CPA Evolution Project Continues with Proposed Changes to CPA Exam, Educational Requirements for Initial Licensure

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) Eastern Regional Meeting, held virtually this spring, covered several issues – most notably the CPA Evolution Project. 

NASBA, in partnership with the AICPA, has spent almost two years gathering input from around 3,000 individuals, including the CTCPA Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and Educators Group, to set a plan in place.  
 
Proposed Changes to the CPA Exam
 
Today’s and tomorrow’s CPAs must be ready to adapt to the ongoing changes in the world and the accounting profession. Students who are entering the field must be prepared with the skills they need to thrive in their work environment. Surveys conducted throughout college campuses yielded important information concerning both student and educator opinions. While a majority of those surveyed were in favor of the evolution, they requested that NASBA keep them updated and provide the necessary resources to make this change possible. 
 
The proposed CPA Exam will follow the core + discipline model. Each student will need to master the core and then test their expertise in one additional discipline.  Regardless of chosen discipline, this model leads to full CPA licensure, with rights and privileges consistent with any other CPA. A discipline selected for testing would not mean the CPA is limited to that practice area. 
 
Research into how these Exam modifications might affect the pipeline and student interest in sitting for the CPA Exam showed that 91% of rising juniors and senior have already chosen an area of focus, making this Exam model desirable to candidates. 

These changes will require rule changes in seven states, including Connecticut, to modify the specificity of the sections required on the CPA Exam. We are already working with the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy to modify the Connecticut regulations. 

Please check our website for updates on this matter and others addressed at the June Connecticut State Board of Accountancy meeting. 
 
Proposed Changes to Educational Requirements
 
As part of the CPA Evolution initiative, NASBA and AICPA leadership recommended that the UAA Model Rules around educational requirements for licensure be updated to create more consistency and flexibility. Those changes are currently exposed for public comment. The proposed Model Rule changes would:
 
  • Align the UAA Model Rules with what many state boards of accountancy are already requiring today.
  • Recognize the large role technology plays in the CPA profession today.
  • Help students in their pursuit of 150 credit hours by expanding the number of credit hours that can be earned through internships; the maximum number of elective internship hours would be increased from six to nine.
  • Clarify the role that accreditation plays when a state board of accountancy is reviewing a candidate’s transcript.
The Exposure Draft is available at www.evolutionofcpa.org, and comments can be submitted to via email to uaacomments@nasba.org until August 31, 2020. 
 
On May 20, 2020, the AICPA Governing Council voted in support of advancing the CPA Evolution initiative. The NASBA Board of Directors will consider a vote at their July 2020 meeting. The new Exam is targeted to launch in January 2024. 
 
Learn more and read FAQs at www.evolutionofcpa.org