2024 CPA Exam Changes
The CPA Evolution is changing the CPA Licensure model to recognize the shift in knowledge and skills required of newly licensed CPAs today and in the future. NASBA and the AICPA are working together to align the 2024 CPA Exam with the updated CPA licensure model.
New CPA Exam Expected to Launch in 2024
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 licensure model. The CPA Evolution is the term used to describe the NASBA/AICPA initiative aimed at evolving CPA licensure to reflect the skills and knowledge CPAs increasingly need in a technology-driven marketplace.
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.
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 20 years ago. As the profession evolves, so must the steps to licensure.
The CPA Exam licensure model continuously evolves as the accounting profession does the same. To meet the skill set 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 on in their accounting careers. The CPA Exam must remain relevant as a measure of the knowledge and skills CPAs must have to practice their profession more efficiently and effectively.
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2024 CPA Exam Evolution: Core-Plus-Discipline Model
The proposed CPA licensure model requires CPA candidates to be skilled in a strong core based on accounting, auditing, and tax, with technology infused throughout. Candidates will be required to pass three core sections and one discipline on the CPA Exam. Also, Candidates can only pass one discipline with no option to pass another. It is important to note that the discipline passed will not change the CPA license granted.
CPA candidates would also need to have a deeper knowledge in one of the following 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.
The new licensure model results in one CPA license no matter which discipline a CPA Candidate chooses.
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 that provides students with skills they need to practice in today’s business world and meet the needs of the public.
CPA Exam Disciplines Overview
Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR)
CPA Candidates who are interested in assurance or advisory services, financial statement analysis and reporting, technical accounting, and financial and operations management, are encouraged to complete 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. The BAR could also include more advanced technical accounting and reporting topics at higher-skill levels, including assessment of revenue recognition and leases as well as business combinations, derivatives and hedge accounting, and employee benefit plan financial statements.
Information Systems and Controls (ISC)
Technology and business controls is a focus for 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 & Planning (TCP)
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 be included in entity planning.
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.
2024 CPA Exam Structure Changes
The new CPA Exam will consist of three core sections and three discipline sections. To earn their licensure, candidates will have to pass all three core sections as well as one discipline section. The exam is expected to remain in the four sections, 16-hour format.
2024 CPA Exam FAQs
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.