AICPA Announces Launch of New Uniform CPA Examination Format

New York, N.Y. (January 5, 2011) – The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, and Prometric have launched the new Uniform CPA Examination, called CBT-e, which includes for the first time questions on International Financial Reporting Standards among other sweeping and significant changes.

Changes were approved by the AICPA Board of Examiners based on input from state boards of accountancy in response to an Invitation to Comment, and a Practice Analysis designed to ensure the exam tests the modern knowledge and skills that are relevant for today’s entry-level CPAs. The new IFRS questions and other changes to the exam are the first major revisions since the CPA exam was computerized in 2004.

Overall, more emphasis is being placed on skills assessment using case study-based questions known as Task-Based Simulations. Authoritative literature in the CPA exam incorporates use of new Financial Accounting Standards Board codifications of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Professional responsibilities including ethics and independence have been added to the Auditing and Attestation section.

“The testing of IFRS knowledge and other international standards is a response to change in the business world in which new CPAs operate,” said Craig Mills, vice president of examinations for the AICPA. “We are proud and excited to be introducing innovations in this evolution of the computer-based test that both validate and update the content of the exam and improve the experience for candidates. The exam is one of three key requirements, along with education and experience, that help state boards and the profession maintain the highest standards and protect the public interest.”

The CPA exam is administered in 54 jurisdictions nationwide by the AICPA, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and Prometric. The exam also will be administered internationally for the first time in 2011 in Japan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

“The Uniform CPA Examination is unparalleled in its role as the exclusive licensing examination for CPA candidates in all states and jurisdictions,” said NASBA President and CEO David Costello.  “We are justifiably proud of our high quality examination and of our unique tri-party relationship with the examination developer, the AICPA, and our technology provider, Prometric.  The current announced changes to the licensing examination reflect the positive and proactive efforts of the state boards of accountancy, the AICPA, and NASBA to maintain the high quality of our prestigious examination.”

“These changes make the Uniform CPA Examination a world class test of top quality talent, skill and education and affirm its role as a global gateway to the accounting profession,” said Michael Brannick, president and CEO of Prometric. “We are proud of our successful partnership and the positive collaboration between Prometric, the AICPA and NASBA that bring this new evolution of the exam to life.”

Changes to the exam experience include a new calculator, literature search, research response, and spreadsheet tools. Candidates can look forward to an updated performance report providing information on strengths and weaknesses of their performance. Changes to the test design and development will allow test results to be reported to candidates faster as the year progresses. Uniform CPA Examination scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 99, with 75 as the passing score.

IFRS questions will test knowledge in a general way, primarily in the differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS. The AICPA continues to evaluate the application of IFRS in the profession as the U.S. moves toward international standards over the next five years.

A guide to the new CBT-e with specific information for students and exam candidates on changes is available on line at

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