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State Board Report

July 2015

The AICPA is preparing for the September release of the exposure draft covering the blueprints, structure and design for the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination, AICPA Vice President – Examinations Michael A. Decker told the Regional Meetings. "The key thing we learned from the practice analysis was that content knowledge remains the key to protecting the public interest, but higher order skills are also needed." Successful candidates need to be able to do research, but they also need to able to apply that research. A computer may be able to gather information, "but how do we assess the skills they need to apply the new knowledge?"

Board of Examiners Chair Frederick Niswander reported surveys were sent to thousands of newly licensed CPAs and those who supervise them asking them what content and skills should be required of newly licensed CPAs. This resulted in a draft 52-page blueprint under development by the AICPA Exam Team. Comparing the skill levels needed, Dr. Niswander explained that the current Examination focuses on "remember and understand" and "application," while it is anticipated that the new Examination would test two additional skill levels, "analysis" and "evaluation." As it is easier to assess higher level skills with simulations, rather than multiple choice questions, there could be more simulations in the next version of the Examination.

At this point in the practice analysis, the AICPA and the Board of Examiners are anticipating that the four current sections of the Uniform CPA Examination will be continued (AUD, FAR, REG and BEC), but the skill/content allocation would change based upon the blueprint and survey results, Mr. Decker noted. The public comment period for the exposure draft will run September – November 2015. The next version of the Uniform CPA Examination is projected to be announced during the second quarter of 2016 and launched in the second quarter of 2017, but full implementation of Excel as a candidate tool for the Examination is not expected until 2018.

NASBA Executive Vice President Colleen Conrad reminded the State Boards that it is their state’s statutes and rules that determine how the candidate is tested. Potential changes to the test administration model being considered include a possible extension of the quarterly testing windows. Ms. Conrad said NASBA is eager to hear the Boards’ opinions on possible changes. These could require a change in a Board’s statute, rules or policies. A modest increase in the price of the Examination is anticipated, but Ms. Conrad pointed out that there had been only nominal increases in the price of the Examination since it was set in 2004. She told the Boards that NASBA would be happy to send a representative to either call in or attend their meetings to discuss the exposure draft. NASBA will be sending in comments on the exposure draft based on input from its committees.

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