The CPA Exam has undergone several changes in 2018, including content updates that were eligible for testing on January 2, 2018 and a new user interface experience that will be launched on April 1st, 2018. The changes, while important, are much less impactful than the CPA Exam changes in 2017. However, it’s important to be aware of the changes so that you’re properly prepared on Exam day.
Here’s a list of the top 7 things you need to know about the 2018 CPA Exam changes:
1. New User Experience
The 2018 CPA Exam provides an enhanced (and better) user experience for CPA Candidates. This includes more user-friendly CPA Exam software that will go live in Prometric testing centers on April 1st, 2018.
Inclusion of Microsoft Excel Software
One of the AICPA’s goals for an enhanced CPA Exam user experience is to create a test-taking environment that replicates what a CPA Candidate would find in a professional, real-life work setting. As part of the updates, the AICPA will implement Microsoft Excel into the CPA Exam April 1, 2018. Having a solid working knowledge of Microsoft Excel is a key skill needed when working in the accounting field.
Larger Monitors at Prometric Testing Centers
New 23” high definition monitors will replace the smaller monitors previously used at Prometric Centers for the CPA Exam. CPA Candidates will be able to have a larger on-screen workspace to review Exam documents.
2. Auditing and Attestation (AUD) Exam Content Updates
The AUD Exam includes revisions to one of the content groups, as well as 12 representative tasks to reflect terminology updates in SAS 130, An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting.
CPA Candidates should also take note of some of the AUD content changes. Key changes include:
- SAS 132, The Auditor’s Consideration of an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern (AU-C 570)—Eligible for testing Q1
- SAS 133, Auditor Involvement with Exempt Offering Documents (Amends AU-C 560 and 925) —Eligible for testing Q3
3. Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) Exam Shifts in Focus
There are no changes to the representative tasks laid out in the BEC blueprints or any real changes to the BEC content. However, there has been a shift in content focus. Focused changes are seen in both Information Technology (IT) and Corporate Governance. Find out how both areas will be affected on our 2018 CPA Exam Changes page.
4. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) Exam Centers on Revenue Recognition
Revenue Recognition is a basic accounting principle under GAAP that determines the specific conditions under which an entity recognizes or accounts for revenue. The change to the FAR section of the CPA Exam falls in line with FASB’s issuance of a new Revenue Recognition standard, ASU 2014-09, Revenues from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) in May of 2014. The standard has been amended several times and went into effect for public organizations’ annual reporting periods that began after December 15, 2017, and nonpublic organizations’ annual reporting periods that began after December 15, 2018.
Previous versions of the CPA Exam tested on Revenue Recognition, however, it did not test at a very intricate level. This was primarily due to that fact there was such an abundance of rules, many very industry-specific, and the variations made it difficult to test thoroughly. Find out more on our 2018 FAR Exam changes page.
5. Regulation (REG) Exam & The New Tax Bill
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became public law on December 22nd, 2017. The tax overhaul is the first of its kind in over three decades and has significantly reformed both individual and corporate income taxes. This massive change to the tax code means CPAs must prepare to determine the effects on their clients’ finances and reassess their tax planning strategies accordingly. No provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including those retroactive to periods before December 31, 2017, will be eligible for testing until January 1, 2019. Therefore, we highly recommend studying for and taking the REG exam in 2018 before the tax reform content changes are implemented.
6. Score Release Timetable Changes
In January, the AICPA announced 2018 CPA Exam score release dates. It’s important to note that there are score holds for Q2 through Q4 2018 testing windows. Below are the most recent timetables for the 2018 CPA Exam.
7. We will prepare you to successfully pass the 2018 CPA Exam
Roger CPA Review will continue to ensure all our students are fully prepared for the 2018 CPA Exam changes. It’s important to remember that the CPA Exam’s job is to reflect the expectations of a newly licensed CPA, which is influenced by continuously evolving technology that affects the accounting profession. In other words, candidates should expect the CPA Exam to always be evolving to meet industry expectations.
No matter what the changes are, remember you have a partner in all of this. The Roger CPA Review team is dedicated to ensuring you are setup for success when facing any Exam changes. And, with our new SmartPath™ predictive technology our course can provide you with targeted recommendations on where and how to focus your efforts by comparing your progress and performance to those that have passed the CPA Exam. It’s a win-win situation!
Ready to Pass REG in 2018?