We have great news if you are entering your CPA Exam journey! If you were worried about needing to pass all four sections of the CPA Exam before the CPA Evolution goes into effect in January 2024 you can breathe easier – you still will get the same 18-month window you have now. Even though the content is changing, your previously passed sections count under the new model. You won’t lose any previously passed sections just because the CPA Evolution is taking effect. Essentially, nothing changes administratively.
In a shift from the AICPA and NASBA’s previously announced core, the core will keep the traditional three sections: AUD, FAR and REG. BEC is being replaced by one of three disciplines: BAR, ISC or TCP. Students can select one, and only one, of the three disciplines to complete their journey.
How should you plan to conquer the exam knowing this new policy?
- Try and pass all four parts before the transition. Yes, the core stays the same and you get to choose your discipline instead of having to take BEC beginning January 2024. But the past two years the BEC pass rate has exceeded 60%, the highest of any of the four current parts. Plus, your current accounting program may not be ready to transition fast enough to teach you the materials covered on the new exam. The names of the core remain the same, but the content is changing.
- If you can’t pass all four parts and prioritizing what to pass as 2024 nears, pass BEC before 2024. Again, it has the highest pass rate of the four sections. Need we say more?
- You’ve scheduled BEC for December 2023 but still have time before then. What other parts should you study before then if you have time? We propose the following priorities. Next on your pre-transition list should be AUD. Under the CPA Evolution, AUD is adding more controls, more emphasis on service organizations and more analytical procedures. It will look the most different from the current AUD curriculum (we predict). After AUD, take FAR. The FAR section today resembles what you learned in intermediate and advanced accounting. Lastly, if you still have time before the transition, take REG last. We recommend this because tax laws change often – taxable thresholds, rates, deductions and limitations are changed annually. You will need to relearn some of this material even if the CPA Evolution wasn’t happening.
- The 18-month window still applies so you still need to pass all four parts of the CPA Exam within 18 months of passing your first section – whether it occurred before or after the launch of the CPA Evolution.
Source: NASBA “Transition Policy Announced for the 2024 CPA Exam Under the CPA Evolution Initiative”
Jack Castonguay, Ph.D., CPA, serves as the Vice President of Strategic Content Development – Accounting, Finance, and Exam Prep. He holds a BBA in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting from James Madison University and received his Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Tennessee. Jack began his career in public accounting with a Big Four accounting firm auditing manufacturing and financial services clients. He has taught financial accounting, auditing, and research seminars at the graduate and undergraduate levels and is currently an assistant professor at Hofstra University. Jack maintains an active CPA license.