2024 CPA Exam Changes – CPA Evolution

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2024 CPA Exam Evolution

Learn everything you need to know about the 2024 CPA Exam Core-Plus Discipline Model, evolution timeline, recommendations and more. 

Technology is rapidly changing the accounting profession, how accountants perform their jobs and the skills and knowledge needed to be successful. In response to these changes, The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) are restructuring the CPA Exam into a new CPA core-plus licensure model. This initiative is called CPA Evolution.

When are the 2024 CPA Exam Changes Expected to Launch?

NASBA and the AICPA intend to update the CPA Exam with the new core-plus-discipline model by January 2024. As of right now, students will take the new exam starting on January 1, 2024. The 18-month rule remains in effect for all exam sections.

Why is the CPA licensure model changing?

The CPA profession is always moving forward, adopting new technologies, new skills, and new best practices. The job requirements of most CPAs today are completely different from those of a CPA even 10 years ago. As the profession evolves, so must the skills and disciplines tested on the CPA Exam.

To meet the needs of the accounting profession, newly licensed CPAs must adapt to these changes. CPAs are now required to perform more advanced tasks and contribute to increasingly complex projects earlier in their accounting careers.

2024 CPA Exam Evolution: Core-Plus-Discipline Model

So, what does the proposed CPA Exam model look like? The exam is expected to remain in a four-section, 16-hour format. The new CPA licensure model requires CPA candidates to be skilled in accounting, auditing, and tax, and these sections will remain as core, required subjects. Questions about technology will be infused throughout the three core sections.

In addition, candidates will need to have a deeper knowledge in one of the following three primary disciplines:

  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) – a continuation of the Accounting core;
  • Information Systems and Controls (ISC) – a continuation of the Auditing core, or;
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) – a continuation of the Tax core.
2024 CPA Exam Core-Plus-Discipline Model

Candidates will be required to pass all three core sections and one discipline on the CPA Exam. Candidates must choose one discipline and are not allowed to sit for another. It is important to note that the discipline passed will not change the type of license granted. The new licensure model results in one CPA license no matter which discipline is chosen.

How does the CPA Evolution Affect Accounting Curriculum?

Most Master’s programs will prepare students for one of the three discipline areas. For schools without a Master’s program, elective courses may be added to prepare students for the discipline areas. The CPA Evolution committee meets regularly to determine what recommendations they will have for the evolving accounting curriculum.

“I would not expect the undergraduate accounting curriculums to be much different than they are now. In my opinion, the undergraduate curriculum will continue to prepare the students for the foundational requirements that will still be tested on the future CPA Exam.” - Dr. Marcus Odom, Ph.D., CPA, CFE

CPA Exam CORE Overview

The new CPA Exam assumes that CPA candidates will sit for the CPA Exam after completing a foundational academic program focused on a strong business and accounting-based curriculum. This will provide candidates with the skills they need to practice in today’s business world and meet the needs of the public.

Technology continues to be increasingly vital to the accounting profession. Therefore, technology will be tested on the 2024 CPA Exam, not as a single discipline but throughout all exam sections.

Watch These Quick Overviews of the New Discipline Options

2024-CPA-Exam-Discipline-Series-Business-Analysis
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Business Analysis & Reporting
2024 CPA Exam Discipline Series - Information Systems and Controls
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Information Systems & Controls
2024 CPA Exam Discipline Series - Tax Compliance and Planning
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Tax compliance & Planning

Business Analysis and Reporting

CPA Candidates who are interested in assurance or advisory services, financial statement analysis and reporting, technical accounting, and financial and operations management should consider the BAR discipline. The content in the BAR discipline includes a data analytics focus and assesses topics like financial risk management and financial planning techniques. BAR could also include more advanced technical accounting and reporting topics, including assessment of revenue recognition and leases, business combinations, derivatives and hedge accounting, as well as employee benefit plan financial statements.

Information Systems and Controls

Technology and business controls is a focus of the ISC discipline. CPA candidates who are interested in assurance or advisory services related to business processes, information systems, information security and governance, and IT audits are encouraged to choose this discipline. Content for this discipline is focused on IT and data governance, internal control testing, and information system security, including network security, software access, and endpoint security.

