the same worldwide recognition that it currently has. It will still signify that the individual who is a CPA has the knowledge necessary to practice as a licensed CPA.
What’s different? The format and content of the exams will change. There will still be four sections to the exam, but now there will be three Core sections that all students will take. The Core sections will focus on accounting, audit, tax, and technology. Students will also select a discipline (Business Analysis and Reporting, Tax Compliance and Planning, and Information Systems and Control).
UWRCPAR: What do you believe are the top priorities for accounting educators to consider when preparing future CPAs for the changes in the accounting profession?
TMN: Right now accounting educators should be working with their departments to perform a gap analysis of their current curriculum. Using the newly released CPA Evolution model curriculum, accounting educators should be determining what objectives and topics their curriculum already covers and what topics/objectives they will need to cover in the future. Most likely, accounting departments will need to change or modify their existing curriculum to ensure that students are prepared for the exam.
Additionally, faculty should begin upskilling in the areas of critical thinking, digital acumen, and data analytics. Before, faculty may not have integrated these topics (especially digital acumen and data analytics) in their courses. Under the new evolution model, faculty will want to integrate these topics throughout the entire curriculum and across all courses.
UWRCPAR: What role does technology play in the 2024 CPA Exam?
TMN: It is anticipated that the role of technology will play a significant part in the new 2024 CPA exam. The guidance that we are receiving from the AICPA and NASBA identified two areas related to the role of technology: digital acumen and data analytics. Both digital acumen (staying up to date with digital trends and knowing how to leverage new technologies) and data analytics will be tested in the core sections and the discipline. It will be important that students sitting for the exam understand how technology is utilized in accounting, audit, and tax.
UWRCPAR: As the profession and CPA Exam continue to evolve, how important do you think it is for accounting departments to employ faculty who are CPAs, CPA advocates, or CPA liaisons?
TMN: I think it’s really important for accounting departments to stay up to date on the profession. We can accomplish this in several different ways. First, integrating CPAs into our department as a spokesperson for the profession. This may mean that CPAs are teaching courses, speaking as guest speakers, or participating as part of our advising committees. However this is accomplished, it will be important for our students to hear about the evolving profession and also for this to inform our curriculum and content.
Additionally, it’s important that faculty work with CPA advocates and liaisons. Students will have a lot of questions about this new exam. Relying on trusted partners, such as UWorld Roger CPA, will provide students with resources to ensure that all of their questions are getting answered. Additionally, it will be more important than ever that students utilize a review course before sitting for the exam. This will provide them with a thorough review of topics covered in the coursework and additional practice of these new and emerging areas.
UWRCPAR: Do you think it’s important for accounting professors to integrate CPA Exam concepts into their curriculum?
TMN: Absolutely! It’s important that accounting professors integrate CPA exam concepts into their curriculum to ensure that students who are sitting for the exam are fully prepared. One of the things that I do in my courses is review the current AICPA Blueprints and the newly released model curriculum to ensure that I am covering all of the learning objectives related to the content that I teach. I also utilize UWorld Roger CPA’s review course in my classes. My students complete several homework assignments that allow them to practice multiple choice questions and TBS questions that are similar to what they will see on the exam.
Additionally, I use the questions as part of my classroom lectures as a way to engage students and review concepts during class. The feedback that I’ve received from students concerning this integration is excellent! They recognize the importance of early exposure to CPA exam concepts and sample questions and appreciate it being integrated into the course.
We appreciate the time that Tracie Miller-Nobles, CPA, took for our interview. If you are interested in staying up to date with the 2024 CPA Exam, be sure to bookmark our 2024 CPA Exam page for updates. If you are an educator and would like resources to help your student be prepared for the 2024 CPA Exam, learn how to partner with us by visiting our University Partnership page.