Every year the AICPA approves various changes and updates to the CPA exam. In 2021 there are changes to all four sections of the exam, with significant changes occurring in the AUD and BEC sections. You can ensure you are prepared for the exam by taking a closer look at these 2021 changes.
Overall, the CPA exam will retain the same section structure and will still be tested in four 4-hour sections (for 16 hours total). These sections will continue to assess higher-order skills such as:
Most of the 2021 updates involve:
Organization Relevant to User Entities’ Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
The AUD section of the 2021 CPA exam will undergo some content and skill weighting changes.
Other changes made to the AUD section include:
The BEC section of the 2021 CPA exam will also undergo some content weighting changes, but skill weighting will remain the same.
Other changes made to the BEC section include:
Content and skill weighting will also remain the same for the FAR section of the 2021 CPA exam.
Notable changes to the FAR section include:
Content and skill weighting will also remain the same for the REG section of the 2021 CPA exam.
Notable changes to the REG section include:
In a few years, the CPA licensure model will be fully updated to reflect the evolving skills and competencies needed to be successful in accounting. These upcoming changes are called the CPA Evolution.
With the CPA Evolution, the CPA exam will be restructured and updated to a Core + Discipline Licensure Model. In this model, the core elements that everyone will be tested on are accounting, auditing, tax, and technology. And candidates will also get to choose one of three discipline areas to demonstrate deeper knowledge. These discipline areas are:
The CPA exam will still have four parts, it will just be updated to include the three core parts plus one discipline specific part. The exam will continue to be 16 examination hours total. There will be no designation of which discipline area you chose.
Wondering how long you should study for the CPA exam? Our answer is roughly 400 hours—give or take 100 hours depending on your education, how long you’ve been out of school, work experience, etc.
The knowledge and skills needed to be successful as a newly licensed CPA (nlCPA) change over time as the industry changes and different regulations, laws, and codes, etc., are updated. In order to ensure the CPA exam is preparing nlCPAs properly and testing on relevant skills and knowledge, the AICPA revises the CPA exam to ensure nlCPAs are being prepared adequately. These revisions can be large or minor and can include anything from adding new topics, to removing outdated information, to improving the testing experience.
The CPA Exam Blueprints are documents that outline the minimum knowledge and skills nlCPAs need to be proficient in their industry. These blueprints are used to update the CPA exam as they summarize the scope and content of each section that is covered in the exam.
The new set of CPA Exam Blueprints released by AICPA in late 2020 go into effect on July 1, 2021. These changes are what dictate the 2021 CPA exam changes in AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG. New blueprints are released yearly or multiple times per year, but fortunately, CPA exam review prep courses like Wiley CPA keep track of these changes and account for them when developing CPA exam study material, so you have less to worry about.
As you review upcoming changes to the 2021 CPA exam, you are probably wondering how prepared you are to sit for the exam. Well, we have good news because you can take Wiley’s Free CPA Practice Exam to see exactly where you stand. Developed in consultation with subject matter experts from Wiley CPA Exam Review, this free CPA practice exam is helpful for both individuals considering taking the CPA exam and those currently studying for the exam.