Changes proposed for CPA exam would enhance higher-order skills testing

Changes proposed for CPA exam would enhance higher-order skills testing

The AICPA has proposed changes to the Uniform CPA Examination that are designed to enhance testing of higher-order skills that newly licensed CPAs need to possess in the wake of changes in the profession that have altered job responsibilities.

The proposed changes to the exam have been crafted to reflect the profession’s evolution and keep the exam in step with the profession. In an exposure draft issued Tuesday, Maintaining the Relevance of the Uniform CPA Examination, the AICPA seeks comment on proposed changes, which would take effect during 2017. The ED is available on the AICPA website. Comments are due Nov. 30, and final decisions on the exam’s content and format are expected to be announced in the spring of 2016.

Under the proposal, the exam would retain its four existing sections—Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). But many other changes would be associated with the exam, including: 

Enhanced testing of higher-order cognitive skills that include critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical ability, and professional skepticism. 

A blueprint for each section of the exam illustrating the knowledge and skills that will be tested, which are linked directly to tasks that are representative of the work of a newly licensed CPA. The blueprints would replace the current Content Specification Outline and Skill Specification Outline and would contain more information for candidates, academics, regulators, and others. Read more on Journal of Accountancy.