A New Exam for a Changing Profession

Say goodbye to the pencil-and-paper CPA exam. The last such exam is set for November. Come spring 2004, a new computer-based exam will be launched in its place that tests candidates on both their technical proficiency and their ability to integrate business knowledge

New Structure and Content
Being developed under the guidance of the American Institute of CPAs Board of Examiners (BOE), the revised exam will emphasize the analytical, communication and research skills that are critical — along with technical expertise — in today’s business environment.

The exam will more accurately reflect the knowledge and skills that employers require of entry-level CPAs. To meet that goal, the BOE’s Content Committee, comprising academics and accounting professionals, reviewed the results of the 2000 Accounting Practice Analysis to determine what content areas the exam should cover. The resulting four sections are: Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, and Business Environment and Concepts.

The table below compares the areas tested under the current structure and the revised structure. The percentage shows how much each topic counts for within that section of the exam.

Current Exam (and Weight in %)

Revised Exam (and Weight in %)

Auditing (100%)

Auditing & Attestation (4.5 hours)

100% Covers knowledge of auditing procedures, generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS), and other standards related to attest engagements.

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