The long-awaited timetable for the launch of the new CPA exam was made available today, with the announcement that the new computerized CPA exam will be made available beginning April 5, 2004.
The last opportunity to take the paper exam will be November 5 and 6, 2003. Unlike the current exam, which is only offered twice a year, the new computerized exam will be available six days a week for two out of every three months of the year, allowing more flexibility to accommodate user's schedules.
The AICPA will continue to create and grade the computerized CPA Examination, and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the state boards of accountancy will remain responsible for the overall administration of the exam to the more than 100,000 candidates each year. Prometric, a leading technology-based testing company, has been selected to deliver the examination to candidates through more than 300 testing centers in the United States and U.S. territories. (The selection of Prometric to deliver the exam was initially viewed as highly controversial because it is a subsidiary of the Thomson Corp., a key investor in the AICPA's CPA2Biz Web portal.)
The new exam will broaden the scope of audit and attest areas, and will place a greater emphasis than the current exam in the areas of research and communication, general business knowledge, and information technology. The computerized CPA exam will consist of the following:
- Auditing & Attestation
- Financial Accounting & Reporting
- Regulation - Ethics, Professional and Legal Responsibilities, and Business Law
- Regulation - Federal Taxation
- Business Environment & Concepts
"We are pleased to announce this important new phase in the long history of the CPA examination," said Barry C. Melancon, AICPA President and CEO. "All three parties have worked diligently to bring this initiative to fruition. The computerized CPA exam will better assess the skills that new CPAs must possess in order to carry out their essential charge: protection of the public interest."
"The state boards of accountancy are the only regulatory entities that can issue a license to practice public accounting in the United States – and they take that responsibility seriously," said David Costello, President and CEO of NASBA. "At the request of the state boards, a computer-based Uniform CPA Examination is being developed that will provide the states with a tool to ensure that new licensees possess the abilities our economy demands."