Everything evolves, and that includes the CPA Exam. As AICPA discovered in recent years, the exam hadn’t kept pace with the needs of accounting firms. They were hiring fewer accountants and more people skilled in data analytics, IT and cybersecurity.
The discovery prompted AICPA and NASBA to develop the CPA Evolution licensure model, a revision of the CPA Exam to reflect the needs of employers and clients. The AICPA’s new blueprint prepares exam candidates for a restructured exam that recognizes the array of skills in demand in today’s accounting landscape.
Will you be ready? Consider how the blueprint updates the CPA Exam sections and content presented here and plot your path to CPA Exam success.
A look at CPA Exam changes
There’s a lot to digest with the updated blueprint, but keep in mind, that the changes are more structural than content-related. A small amount of content has been eliminated, while the remainder is shuffled around to constitute three core sections. This is down from the familiar four, and three discipline-specific exams – and no, you don’t have to take all three of the new discipline tests. Only one discipline is required with the purpose of building a strong foundation for future-accountants to excel in highly valued specialties.
Let’s take a closer look to what’s called the “Core plus Discipline” model:
Note these important items:
- If you passed FAR, REG, or AUD already, you will not need to retake the core section in 2024.
- If you passed BEC and your credit is unexpired on January 1, 2024, you will not need to take a discipline! BEC is your discipline.
- CPA Evolution exams will not be administered until early 2024, to give testing centers time to prepare for the transition.
- If you fail a discipline section, you can switch to a different discipline if you think it’s a better option for you.
What are the new discipline sections?
The core FAR, AUD and REG sections will continue to test your knowledge of the universal principles of accounting. The former Business Environment and Concepts core exam will now disappear, replaced by the discipline sections that probe more deeply into:
- Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR)
- Information Systems and Controls (ISC)
- Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)
Read below for the content incorporated into each discipline section.
What is BAR?
Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) will cover assurance or advisory services, financial statement analysis and reporting, technical accounting, financial and operations management. It’s expected that more than 50% of students will take the BAR discipline exam.
- Non-financial performance
- Capital structure and operations
- COSO enterprise risk management and its application to ESG
- Managerial accounting and cost accounting
- Variance analysis
- State and local government and NFP accounting
- Derivatives and hedge accounting returns
- Consolidation and business combinations
- Revenue recognition application and analysis
What is ISC?
Information Systems Control (ISC) measures your technological expertise, covering business processes, information security and governance, information systems and IT audit.
- Information systems and data management
- Security, confidentiality, and privacy
- Considerations for System and Organization Controls (SOC) engagements
- Deeper level of understanding of IT than was covered in BEC
- Regulations, standards, and frameworks
- COSO frameworks applied to cloud computing, blockchain and cybersecurity
- Change management
- Security risks and controls
What is TCP?
Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) will cover individual tax compliance and planning, personal finance planning, entity tax compliance and planning.
- Tax compliance
- Personal finance planning
- Entity tax compliance
- Entity tax planning
- Property transactions
- Formation and liquidation of entities
- Use of losses by taxpayers to minimize tax liability
- Tax implications of foreign income
- Computation of income and deductions for a trust
5 key takeaways about CPA Evolution
Chances are, you still have questions about CPA Evolution. These top five takeaways put the changes in perspective:
1. Parts passed before January 1, 2024 will still count towards licensure
- Any candidate with Uniform CPA Examination credit(s) on January 1, 2024 will have such credit(s) extended to June 30, 2025.
- If BEC is passed before 2024 then BEC will replace the discipline sections.
- FAR, REG, and AUD will carry over and serve as core credit.
2. The 18-month passing window remains in effect.
- Will “refresh” anew on 1/1/2024.
3. The discipline does not need to be your field of study.
- Students may change discipline at any point.
- Each discipline confers the same practice rights as the other disciplines.
- Disciplines can be taken before the core (but shouldn’t be)
- Technology, digital acumen, and data analytics now a core component across all 6 section-parts.
4. Take your discipline immediately after the core section associated with it, which means:
- FAR > BAR
- AUD > ISC
- REG > TCP
5. Account for blackout dates.
Discipline exams can only be taken in certain months, so make sure you plan ahead. Here are the tentative testing windows for core and discipline sections under the new CPA Exam model:
- Q1 testing window for discipline sections: Jan. 10-Feb. 6
- Q2 testing window for discipline sections: April 20-May 19
- Q3 testing window for discipline sections: July 1-July 31
- Q4 testing window for discipline sections: Oct. 1-Oct. 31
- Q1 testing window for core sections: Jan. 10-March 26
- Q2 testing window for core sections: April 1-June 25
- Q3 testing window for core sections: July 1-Sept. 25
- Q4 testing window for core sections: Oct. 1-Dec. 26
The Surgent difference gives you an edge
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Join Surgent and enter the CPA Evolution era with confidence and the assurance of passing.
Consider the many advantages that Surgent offers:
- ReadySCORE™: Feel confident on taking the exam, at the right time. ReadySCORE predicts – with 98% accuracy for the CPA exam– the score you would likely receive, if you sat for the test that same day.
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- Personalization: Surgent customizes multiple-choice practice questions to test your knowledge and prompt you to learn more challenging concepts with each round.
- Full access until you pass: Surgent CPA Review materials, including free content and software updates, are available until you pass! *Applies to the Premier and Ultimate packages only.
- Unlimited practice exams: Testing anxiety can keep candidates from doing their best. By having access to unlimited practice exams, included in every Surgent package, can help calm the nerves and leave you feeling extra confident in your abillities.
- 100% pass guarantee: Surgent’s systematic, technology-driven supports greatly improve your chances of passing the CPA Exam. However, if something goes wrong, Surgent’s pass guarantee means you don’t lose your prep course investment. *Applies to the Premier and Ultimate packages only.
Seize the opportunity
CPA Evolution is a revolution, bringing the accounting profession into the 21st century. Surgent exam preparation personalizes each individuals journey in an engaging way. Simply enter your exam date and the software will automatically provide you with the AICPA blueprint content you need to study. Surgent is continually rolling out updates to its exam prep courses, with material that changes dynamically based on your testing date. As always, Surgent CPA Review tailors CPA Exam prep to your needs, strengths, experience and goals.
Surgent makes it as easy as possible to study the correct material, so you won’t be backtracking or wading through irrelevant material. In order to stay on top of the latest updates and changes to the CPA Exam, Surgent will support and guide you through it all as you prepare to pass the CPA Exam.
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