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2017 CPA Exam Changes


New CPA’s are faced with greater challenges than ever before. With the ever-increasing requirements and codes, accountants are pushed to pursue knowledge of the accounting intricacies even more. As many of you may have heard, the CPA exam will have an entirely new version launching on April 1, 2017! The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has recognized the need for an even more advanced accountant and will hold that person to a higher level of scrutiny when it comes to becoming a CPA. The AICPA realized that the challenges CPAs face have grown at a much more rapid pace than they once did, largely due to technological advancements. The computer, Internet, and various software adaptations have eliminated the tasks that fresh staff accountants would spend their first year or even two years doing- simply through automation. All of the reports and documents that used to be initiated and completed by hand are becoming automated to the point of just simply telling the program what you need it to do. That has taken away from many of the responsibilities a young accountant would be tasked with starting out in their career. Therefore, as a new generation of accountants, we must adapt to the new responsibilities carved out for us and this new CPA Exam hopes to do just that.
The AICPA recognized this change in what firms are demanding out of in their new public accounting staff. Therefore, to better prepare this generation of CPAs they’ve made an entirely new version of the exam and all four parts that it encompasses. According to the AICPA, professional content knowledge will remain fundamental to protecting the public interest. The AICPA has expressed that it is critical for newly licensed CPAs to be competent in: recognizing issues, identifying errors, challenging assumptions, and applying both professional judgment and skepticism. These are all very important skills for any professional, especially for the increasingly demanding public accounting role. Another way the exam is changing- it is becoming more content integrated. For example- A question on the Auditing and Attestation that previously only evaluated inventory observation may go a level deeper into the content and test some inventory valuation/obsolescence or sales cutoff considerations. This would have traditionally been tested more extensively on the Financial Accounting and Reporting exam.
What does this mean for companies who have an external auditor or tax accountant? It means that your people can feel more confident that you will receive the highest attention to detail and best advice you can from your CPA Firm. The AICPA is constantly adapting to the ever-changing accounting practices and standards, which can give you assurance that you will receive the highest level of service from your accountants. CPA firms who are seeking newly licensed CPAs will know that they are prepared for the more demanding workload that will be handed down and confident that they will succeed. I look forward to this new Exam’s release and working with the new generation of CPAs to come.


Written by: Austin Neal