The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification has long been regarded as an ideal achievement for accounting professionals, opening doors to rewarding career opportunities and a world of financial expertise. In this blog, we will delve into the transformative CPA Evolution set to take place in 2024 and its implications for aspiring accountants in India. We will also explore the education and experience prerequisites, the motive behind these changes, and how they align with global accounting standards.
To be eligible for the U.S. CPA Exam, candidates must possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree. However, the specific credit requirements can vary by state. Many states allow candidates to sit for the exam with 120 credits, including particular accounting credits. To obtain the CPA license, all states require a total of 150 credits, including specific accounting and non-accounting credits.
The Evolution of CPA
So, why is the CPA credential evolving in 2024? The answer lies in the rapidly changing landscape of the accounting profession. Here are some key reasons behind the evolution:
Adapting to Technological Advancements
The rapid pace of technological advancement means accountants need to continuously enhance their skills. Relying solely on their current expertise is no longer sufficient in a world where data and technology are integral to the profession.
Competencies and expectations for aspiring CPAs are regularly updated by organizations like NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) and AICPA (American Institute of CPAs). To remain relevant and competitive, the CPA credential must evolve to reflect these changes.
The AICPA Governing Council and the NASBA Board of Directors have recently approved CPA Evolution, an initiative to revamp the CPA Exam by 2024, incorporating new skills alongside core accounting competencies.
CPA 2024 Evolution Content Changes
Incorporating Data and Technology
As part of the CPA Evolution initiative, the AICPA has reaffirmed that “data and technology” will be assessed in all Core and Discipline exam sections. Candidates will be evaluated on their understanding of how data is structured and how information flows through IT systems and business practices.
Higher-Order Skills Assessment
Moreover, all Core and Discipline sections will test “higher-order skills,” including critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical ability, professional skepticism, and research. These skills are essential in today’s dynamic and complex business environment.
What’s Changing in the CPA Exam Structure
Current Exam Structure
The CPA Exam, as it stands before the CPA Evolution, is comprised of four primary sections:
Auditing and Attestation (AUD): This section assesses a candidate’s knowledge of auditing engagements, attestation engagements, and the responsibilities of a CPA.
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC): BEC focuses on business concepts, economic concepts, financial management, information technology, and planning and measurement.
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR): FAR delves into financial accounting and reporting frameworks, financial statement accounts, and the standard-setting process.
Regulation (REG): This section covers federal taxation, ethics, professional responsibilities, and business law.
New Exam Structure
With the CPA Evolution coming into effect in 2024, the CPA Exam will undergo a significant transformation:
The new exam structure will feature three mandatory Core sections. These Core sections encompass knowledge and skills that are universal to all CPAs:
Auditing and Attestation (AUD): Similar to the current structure, AUD assesses a candidate’s understanding of auditing and attestation engagements, as well as the responsibilities of a CPA in these contexts.
Financial Auditing and Reporting (FAR): This section focuses on financial accounting and reporting frameworks, financial statement accounts, and the standard-setting process, much like the current FAR section.
Taxation and Regulation (REG): REG covers federal taxation, ethics, professional responsibilities, and business law, aligning with the current REG section.
In contrast to the current structure, the CPA Exam will no longer include the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section. Instead, candidates will be required to pass one of three discipline sections:Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR): BAR will assess a candidate’s ability to analyze and report on business-related topics, providing a deeper understanding of business concepts.Information Systems and Controls (ISC): ISC focuses on information systems and controls, ensuring that CPAs have the necessary skills to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology and data.Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP): TCP delves into tax compliance and planning, equipping candidates with expertise in tax regulations and strategies.
CPA Exam Transition Policy
Given the significant changes, it’s essential to understand the transition policy and how it impacts your CPA Exam study plan:
- If you pass the current CPA Exam’s AUD, FAR, and REG portions, you will not need to retake them.
- You will not need to take a Discipline portion if you pass the present edition of BEC.
- If you fail a Discipline section of the exam, you can switch to a different Discipline if you find that there is a better option for you.
These transition policies provide a degree of flexibility for candidates who may have already passed some sections of the current CPA Exam or who may want to adapt their study plan to align with the new structure.
NASBA’s Transition Policy
Understanding the impact of these changes on candidates is crucial. NASBA has implemented a transition policy to mitigate any potential challenges candidates may face.
CPA Examination Credit Extension Policy
Because CPA Evolution may have a negative impact on candidates with conditional exam credit, all but five jurisdictions approved NASBA’s exam credit extension policy on March 15, 2023; any candidate With Uniform CPA Examination credit(s) as of January 1, 2024, such credit(s) will be extended until June 30, 2025.
Exam Credit Validity Extension Proposal
Additionally, NASBA amended their credit extension recommendation on April 21, 2023, to be a 30-month extension through June 30, 2026. Individual Boards of Accountancy for each jurisdiction must determine if they will accept this updated recommendation.
In conclusion, the CPA Evolution in 2024 indicates exciting changes for the CPA certification, enhancing its relevance in the evolving accounting landscape. For aspiring Indian accountants, these changes present an opportunity to align with global accounting standards, with the guidance of Orbit Institute.
As a leading institution, we are committed to empowering students in India and worldwide to excel in the CPA Exam within the new CPA Evolution framework. With expert faculty and tailored study programs, we ensure students are well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the evolving accounting profession.
By embracing these changes and preparing for the CPA Exam under Orbit Institute’s guidance, Indian candidates can position themselves as highly sought-after accounting professionals. The CPA credential represents adaptability, expertise, and excellence in finance and accounting, and we are here to guide you on this journey.
Stay informed and prepared as the accounting profession evolves with the CPA Evolution 2024. Choose Orbit Institutes to lead your path to success in the dynamic world of accounting.