CPA Exam Update

The CPA Exam is one of the primer professional exams in the country.  When the CPA exam was converted to the current computerized format several years ago, many people might have thought the development of the new exam was a one time effort, but that is far from the truth.  The CPA exam is continually evolving.  Earlier this year, questions about IFRS started to appear on the exam.  Given the growing number of U.S. CPAs that are utilizing IFRS because their employers (foreign companies and their U.S. subsidiaries) are using IFRS, it is appropriate to start including the subject on the exam.   Another update to the exam was to include task based simulations.  These are short simulations akin to a subcomponent of the simulations previously found on the exam, but more focused on how future CPAs are actually expected to perform on the job. An additional benefit of the task based simulations is faster grading which will enable scores to be released quicker starting this quarter. 

Instead of scores being released in two rounds, one week before the end of the testing period and two weeks after, scores will be initially released one month after the testing round begins and every two weeks thereafter.  This will allow candidates, especially those that take the test early in the testing window to find out their score earlier and then decide if they need to continue studying for the next section of the test or go back and do more work on the previous section.  Since the move to the computerized exam, more and more candidates are taking the CPA exam one section at a time during each testing window.  The faster release of scores will help these candidates maintain their study schedule and reduce wasted effort.

Another change in the exam is its availability internationally.  Candidates must still sign up through a State Board, but they can take the exam in five locations including Japan and several countries in the Middle East.  The first international exams were successfully given earlier this year.  The AICPA recently announced an additional international location, Brazil, which will begin offering the exam in 2012.  Brazil will be a key location in South America allowing not only citizens of Brazil, but also those of other nearby countries to take the exam

The international exam is the same exam given in the U.S. so candidates must be able to proficiently read and respond in English.  In addition, candidates must agree to be on a track to CPA licensure through a participating State Board in the U.S.  Offering the exam in international locations, however, enables us to continue to expand the global reach of the CPA license.  This is an important step in ensuring that the Certified Public Accountant will continue to be one of the premier global accounting credentials.

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