Home » CPA Exam Changes From 2020 to 2024: Here’s What You Need to Know

CPA Exam Changes From 2020 to 2024: Here’s What You Need to Know

The most popular Google searches by CPA candidates are to identify changes in the exam for 2020. Changes might make things more difficult for anyone taking the exam, but when it comes right down to it, it ensures that new CPAs have the skills and the knowledge to protect the public interest.

As the world continues to evolve, so must CPAs and their knowledge. That’s why the NASB and AICPA worked to overhaul the exam for 2020, but they enlisted the State Boards of Accountancy’s help as well. One of the newest items, among the tools explored in the latest CPA exam, is variance analysis CPA exam.

New Roles, New Rules

The new CPA exam’s primary case is the changing role of a CPA in today’s world. This is reflected in the fact that not only did the NASBA and the AICPA reform the Uniform CPA Examination Blueprints, but they also worked closely with universities nationwide to create a curriculum that reflects the changes that were proposed in the CPA exam. The new CPA exam that was finally adopted will be launched in January 2024.

New Standard, New Model

In specific ways, the path to becoming a CPA will remain the same as before, with licensure dependent on core competencies in accounting, auditing, tax, and technology. A second aspect, Discipline will supplement this. In this, candidates will need to show their skills in one of three areas:

  • Business analysis and reporting
  • Tax planning and compliance
  • Information controls and systems

Exam Format Changes

To date, the CPA exam’s final format probably won’t be finalized for a while. Based on what is already available, however, it is safe to assume that the final exam will consist of four parts. Each of these parts will be designed to test the competency of candidates in different areas. Three of these areas will cover the core content, while the fourth will cover “discipline,” as described above. Therefore, it would be smart to select the “tax planning and compliance” discipline if that is your strong suit.

Three Disciplines, One License

Despite being able to select one of three disciplines in the Core-Plus-Disciplines-Model, there is still only one CPA license. For this reason, a CPA certificate will reflect a person who holds the license, but only the license. Nothing will reflect the discipline they have chosen.

So, What Does This Mean to Candidates?

All this talk about CPA evolution is meaningless until it is explained that the final exam format will be changed by January 2024. Further, by the time the exam changes its format, candidates will need to demonstrate their skills in the core competencies plus a discipline. This will probably make taking the CPA exam much more challenging. Fortunately, this should not be a big problem for those who already consider the CPA exam a big challenge.

However, most experts agree that anyone who is considering earning a CPA certification should seriously consider taking the exam before 2024 since the existing exam is considered easier to take. The truth is that the exam has never been considered “easy.” In the real world of accounting, so many aspects of the job have been outsourced, or taken over by software, that CPAs have been leaning towards skills in analysis and problem solving for some time.