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State Board Report

September 2015

The AICPA Board of Examiners has released for comment "Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination," an exposure draft based on the Board’s CPA practice analysis to ensure the Examination retains its validity, legal defensibility and relevance to the profession. It contains an explanation of the research and the proposed changes for the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination, to be launched in 2017. These include:

  • The Examination will be designed to enhance the testing of higher-order cognitive skills.
  • The four existing sections of the Examination (Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulation (REG) will be retained.
  • A "blueprint" for each section will illustrate the knowledge
    and skills that will be tested and will link to tasks that are representative of the work of a newly licensed CPA. These will replace the "Content Specification Outline" and the "Skill Specification Outline."
  • The Examination will have more task-based simulations (TBS) and, for the first time, simulations will be added to BEC.
  • Testing time for each section will be four hours, increasing by an hour the current testing time for both BEC and REG. Total testing time will go from 14 to 16 hours.

The exposure draft explains: "For the purpose of identifying the domain of tasks, knowledge and skills necessary to protect the public interest, a ‘newly licensed CPA’ is defined as one who has fulfilled the applicable jurisdiction’s education and experience requirements and has the knowledge and skills typically possessed by a person with two years of experience."

The Board of Examiners is seeking comments related both to the implementation of the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination as well as those to be considered for future implementation. Comments are being requested on: agreement with testing higher-order skills, completeness of the detailed blueprints, alignment of the knowledge and skills being tested with what is required of a newly licensed CPA, and sufficient guidance for candidates.

NASBA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Colleen K. Conrad stated: "NASBA will be talking with Boards in the weeks ahead to gain an understanding of any suggestions or concerns, and to help formulate NASBA’s response to the exposure draft." Ms. Conrad advised Boards to contact her or NASBA Vice President – Strategic Planning and Program Management Ed Barnicott if they would like a NASBA representative to attend a Board meeting to discuss the exposure draft in more detail and answer questions. Ms. Conrad will be moderating a NASBA Annual Meeting panel focused on the exposure draft. Panelists will include: Board of Examiners Chair Frederick Niswander, AICPA Vice President- Examinations Michael A. Decker, and NASBA CBT Administration Committee Chair Richard N. Reisig. NASBA is developing a response to the exposure draft which will be provided to the State Boards before the Annual Meeting.

The Board of Examiners has requested comments be submitted in the form of a letter via e-mail to by November 30, 2015.

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