Changes Coming to the US CPA Exam in 2024


Welcome to the Orbit Institutes’ blog! In this first part, we’ll discuss the upcoming changes to the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, effective from 2024. The CPA exam is a crucial milestone for aspiring accountants, testing their knowledge and skills to ensure readiness for a successful career. Join us as we explore the revamped structure of the exam, including the new format and requirements.

The Current CPA Exam Structure:

Before we delve into the updates, let’s briefly review the existing CPA exam structure. The current format consists of four exams:

  1. AUD (Auditing and Attestation)
  2. REG (Regulation)
  3. FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting)
  4. BEC (Business Environment and Concepts)

Aspiring CPAs must pass all four exams within 18 months, starting from the completion of their first exam.

Introducing the 2024 CPA Exam Structure:

Starting in 2024, the CPA exam will undergo significant changes. The new structure will comprise three core sections:

  1. AUD
  2. FAR
  3. REG

This change aims to align the exam with the evolving demands of the accounting profession and ensure that candidates possess the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in their careers.

Notably, the BEC section will be replaced by three discipline options:

  1. BAR (Business Analysis and Reporting)
  2. ISC (Information Systems and Controls)
  3. TCP (Tax Compliance and Planning)

Candidates will need to choose one discipline from these options to complete their exam, allowing them to specialize in areas aligned with their interests and career goals.

Understanding the Core Sections:

AUD (Auditing and Attestation):

The AUD section will test candidates’ understanding of auditing procedures, internal controls, professional ethics, and the ability to assess risk and gather sufficient evidence. This section will evaluate their competence in evaluating financial statements and performing audit engagements. It will ensure that aspiring CPAs have a solid foundation in auditing principles and practices.

FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting):

FAR will assess candidates’ knowledge of financial accounting principles, reporting standards, and specialized areas such as governmental and nonprofit accounting. This section will gauge their ability to analyze financial statements, perform consolidations, and interpret complex accounting transactions. A strong understanding of financial accounting is crucial for CPAs to provide accurate and reliable financial information.

REG (Regulation):

REG will evaluate candidates’ understanding of federal taxation, business law, and professional ethics. This section will cover topics such as individual and business taxation, estate planning, contract law, and business ethics. It will ensure that CPAs possess the necessary knowledge to navigate the legal and regulatory framework governing the accounting profession.

These core sections of the CPA exam will provide a comprehensive assessment of candidates’ knowledge and skills in key areas of accounting, preparing them for the challenges they will face in their professional careers.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series, where we will explore the new discipline options and the transition policy for the 2024 CPA exam changes. We will delve into the specific details of each discipline option, highlighting the skills and knowledge they entail, as well as the benefits they offer to aspiring CPAs. Additionally, we will discuss the transition policy, ensuring a smooth and fair transition for candidates who have already earned credits in specific sections.

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