The importance of having the Uniform CPA Examination testing the right topics was underscored by several of the groups looking to the future of the CPA profession, and AICPA Vice President Michael Decker told the Regional Meetings: “We heard about how change needs to come to the Exam. The Exam is updated every quarter, with technical reviews, new items coming into play …. The blueprints are updated every six months.” He acknowledged: “We have to do a practice analysis more often than every seven years.” The practice analysis which is currently underway is going to be completed in one year, he stated, and it is focusing on the impact of technology, as the technology a newly licensed CPA needs to understand is changing. Thirteen firms have already met with the AICPA Examinations Team and the call for volunteers for the CPA Exam Content Ranking Panels has gone out.

“Where does the one-two year person play a role? Nobody said the new CPA is doing a SOC [service organization control] audit, but they have to know what it is,” Mr. Decker said. “They better know Excel and a bit of Tableau – and more will be coming.” There is no appetite to increase the Uniform CPA Examination beyond 16 hours, and what subjects will be added or deleted from the Examination will be based on what the AICPA hears from the profession on how technology is changing the role of the one-two year person, he explained. Students should be reading the blueprints to see what is being tested now, Mr. Decker advised.

A research draft with an implementation plan will be released in December 2019, and will be out for comment until April 2020. Implementation of enhancements will begin in 2020 and the latest will be in place in 2021, Mr. Decker predicted. A new Excel-type item is scheduled to be in place in 2020.

Twenty-four states have started the process needed to change their rules and/or act to allow for continuous testing for the Uniform CPA Examination, NASBA Vice President and COO Colleen Conrad told the Regional Meetings. Thirty-eight states have indicated they expect to be ready for continuous testing by 2020.

“NASBA’s legal counsel will work with your State Board’s counsel to get the necessary changes in place,” Ms. Conrad stated. She reported that Ed Barnicott, NASBA Vice President – Strategic Planning and Program Management, will be reaching out to the Boards to help get what is needed passed, as having all the State Boards ready is key to making the switch from testing windows to continuous testing. Ms. Conrad said NASBA is also recommending that the State Boards adopt a uniform definition of when the 18-month testing period begins for all candidates.

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