Understanding the CPA Evolution: What’s Changing in 2024

Understanding the CPA Evolution What's Changing in 20241

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Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by Qusai Ahmad

The CPA profession is undergoing a transformation, and it’s essential for aspiring CPAs to grasp the significance of these changes.

In January 2024, the Uniform CPA Examination (CPA Exam) will experience a significant overhaul as part of the CPA Evolution initiative.

This blog post provides a comprehensive overview of the CPA Evolution initiative and its impact on the CPA Exam, along with important dates to remember.


The Need for CPA Change


The CPA profession is not immune to the winds of change. As technology advances, regulations evolve, and the roles of accountants shift, it has become imperative for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation to adapt.

The CPA Evolution initiative is a response to these evolving demands. Modern CPAs are expected to tackle more advanced tasks, embrace cutting-edge technologies, and contribute to complex projects earlier in their careers.

To ensure that newly licensed CPAs possess the necessary skills and knowledge to safeguard the public interest effectively in today’s intricate marketplace, the profession is evolving.


Overview of the CPA Exam Changes (CPA Evolution)


Starting in 2024, the CPA Exam will undergo a substantial transformation. The current format will transition to a Core + Discipline model, designed to ensure that candidates are proficient in the key areas of accounting, auditing, and tax.

This new model consists of three core sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), and Taxation and Regulation (REG).

In addition to the core sections, candidates will need to select a discipline section from the following options: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), or Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP).


Core Sections vs. Discipline Sections


The core sections of the new CPA Exam cover foundational topics that all candidates must complete. These sections establish a solid knowledge base in accounting, auditing, and tax, ensuring that every CPA possesses a strong foundation.

On the other hand, the discipline sections allow candidates to demonstrate deeper expertise in a specific area of their choosing.

It’s important to note that regardless of the chosen discipline, candidates will encounter technology-related questions tailored to the content of each section.


Integration of Technology


Embracing technology is at the core of the CPA Evolution initiative. In response to the profession’s increasing reliance on technology, the CPA Exam will incorporate technology-related questions throughout all sections.

This adaptation reflects the reality that modern CPAs must be proficient in leveraging technology to excel in their roles and meet the demands of a rapidly evolving profession.


Transition Policy


To aid candidates who have already passed sections of the current CPA Exam, a transition policy has been established.

This policy outlines how credits from the current format may transfer to the 2024 CPA Exam. For example, candidates with credits in certain sections may not need to retake corresponding sections in the new format, streamlining the transition process and reducing redundancy.


Impact on Candidates


These changes will have a profound impact on CPA candidates. While adapting to evolving requirements may present challenges, it also presents opportunities for candidates to gain a competitive edge in the profession.

Adapting to the new format and acquiring expertise in their chosen discipline can set candidates on a path to success in a dynamic and evolving field.


Preparing for the Transition


As the CPA Exam undergoes this transformation, candidates should prepare accordingly. Staying informed about the changes, exploring available resources, and seeking support from CPA review courses are essential steps to ensure a smooth transition to the new format.


Important Dates to Remember

  • October 1, 2023: Last day for NASBA to process notices to schedule (NTS) for first-time BEC candidates (dates may vary by state).
  • November 12, 2023: Last day for NASBA to process NTS for BEC re-exam candidates (dates may vary by state).
  • December 15, 2023: Last day to sit for any section of the CPA Exam in 2023; last day ever to sit for BEC.
  • January 10, 2024: Expected first testing day for 2024 CPA Exam sections.

What is the difference between the current CPA Exam and the 2024 CPA Exam?

AspectCurrent CPA Exam2024 CPA Exam
Number of Sections4 Sections4 Sections
Core Sections– Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – Regulation (REG) – Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)– Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – Taxation and Regulation (REG)
Discipline SectionsN/AChoose one of the following: – Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) – Information Systems and Controls (ISC) – Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)
Technology IntegrationMinimalTechnology integrated across all sections, focusing on digital tools and data analytics
Structure ChangesEssays and simulations includedEssays and most authoritative guidance resources removed; focus on task-based simulations
Passing RequirementPass all 4 SectionsPass all 3 Core Sections and 1 Discipline Section
Order of SectionsFlexibleFlexible
Transition Policy– Existing credits may carry over. – Candidates who pass BEC will fulfill a Discipline requirement.– Existing credits may carry over for Core Sections. – Candidates who pass BEC will fulfill a Discipline requirement. – Candidates who lose credit for AUD, FAR, or REG must take the corresponding new Core Section. – Candidates who lose credit for BEC must choose one of the Discipline Sections.
Testing DatesContinuous testing (current)Quarter-based testing in 2024 with score release dates
Impact on LicensureTraditional CPA licenseFull CPA license regardless of chosen Discipline Section
Recommended OrderFlexibleBEC recommended for candidates aiming to fulfill the Discipline requirement before 2024

External Resources for Further Information

  • CPA Evolution Initiative Official Website: The official website provides detailed information about the CPA Evolution initiative, including FAQs and updates.
  • AICPA CPA Evolution Resources: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers resources to help candidates and CPAs understand the changes and their implications.
  • NASBA CPA Exam Information: The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy provides information about the CPA Exam, including application details and updates on exam changes.

Conclusion


The CPA Evolution initiative marks a significant milestone in the history of the CPA profession. It acknowledges the dynamic nature of the accounting field and the need for CPAs to continually adapt. Understanding the upcoming changes to the CPA Exam and preparing for them will be crucial for candidates aiming to become future-ready CPAs who can thrive in the ever-changing world of accounting. Stay informed, stay proactive, and embrace the evolution as you embark on your journey toward CPA licensure.

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