Big changes are on the horizon for the CPA exam.
Officials with the AICPA have announced a series of groundbreaking changes in exam content and the ways in which that content is assessed. The changes are meant to reflect a new era for the profession, one driven by technology, complexity, and the evolving needs of CPAs’ clients and customers.
The changes couldn’t come at a better time. Technological advancements have left many core accounting functions vulnerable to automation. In a report titled “The future employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?” authors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne found that tax preparation has a 98.7 percent chance of being completely automated within the next 20 years. Accounting and auditing has a 93.5 percent chance of complete automation.
With automation breathing down their throats, CPAs must find new ways of adding value and staying relevant to their clients.
That’s where the new exam comes in.
The content reflects the changing nature of the profession. Candidates will now be tested on a wide range of skills beyond — in fact, arguably more important than — mere technical aptitude. Among the new skills tested will be critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, research, and business acumen.
“Content knowledge is foundational to protecting the public interest, but that alone is no longer enough,” Arleen Thomas, CPA, CGMA, the AICPA’s senior vice president of management accounting and global markets, told the crowd at the 2015 fall meeting of the AICPA’s Governing Council.
The changes don’t stop at content, though. According to the Journal of Accountancy, other changes to the CPA exam will include the following:
The new version of the exam will be officially announced in the first quarter of 2016. Candidates are expected to begin taking the new exam in 2017.
Get complete details about the new exam here.