Transitioning to the 2024 CPA Exam: What You Need to Know

Transitioning to the 2024 CPA Exam What You Need to Know1

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Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Qusai Ahmad

Transitioning to the 2024 CPA Exam marks a significant shift in examination structure. The traditional four-section format will be replaced by three core sections—Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), and Regulation (REG)—alongside one discipline exam choice. This change allows candidates to tailor their exam experience. Additionally, technology integration across all sections reflects the evolving demands of the accounting profession.

In this guide, we’ll explore the transition policy and everything you need to know about moving from the current exam format to the 2024 CPA Exam.

The Evolution of the CPA Exam

Traditionally, the Uniform CPA Examination consisted of four core sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Regulation (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC).

These sections have been the foundation of the CPA licensure for years. However, the accounting profession has been shifting, demanding a deeper understanding of emerging technologies and their integration into the field.

Starting in 2024, the CPA Exam will undergo a significant transformation to align with the CPA Evolution initiative. The new format will include three core sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), and Taxation and Regulation (REG). These core sections will ensure that all CPA candidates have a solid foundation in accounting, auditing, and taxation.

Integrating Technology

One of the most significant changes in the 2024 CPA Exam is the integration of technology-related content into all sections of the exam. This reflects the increasing importance of emerging technologies in the accounting profession.

Candidates will encounter questions related to data analytics, artificial intelligence, and financial data analysis, among others.

The inclusion of technology-related questions serves a dual purpose. It not only ensures that CPAs are well-versed in the use of technology but also enhances their problem-solving abilities. In today’s fast-paced business environment, CPAs are expected to navigate complex scenarios and make informed decisions. The ability to leverage technology for data analysis and decision-making is paramount.

Core and Discipline Sections

The 2024 CPA Exam introduces a new structure that includes both core and discipline sections. The core sections cover fundamental topics in accounting, auditing, and taxation, while the discipline sections allow candidates to specialize in areas that align with their career aspirations.

Candidates can choose from three discipline sections:

  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR): Ideal for those interested in assurance or advisory services, financial analysis, and reporting. It includes data analytics, financial risk management, and advanced technical accounting topics. BAR opens doors to roles involving financial statement analysis and more.
  • Information Systems and Controls (ISC): Tailored for candidates interested in business processes, information systems, information security, and IT audits. The content focuses on IT governance, internal control testing, and information system security. ISC prepares you for roles related to IT audit and control.
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP): Designed for individuals passionate about tax compliance and planning for individuals and entities. It covers personal finance planning, tax compliance, and entity tax considerations. If you aspire to be a tax expert, TCP is the path to consider.

Important Dates to Remember

To navigate the transition successfully, it’s crucial to be aware of key dates and deadlines. Here are some dates to mark on your calendar:

  • August 4, 2023: Deadline for first-time international candidates to apply with NIES to complete the international evaluation report.
  • October 1, 2023: BEC application deadline for first-time BEC takers in jurisdictions that utilize the CPA Examination Services (CPAES).
  • November 12, 2023: BEC application deadline for re-exam candidates that have already been approved for a prior NTS (any section) in jurisdictions that utilize the CPA Examination Services (CPAES).
  • November 15, 2023: NASBA will stop processing BEC exam applications.
  • November 22, 2023: NASBA will start processing applications for the new discipline exam sections (Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP), and Information Systems and Controls (ISC)).
  • December 15, 2023: The last day of testing in 2023 for ALL sections (AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG).

Test administration schedule and score release timeline for 2024

NASBA published the following:

QuarterCore Test DatesCore Score Release DatesDiscipline Test DatesDiscipline Score Release Dates
Q1 2024Jan 10 – Mar 26Jun 4Jan 10 – Feb 6April 24
Q2 2024Apr 1 – Jun 25Jul 31Apr 20 – May 19Jun 28
Q3 2024Jul 1 – Sep 25Approx Nov 1July 1 – 31Sep 10
Q4 2024Oct 1 – Dec 26Early Feb 2025Oct 1 – 31Dec 10

It’s important to take note of the following aspects of the 2024 schedule:

  • Testing in 2024 will not start until January 10.
  • Testing for the discipline sections of the exam (BAR, TCP, and ISC) will only be available for approximately one month of each calendar quarter.
  • There will be a limited number of score release dates because the AICPA will need more time to evaluate and score the new exams.
  • All dates are subject to change.
  • Q4 2024 Core test score release dates could be throughout the Q4 window. More information will be released at a later date.

Conclusion

The CPA Evolution initiative and the changes to the CPA Exam signify a proactive approach to adapting to the evolving landscape of the accounting profession. The integration of emerging technologies and the emphasis on problem-solving in the business environment make the CPA credential even more valuable in today’s competitive job market. Aspiring CPAs should embrace these changes as opportunities to enhance their skills and become the CPAs of the future. The 2024 CPA Exam will not only test knowledge but also the ability to apply it in a rapidly changing world.

Stay informed, stay prepared, and get ready to take the next step in your accounting career.

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