THE SMOKE DETECTOR: Proposed Replacement CPA Exam Section Sounds Familiar

By John Minnich posted 07-14-2015 18:07


As described in a recent Journal of Accountancy article, the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination could replace the current Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section with an integrated, blended assessment of auditing, financial accounting and reporting, and taxation. The revised exam would assess analytical ability, critical thinking, problem-solving, and professional skepticism of candidates. Sound familiar? It should: The educational offerings of the CPA Center of Excellence® are based on the same concepts.

Potential changes also include:
  • The use of Microsoft Excel, popular in our profession, instead of the current spreadsheet tool.
  • An increased assessment of written communications skills.
  • Permitting a 24-month exam completion window instead of the current 18-month model.
  • Consideration of March, June, September and December as possible exam months, not currently available.
  • Allowing the retake of a failed attempt within the same time frame.

The exam structure has certainly evolved since I took the one administered on paper at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. As the business world continues to change, it pleases me to read that the AICPA continues to reevaluate the CPA Exam. At the same time, I value our profession’s reputation and rich history of tradition built and applied on professional integrity and a strong work ethic. I certainly applaud and support any changes that keep our profession relevant and ahead of the curve so long as we adhere to our core values.

Reading the article conjures thoughts of how our Indiana CPA Society continues to lead our profession in areas such as knowledge management and competency-based education. At recent Emerging Leaders Alliance/Leadership Cabinet meetings, we have continued to discuss the need for change and relevancy in terms of both student and professional education. In essence, the AICPA has taken a similar approach by revisiting the exam to ensure it properly assesses the skills (i.e. core competencies) and knowledge that all entry-level CPAs should possess as our profession constantly evolves.

With the next version of the exam scheduled to deploy in 2017, what comments and/or suggestions do you have on the proposed revisions? For more information, see the AICPA's The Next Version of the Uniform CPA Examination.

#CPAExam #CPA #competencybasededucation #CoreCompetencies #corevalues
1 comment



07-23-2015 14:29

I definitely agree that the CPA Exam has come a long ways since the paper based exam both you and I took at the fairgrounds. As for the potential changes, I definitely agree that Excel should be utilized instead of some spreadsheet tool that isn't well known. Also, due to the nature of accounting in today's society, written communication is definitely a must. I think that letting those that failed re-take the exam in the same testing period is fine along with adding the other months to the testing window, but adding these to the exam, I don't think it should be lengthened to 24 months. If these other changes are made, it give candidates more opportunities to pass in the 18 months and thus adding more time to pass, I feel, isn't needed.