AICPA and NASBA Launch CPA Evolution Curriculum Model

The AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) on Tuesday launched the CPA Evolution Model Curriculum (CPAEMC), a recommended model for an accounting program designed to help educators prepare graduates for the changing demands of the profession. of CPA. The CPAEMC describes the suggested courses that colleges and universities can offer to align their accounting programs with CPA Evolution, a new CPA licensing model set to debut in 2024.

As part of the CPA Evolution model, candidates for the CPA exam will all take three main sections, which will test their fundamental knowledge in the areas of accounting, auditing and tax / regulation, recognizing the impact of technology in these three areas. They will then take an exam section in one of three disciplines of their choice: Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP), Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), or Information Systems and Controls (ISC). The AICPA plans to roll out a new version of the CPA exam based on this model in 2024.

Working groups of educators and practitioners, representing schools and employers of all sizes across the United States, developed the CPAEMC during a multi-month collaborative process. They reviewed the most recent CPA exam plans and lists of learning objectives and decided what material to keep, omit or add, while considering the information from the most recent practice analysis.

Their goal, said BAR co-chair Kimberly Swanson Church, Ph.D., director of the School of Accountancy at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, was to include topics that new accountants hires needed to know the most during their first two years of employment. The material that has been removed “is still important, but it is material that they are less likely to be exposed to” early in their careers, she said.

The CPAEMC is meant to serve as a starting point for how schools can reinvent their programs, said senior co-chair Wendy Tietz, CPA, CGMA, Ph.D., professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. “Each program is going to reflect this model program differently,” she said. Schools will need to look at their resources, their students and their local employers and determine how to shape the CPA Evolution curriculum model to best meet the needs of their programs, she said.

CPAEMC puts more emphasis on technology. The ISC discipline has a strong technology focus and the BAR discipline includes data analysis.

TCP Co-Chair Stephanie Saunders, CPA, owner of Saunders and Saunders in Virginia Beach, Va., Endorsed the importance of technology within CPAEMC and said it will help the profession stay relevant.

“Suddenly we saw that companies were hiring IT professionals and not accounting graduates,” she said. “It was a wake-up call. What we need to do is make sure that the CPA exam and training is aligned with what is really going on in practice today.

Audrey Katcher, CPA / CITP, CGMA, SAI Co-Chair and Partner and Head of IT Risk Management Services, which includes insurance and advisory services, at RubinBrown in St. Louis, said CPAEMC would help ultimately employers hire candidates with the right skills sets. “It has become difficult to find candidates with the necessary computer skills,” she said.

Members of the task force kept the needs of small schools in mind throughout the CPAEMC development process, Church said. “We have always been very mindful of budgets and resources,” she said. “Whenever we added a learning objective, we were discussing how it could be implemented,” she said, considering factors such as the availability of free or low-cost software to teach. some technological skills.

Smaller accounting programs may decide to partner with other schools or departments to give students more exposure to the topics covered in all three disciplines, Tietz said. For example, some of the material in the ISC discipline could be covered in computer science or management information systems courses, she said. Church said CPA Evolution had inspired her to “walk down the aisle to the IT department” and talk to the head of that department about how they can work together.

Practitioners will want to pay attention to CPAEMC because “it’s a signal as to where the profession is going and gives you an idea of ​​what your new hires will be up to,” Church said. “It reveals the evolution of the profession that we have all observed over the past 10 years.

“I am happy that the fundamentals of accounting have been retained,” she added, “but I am also delighted to see the profession embrace emerging and disruptive technologies. “

AICPA and NASBA present CPAEMC to educators at a two day free launch event in which members of the CPAEMC working groups discuss in depth topics and learning objectives for their subjects.

The AICPA provides educators with resources they can use to help implement CPAEMC in their schools and integrate more technology into their lessons. Educators can access these resources through the Academic Resource Center and receive updates by signing up for free Additional credit bulletin, joining the AICPA LinkedIn group of academics, or visiting EvolutionofCPA.org.

Courtney L. Vien ([email protected]) is a JofA senior editor.

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