CPA Evolution is a combined National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)-American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) initiative aimed at evolving CPA licensure to reflect the skills and knowledge CPAs increasingly need in a technology-driven marketplace.
As a result of the CPA Evolution Initiative, the CPA exam is changing significantly in January 2024.
The new model of the CPA exam is a core plus discipline model. The core knowledge represents the accounting, auditing, tax, and technology skills and competencies that every newly licensed CPA needs to protect the public, while the disciplines will assess greater knowledge and skill in the exam candidate’s area of focus. Exam candidates will be required to pass the three core sections and one discipline section of their choice to meet the exam requirements for licensure.
The new CPA exam will still be no more than 4 hours per section and candidates will still be required to pass four sections in total (three core plus their chosen discipline).
The core sections are Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Taxation and Regulation (REG). The disciplines are Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP). The discipline sections provide an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate a deeper level of knowledge in one pillar of the profession but will not prevent candidates from practicing outside that discipline once licensed.
It is important to note that the current and new exams will not run parallel for any amount of time.
No CPA exam sections will be offered from Dec. 16, 2023, through Jan. 9, 2024, to allow for the conversion of IT systems to the 2024 CPA exam.
If some, but not all sections of the current exam have been passed, exam candidates will need to follow the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s (NASBA) approved transition policy.
Below are some questions and answers regarding the transition to the new CPA exam.
If AUD, BEC, FAR and REG are successfully passed within the 18 months prior to Dec. 31, 2023, candidates do not need to test under the 2024 CPA exam. Other requirements for licensure (education, experience and ethics requirements) must be met before applying for the CPA license.
Absolutely not. The purpose of the CPA exam transition policy is to allow candidates to continue the CPA exam journey with the transition to the 2024 CPA exam. Just follow the Transition Policy chart. The current credit will become a credit for the 2024 CPA exam section.
The VBOA has approved a credit extension for those in the process of passing all four sections of the exam. All candidates with active credit for any exam section(s) as of Dec. 15, 2023, will maintain active credit through June 30, 2025.
No. It is currently anticipated that the final day for testing of all current CPA exam sections (AUD, BEC, FAR and REG) will be Dec. 15, 2023. No CPA exam sections may be scheduled from Dec. 16, 2023, through Jan. 9, 2024, to allow for conversion of IT systems to the 2024 CPA exam sections. Candidates are encouraged to plan their testing schedules accordingly.
While there will be no cutoff for initial or reexam applications for AUD, FAR and REG, like that for BEC, candidates are reminded that the final date of testing for all current CPA exam sections will be Dec. 15, 2023.
No. The final date for taking the BEC section is Dec. 15, 2023. BEC will not be available after that date nor in 2024 or beyond. Please review the Transition Policy Chart to better understand which sections can be taken in lieu of BEC in 2024, if necessary.
Please note, BEC Notice to Schedule (NTS) is not transferrable to another section. It cannot be refunded or extended. Any unused BEC NTS will expire Dec. 15, 2023.
The tentative 2024 testing schedule and score release schedule is now available. Please note that these dates are tentative pending further review by AICPA. Both the testing schedules and the score release schedules will be atypical throughout 2024.
It is currently anticipated that testing will commence on Jan. 10, 2024, for all sections. While the Core sections (AUD, FAR and REG) will be available for scheduling through March 26, 2024, the Discipline sections (BAR, ISC and TCP) will only be available through Feb. 6, 2024, in the first quarter. Scores are anticipated to only be released once per test section per quarter due to necessary standard-setting analyses and activities.
Candidates have a choice of which Discipline section to take, so not all candidates will take all Discipline sections. This means that for a given Discipline section, the number of candidates taking it will be much lower than the number of candidates taking the Core sections.
The analysis of test data requires a certain number of candidates. If a smaller number of candidates take an exam section over a longer period, everyone will have to wait longer for scores. To minimize the amount of time any given candidate needs to wait for a score, the Discipline sections will be administered in a shorter period of time. The shorter time for the Discipline sections also allows us to address other fairness and security objectives.
Whenever a new exam is launched, additional analysis is needed to release candidate scores. The schedule for score releases in 2024 is similar to that in 2011 and 2017, when new versions of the CPA exam were launched.
With the new exam blueprints, there is a good deal of new content on the exams, and this requires additional analysis after candidates have completed testing. For the first quarter of a new exam, a new passing score must be set, and this requires further analysis in several steps. Accordingly, scores for the first quarter take longer than scores for subsequent quarters.
It is important to note that for each quarter in 2024, candidates will receive their scores in time to take the same exam section in the next quarter if they choose.
We anticipate a more typical exam schedule and score release timeline for the Core sections after 2024. Currently, we are unable to determine the exam schedule and score release timeline for the Discipline sections post 2024.
Not exactly. The AUD Core section closely aligns with the current AUD section. Some content previously assessed in FAR, for example accounting for state and local governments, has been moved to the BAR Discipline. The REG Core section retains the same content areas, but some content currently assessed in REG has been allocated to the TCP Discipline. As part of the CPA Evolution initiative, the AICPA, under the governance of the Board of Examiners, has conducted a practice analysis research study, the results of which define the knowledge and skills required for each of the Core and Discipline sections of the 2024 CPA exam.
No. Candidates will be required to pass AUD, FAR and REG under either the current exam or the 2024 CPA exam. Selecting and passing one Discipline section will replace passing BEC after the 2024 CPA exam launches.
No. Candidates are allowed to pass and retain credit for only one Discipline section starting in 2024, assuming they have not retained credit for BEC in 2023 or prior. Candidates may not take additional Disciplines. The only exceptions are (i) if a candidate’s credit for one Discipline expires or (ii) if a candidate fails a Discipline section, the candidate is allowed to select a different Discipline in which to be tested, if they so choose.
Prometric understands that there could be high demand for CPA exam testing appointments in the second half of 2023. As such, they are prepared to increase hours and add days, as possible. Candidates should not assume that appointments will be available exactly when and where they optimally wish to test. Candidates should schedule as early as possible and are strongly recommended to schedule at least 60 days or more in advance to obtain the best appointments available. Candidates are discouraged to wait until the last few days of a window to schedule appointments should there be weather or other events impacting testing.
It will not change. Candidates must continue to use the current Prometric online tools at CPA | Prometric to check seat availability, locate sites, schedule, confirm or reschedule/cancel appointments.