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A Test For Tomorrow’s CPA’s

As an accounting instructor, I am currently planning on how to prepare my students for the 2024 CPA exam: A test for tomorrow’s CPAs.
After considering several models, the AICPA and NASBA proposed a core-plus-discipline approach that will require our students to demonstrate proficiency in the three core areas of accounting, tax, and technology, plus skills in one of the following three disciplines:
• Tax compliance and planning;
• Business reporting and analysis; or
• Information systems and controls.
I need to be prepared to incorporate those changes in my lectures, and provide my students the knowledge, the technology and embed all those resources in the curriculum.
By January 2024, the AICPA and NASBA plan to launch a new CPA Exam. The two organizations recently announced their plans for the “CPA Evolution” initiative that will affect the CPA Exam content and format starting in 2024.
The AICPA and NASBA keep up with trends in the accounting profession. They monitor the types of skills that accountants need as the global business landscape evolves. As business practices and financial regulations change, the CPA Exam needs to be revised to ensure that it tests the skills that future CPAs will need to meet tomorrow’s accounting challenges.
Today’s CPAs are being asked to do less number crunching, busywork, and more intense financial analyses.
Therefore, if my students are at the beginning of their career, they will be expected to have a high level of problem-solving skills. Our students and all future CPAs will need the following proficiencies to meet current demands:
• High-level critical thinking and problem-solving skills
• The ability to apply professional judgment and skepticism
• Understanding of business practices, including controls and risks
• Data management and data analysis
• The ability to perform SOC (System and Organization Controls) engagements
The accounting profession has seen drastic changes in the last few decades, especially in the number of codes and standards that CPAs must follow.
Our accounting textbooks and curriculum reflect:
Changes in the Tax Code, Accounting Standards, Auditing Standards, etc. Accounting is a very dynamic profession, constantly changing and the sheer volume of content knowledge that our students need to pass the CPA exam is growing.
The CPA Evolution is a significant initiative with many players:
• Small, medium, and large CPA firms
• State Boards of Accountancy
• Active CPAs
• Technology experts
• Academia
• Federal regulators
The CPA Exam will change by January 2024. Our CPA candidates will need to demonstrate their skills in the core content areas plus a sub-discipline.
The result: The CPA Exam will become much more challenging.
According to the AICPA, “The CPA of the future needs to have a data and digital mindset in order to understand complex business processes and controls and to work with digital tools and technologies. It is important that CPAs at a minimum have an understanding of data—and where and how it may be accessed—to be able to converse with clients about data and its potential use.”
Exam takers will find most of the changes related to technology in the Auditing and Attestation (AUD) and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) sections.
New CPAs must have an understanding of business processes from inception to completion, including automation, risks and internal controls, a digital and data-driven mindset, and facility with data analytics.
The newly licensed CPAs must continue to protect the public interest, including:
• Critical thinking, problem solving, analytical ability, and professional skepticism
• Effective communication skills
• Well-developed research skills
• A strong understanding of the business environment and processes
• Ethics and professional responsibilities
In closing, we must determine if the content on the new exam is being covered in our degree plans.
If needed, we will develop resources and a curriculum that will prepare our students/future CPAs adequately for the profession.
This is challenging given the changing educational landscape due to COVID-19 but I’m confident here at the Cameron School of Business we’ll continue assisting our wonderful students no matter what!
Dr. Marina Grau
Visiting Assistant Professor
Accounting – Cameron School of Business

About the Author — Marina Grau

AvatarDr. Marina Grau attended the University of St. Thomas, where she graduated summa cum laude with a BBA in Accounting and an MBA in Marketing and Finance. Dr. Grau also attended Texas Southern University where she earned a Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education with a minor in Accounting.

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