When it comes to discussion surrounding the new CPA Exam, the general sentiment amongst many CPA Exam candidates is uncertainty. As the new exam sees substantial changes such as increased Task-Based Simulations and a focus on higher order skills, candidates are weary of taking an exam that will be longer and seemingly more difficult.
However, what most candidates don’t take into consideration are all of the positive benefits that the accounting profession and industry will reap from now that this new has exam has gone into effect. Here’s why we think the next version of the CPA Exam is something to be excited about and why we all should be proud to witness and experience these changes as protectors of financial integrity.
What does the new CPA Exam mean to the profession?
If you didn’t already know, the new exam reflects the need for newly licensed CPAs to perform more advanced tasks earlier on in their careers. By having higher level CPAs who are trained to think more critically such as analyzing data from an evaluative standpoint having an elevated knowledge of concepts to apply to job responsibilities, this next generation of CPAs will be critical to firms’ growth and efficiency of services.
Firms will be able to use entry level/unlicensed staff to execute some of the work that newly licensed CPAs are undertaking, and as a result, a type of domino effect will get set into motion. Newly licensed CPAs will then be able to perform more advanced types of work on engagements. This will free experienced staff to focus on enhancing relationships with current and prospective clients to identify opportunities where they can further help their businesses thrive. This in turn will help firms elevate their reputation and increase revenue.
Why should we all be excited about the new CPA Exam?
Whether you’re a CPA Exam candidate, CPA Review course provider, or public/private accounting firm, we should all be excited to be part of these changes because it will impact our industry for the better.
Because CPAs are trusted advisors at the forefront of financial integrity, we all play an integral role in ensuring that the designation remains well-respected and prestigious. We do this by making sure CPAs meet the demands of the times which not only continues to fuel the succession of the profession, but the businesses they serve and ultimately, our economy.
While we may not see these benefits immediately, it’s still exciting to know that a few years from now, we’ll be able to say that we were in the vanguard of these changes when we do begin to see them go into effect.
What can firms/universities be doing to prepare their staff and students for the 2017 CPA Exam?
Firms can help their newly hired staff who are CPA Exam candidates prepare for the new exam in a few important ways.
The first being encouraging candidates to use the firm as a resource. Have them look at the CPA Exam Blueprints which detail what representative tasks they will be expected to perform on the new exam (and on the job) and encourage them to talk to other CPAs within the firm to get examples or explanations on how to perform those tasks.
Another thing firms can do is provide candidates with study groups or flexible working hours to help them prepare for the exam with their peers. Forming a network of support, opportunity, and incentives will be crucial to help them pass the exam successfully and in a timely manner.
However, we believe that another way to help candidates successfully pass the new exam starts even earlier: when they’re completing their undergraduate degree.
If many accounting majors are on the CPA license track, it’s important for their professors to utilize CPA review resources in the classroom to supplement their curriculum. This not only combats the intimidation and negative preconceived notions many students have about the exam, but also provides better pass rates as early exposure to the exam’s structure and content prepares them for success on the exam upon graduation.
What we’re doing to prepare our students for the new CPA Exam
The biggest shift in the new CPA Exam is having candidates execute more critical thinking skills, and the way they’ll be tested on that is through more complex Task-Based Simulations (TBSs). We’re preparing our students by providing them with more complex TBSs in addition to guidance within our textbooks and lectures on how to approach these problems.
It’s a new day to be a CPA
So remember that although change can be scary—it can also be extremely exciting. With the advent of technology and the changing needs of clients, the accounting profession is seeing a profound shift in job responsibilities and services. We should all be proud and enthusiastic about these changes that will mark a significant time in history regarding the accounting profession’s evolution and growth.