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In Case You Missed It: Golf, Beyoncé, and the Next Version of the CPA Exam

BeyonceAnother busy tax season has passed and I can see the heads of CPAs have now risen from the grindstone. While your focus was on tax business and financial statements over the last several months, you may have missed some important news.

Golfer Jordan Spieth’s dream of winning back-to-back Masters sunk on the 12th hole, Beyoncé (or Queen Bey) released her deeply personal Lemonade album and set off a social media storm, the Villanova Wildcats upset UNC at the NCAA tournament, and the highly anticipated “Batman vs. Superman” movie could barely muster 27% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Oh, and along the lines of something important to the AICPA and the CPA profession, we announced details about the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination, which launches on April 1, 2017.

The coming Exam changes are the most significant in a more than a decade. They serve to maintain alignment with the work of newly licensed CPAs and preserve the strength and mission of the profession. The most prominent changes include:

  • Greater assessment of a candidate’s higher-order cognitive skills,
  • The introduction of in-depth section blueprints to illustrate the content and skills to be assessed, and
  • The expanded use of simulations, including within the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section for the very first time.

All of this information, as well as what went into the development of the next Exam, is covered in the Practice Analysis Final Report released on April 4.

To educate current and future candidates about the next Exam, the AICPA maintains a dedicated web page featuring valuable information, such as FAQs, a highlight video and links to sample tests. To provide additional clarity to candidates, the AICPA also released a white paper detailing the testlet and break structure of the next Exam, which is a helpful resource when preparing for the test.

The launch of the next Exam is a major announcement and I’m confident that those of you in public accounting will take note because of the impact on your employees. With thousands of newly hired associates joining the ranks of public accounting firms each year, a wave of new candidates will join those already sitting for the Exam. It’s critical that all of them understand the differences between today’s Exam and the next version coming in 2017 – an absolute must if they want to succeed. This is why we began communicating the changes a year prior to launch.

The AICPA, along with its partners at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Prometric test centers, are at the ready with the most up-to-date and accurate information about the next Exam. Our outreach to candidates and other key stakeholders will continue beyond April 2017. We welcome opportunities to share information and help firms and companies educate their newest associates preparing for the Exam. The AICPA’s Examinations team is always available throughout the year and looks forward to helping candidates navigate these changes.

Mike Decker, Vice President-Examinations, American Institute of CPAs. 

Beyonce courtesy of Asterio Tecson via Wikimedia Commons.


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