Have you heard of the CPA Evolution initiative? Are you aware that the Uniform CPA Examination (CPA Exam) is changing significantly in January 2024? It is important that you learn about this initiative and the upcoming changes to the CPA Exam to fully understand how it might impact your journey to CPA licensure. If you pass and retain credit for all four CPA Exam sections by December 31, 2023, the changes to the CPA Exam will NOT impact your journey. If you will still be working your way through the CPA Exam in January 2024 and beyond, then the information about the CPA Evolution-aligned CPA Exam (the 2024 CPA Exam) and transition policy are most important to understand.
It’s never been a more exciting time to pursue the CPA license. The role of today’s CPA has evolved, and newly licensed CPAs are taking on increased responsibilities that were traditionally assigned to more experienced staff. Becoming a CPA means you’ll need greater skill sets and competencies, and a greater knowledge of emerging technologies. That is why the CPA Evolution initiative is underway. It is a joint effort of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
The new CPA licensure and CPA Exam model is a Core + Discipline model. The model starts with a robust core in accounting, auditing, and tax that all candidates will have to complete. Then, each candidate must choose a Discipline section in which to demonstrate greater skills and knowledge. Technology knowledge and skills will be tested in all sections, as it pertains to each section. Regardless of a candidate’s chosen discipline, this model leads to a full CPA license, with rights and privileges consistent with any other CPA. The Discipline section selected for testing does not mean the CPA is limited to that practice area.
If you anticipate continuing your CPA Exam journey into 2024 and beyond, the much-anticipated transition policy is important news. This policy lays out how CPA Exam sections passed under the current CPA Exam map to credit under the 2024 CPA Exam. Transition policies like this have been necessary at other times when significant changes were made to the CPA Exam, such as when it was computerized in April 2004.
The policy was recommended to the Boards of Accountancy by the NASBA CBT Administration Committee after development and much deliberation by a task force with state board representatives from the AICPA Board of Examiners, sitting state board members and executive directors from multiple states. Because of the significant differences in the current and 2024 CPA Exams and the overall CPA licensure model, a perfect transition is not possible. The Boards of Accountancy have agreed this transition policy best serves the candidates, the state boards and the public interest.
If, however, a candidate loses credit for AUD, FAR or REG after December 31, 2023, they then must take the corresponding new Core section of AUD, FAR or REG. A candidate who loses credit for BEC after December 31, 2023, must select one of the three Discipline sections to be tested. It is important to note that none of the sections of the current CPA Exam will be available for testing after December 31, 2023. There is a hard cutover from the current CPA Exam sections to the 2024 CPA Exam sections on the January 2024 launch.
The following chart lays out the transition policy for each Exam section:
The CPA profession is at an exciting juncture as it moves to the CPA Evolution model. To prepare for the 2024 CPA Exam launch, the Exposure Draft of the 2024 CPA Exam, which includes the draft Blueprints, will be released by the AICPA on July 1, 2022, and will outline the content and skills proposed for each section of the 2024 CPA Exam. The 2024 CPA Exam Final Report, which will include the final Blueprints, is scheduled to be released in January 2023, a year before the 2024 CPA Exam launches.
Additional information and FAQs regarding the CPA Evolution initiative are available at EvolutionofCPA.org. If your questions on the new CPA licensure model, examination and transition policy are still not answered, please reach out to us at Feedback@EvolutionofCPA.org.
View the March 2022 CPA Exam Transition Policy webcast:
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