Beginning in 2024, those looking to partake in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam can expect changes to the exam’s structure and format.
As a part of the CPA Evolution initiative, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) will introduce a new core-plus-discipline model starting in January of next year.
How is the CPA Exam changing?
According to Joshua Filzen, director of Boise State University’s online Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA), current Boise State students and graduates preparing for the exam should be on the lookout for three key adjustments to the exam.
The existing three “cores” of the CPA exam — accounting, auditing and taxes — will remain unchanged. These sections will continue to be required, but candidates will also be tested on their aptitude in at least one of three new disciplines.
Three main disciplines of the new CPA Exam will focus on Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) and Information Systems and Controls (ISC). Those taking the CPA exam must pass each core section along with one discipline section of their choice.
Filzen said while the main structure of the CPA Exam might not be what new and existing online MSA students were expecting, Boise State will continue to evaluate and adapt curricula to best fit the needs of students.
“We have evaluated the new CPA Exam blueprints and believe our MSA program will continue to provide a strong foundation for the updated CPA Exam core,” Filzen said. “We recommend that students choose courses in the program beyond our required courses that will best help with the discipline they are most interested in taking.”
Whether that includes taking additional classes focused on financial accounting, managerial accounting or courses in business analytics and reporting, Filzen said it’s always a good idea for students to broaden their accountancy understanding to better prepare for the CPA Exam.
What are the new disciplines in the CPA Exam?
With three new discipline areas for CPA Exam candidates to choose from, Boise State Online MSA students might have questions about which disciplines they should prepare for during their degree program. Boise State Online student success coaches are on call for prospective students to help students decide which discipline they should focus on before enrolling. For current students, Boise State Online advisors can help evaluate current curricula and recommend the best path forward.
Business Analysis and Reporting
According to the AICPA, candidates interested in the BAR discipline should be skilled in assurance or advisory services, reporting financial statements, technical accounting and financial and operations management. The BAR discipline will cover many practical business accounting principles, including financial risk management, hedge accounting and employee benefit financials.
Information Systems and Controls
The ISC discipline will test CPA candidates on various systems, including assurance or advisory services related to business processes, information systems, information security and governance and IT audits.
Tax Compliance and Planning
The TCP discipline centers on advanced tax compliance for individuals and entities, including personal financial planning, income inclusions and exclusions, gift tax compliance and entity planning. Advanced entity tax topics may include consolidated returns, multijurisdictional issues and transactions between entities and their owners. Tax implications of forming and liquidating business entities may also be covered.