Passing the CPA exam is a necessary step toward becoming a certified public accountant. As with any exam, preparation is critical, and part of that preparation is being aware of the changes to the exam that sometimes occur. The CPA exam has at least a few changes almost every year, so why waste time studying outdated topics? Let’s review some of the latest modifications, preview some major upcoming changes, and see what all these mean for you.

2021 Changes to the CPA Exam

In 2021, the exam retained its longstanding four-section format, which consists of:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

There were, however, changes to some of the sections, mainly the AUD and BEC. Like many professions, accountancy has become increasingly technology- and data-driven in recent years. The exam was updated to reflect this and now includes content covering artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analytics, and accounting business process automation. The AUD and BEC sections now assess candidates’ competencies in how to access and use data and how new technological frameworks affect an accountant’s clients.

The FAR and REG sections also saw changes, including the removal of questions about the alternative minimum tax, the estate tax, trusts, benefit pension plans, and differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS accounting standards. An updated Uniform CPA Examination® Blueprints document reflects all the July 2021 changes to the exam.

Big Changes on the Horizon

The CPA exam will continue to evolve throughout the early 2020s, with the most significant changes expected to be introduced in January of 2024. A new format called the “core + discipline” model will give candidates a greater ability to gear the exam toward their areas of interest. The exam has long been comprised of four core four-hour sections but is changing to a three-section core format (including accounting, auditing, and tax). Exam takers will be able to choose additional content from the following disciplines:

  • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR)
  • Information Systems and Controls (ISC)
  • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)

What CPA Exam Changes Mean for You

Due to the ever-evolving nature of the CPA exam, it’s important to make sure you focus your studying on the latest topics and prepare yourself for the rigors of the multi-section format. Any preparation you may have done in years past might be out of date, so always check with leading industry organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). If you’re planning to take the CPA exam in the next year or so, one of the best ways you can prepare is through The University of Texas Permian Basin’s online Master of Professional Accountancy program.

Achieve Eligibility Through Our 100% Online Program

Presented by our AACSB-accredited College of Business, UT Permian Basin’s online Master of Professional Accountancy program helps you become eligible to sit for the CPA exam by empowering you with comprehensive knowledge of contemporary accounting principles and business applications. You’ll become proficient in traditional and modern accounting practices while acquiring skills that will enable you to expertly navigate an ever-evolving business landscape.

Presented in a 100% online, asynchronous format, our program allows you to complete coursework on your own schedule from practically anywhere in the world. And that’s just one of the benefits:

  • Earn a career-boosting graduate credential while still meeting your work and personal commitments.
  • Finish most program courses in eight weeks or fewer (summer sessions are seven weeks each).
  • Learn from the same renowned PhD-level accounting experts and CPAs who teach courses at the UT Permian Basin campus.
  • Graduate with a Master of Professional Accountancy in as little as one year.

Our program meets the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy requirements to sit for the CPA exam and attain certification in Texas. Confirm whether it also meets your state’s board of accountancy requirements here.

What Comes Next

After you complete our Master of Professional Accountancy program, you’ll have met important requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Texas. Once you become a CPA, you’ll be able to enjoy higher earning potential and compete for many more professional opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some employers give preferential treatment to candidates with a master’s degree. With the dual credentials of a CPA license and a Master of Professional Accountancy added to your resume, there’s no limit to how far you can go in your accounting career!

Prepare yourself for success as a CPA with an online Master of Professional Accountancy from UT Permian Basin.