2024 CPA Exam Changes – CPA Evolution
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 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, CPA candidates will also 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.
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. For more insights about the 2024 CPA Exam, read our interview with Tracie Miller-Nobles, CPA.
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.
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.
Transition Policy for 2024 Evolution
Candidates who have credit for AUD, FAR, or REG on the current CPA exam will not need to take the corresponding new core section of AUD, FAR, or REG on the 2024 CPA exam. Candidates who have credit for BEC on the current CPA exam will not need to take any of the three discipline sections.
This strategy strives to make it as easy as possible for candidates to migrate from portions of the old exam to the evolved exam.
2024 CPA Exam Structure Changes
The exam is expected to remain in the four-section, 16-hour format. However, since the new 2024 CPA Exam will consist of three core sections and three discipline sections to choose from, to earn licensure, candidates will have to pass all three core sections as well as one chosen discipline section.
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