Tax Compliance and Planning

The focus of the TCP discipline includes taxation topics involving more advanced individual and entity tax compliance. Content focused on personal financial planning and entity planning, inclusions and exclusions to gross income, and gift taxation compliance and planning could also be covered. Coverage of advanced entity tax compliance might include consolidated tax returns, multijurisdictional tax issues, and transactions between an entity and its owners. The tax treatments of the formation and liquidation of business entities could also be included in entity planning.

CPA Evolution:
Pathways to Success

It is important to note that the CPA Evolution will not impact your current exam progress. Regardless of how far along you are in your studies, the AICPA and NASBA have a pathway to licensure that will keep you on track with your current goals.

Sit for the CPA Exam Before Changes Take Place

If you’re eligible to sit for all four sections of the CPA Exam before 2024, then there’s no need to wait. This path allows you to avoid potential confusion and receive your CPA license sooner.

Transition Policy for the 2024 Evolution

The AICPA and NASBA have developed a strategy to simplify candidates’ migration from the old exam to the new one. Those who have already earned credit in AUD, FAR, or REG on the current CPA Exam will not need to retake the corresponding new core section in AUD, FAR, or REG. In other words, those who have already earned credit for BEC on the current CPA Exam do not have to take any of the three discipline sections.

Hybrid Approach: Sit for the CPA Exam in Both 2023 and 2024

Because of the flexibility built into the exam transition policy, you can tailor your experience based on your preferences and proficiency in each core and discipline. It’s an opportunity that we encourage you to take advantage of. Below are four potential pathways that highlight how the transition policy can benefit you:

Transition Policy for the 2024 Evolution

Another way you can avoid potential confusion surrounding the CPA Evolution is by taking the exam after changes take place. You would then be required to take the updated version of each exam section. This is what we recommend if you prefer a specific discipline to BEC or are comfortable with technology-based questions.

Recommended CPA Exam Order After 2024 Changes

No matter which pathway you choose, it’s important to develop a strategy as you plan your exam schedule. While every candidate is different, our experts have determined a general recommended order for taking the exam once the 2024 changes go into effect. We suggest you take the section you find most difficult first. We also highly recommend taking your chosen discipline after its related core section, as the material does build upon it.

Based on our own analysis of the AICPA blueprints, we anticipate AUD to be the section candidates struggle with the most. Instead of having content removed, it will have previously BEC content added. Conversely, FAR and REG are likely to have some of their advanced topics moved into their associated disciplines, making these cores less difficult. Considering currently released information, below are our proposed 2024 CPA Exam orders based on your chosen discipline:

*This is a general recommendation from our experts. Ultimately, each candidate should choose a CPA Exam path that best meets their interests and proficiency.

2024 CPA Exam FAQs

The CPA Exam undergoes changes regularly, with most occurring in January and/or July. However, major changes are coming in January 2024 as part of the CPA Evolution initiative. The AICPA and NASBA have developed a CPA Evolution Transition Policy to simplify candidates’ migration from the old exam to the new exam.
The 2024 CPA Exam is moving to a Core-Plus-Discipline Model which requires candidates to be skilled in a strong core based on accounting, auditing, and tax. Candidates will also be required to pass one discipline on the CPA Exam.
The CPA Exam is different from the current CPA Exam, so there is no way to compare the level of difficulty.
All UWorld Roger CPA Review students receive automatic updates to their online course materials for the duration of their course.
Each year, the AICPA releases updates and changes to the CPA Exam; however, the structure of the exam has been the same for several years (i.e., candidates have needed to pass AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG). In 2024, the CPA Exam is keeping AUD, FAR, and REG, and introducing three new disciplines. Those disciplines are Business Analysis & Reporting (BAR), Information Systems & Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance & Planning (TCP). Most of the old BEC content will be spread throughout the exam.

Learn more about the
CPA Exam

UWorld Roger CPA Review provides CPA candidates with all the study materials and resources needed to prepare and successfully pass the US Uniform CPA Exam online.

The CPA Exam is a comprehensive test composed of 4 parts taken individually. These sections cover a wide variety of topics taught in most university accounting programs.
CPA Exam Blueprints help candidates understand what skills and content topics will be tested on the CPA Exam. They also provide information on upcoming changes.
A score of 75 or greater is required to pass each section of the CPA Exam, but the total score does not represent a percentage correct. There are a variety of factors that go into compiling the score.
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Free eBook: 2024 CPA Exam Evolution