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Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) develops, maintains and scores the Examination. The AICPA is part of an Examination partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), which manages the National Candidate Database, and Prometric, the company that delivers the Examination at its authorised test centres. The Examination is provided on behalf of the Boards of Accountancy, which have ultimate licensing authority.

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?: The Uniform CPA Examination protects the public interest by helping to ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as U.S. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Individuals seeking to qualify as CPAs – the only licensed qualification in accounting – are required to pass the Examination.

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Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?

The Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination is the examination administered to people who wish to become U.S. Certified Public Accountants. The CPA Exam is used by the regulatory bodies of all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The CPA Exam is developed, maintained and scored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and administered at Prometric test centres in partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?

Computer-based examination

Since April 5, 2004, the exam has been administered only by a computer in secure testing centres. In addition to the knowledge CPAs require, the CPA Exam assesses important skills CPAs are expected to have. This includes the ability to use authoritative database software and electronic applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. Professional business writing skills are also assessed. In July 2009, the one millionth administration of the computerised CPA exam was recorded.

Currently, the testing year is divided into four “windows” consisting of three months. Each three-month window is divided into two consecutive months of allowed testing followed by one month where tests may not be administered. During each three-month window, the candidates may take one or more sections, but may take each section only once.

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?: Exam content

The CPA exam is aligned to professional practice. The exam is a sixteen-hour exam tested in four separate sections. As many as two sections can be taken in a given day or each section can be taken on separate days. The basic outlines of the exam sections are as follows:

  • Auditing and Attestation (4.0 hours): (AUD) – This section covers knowledge of planning the engagement, internal controls, obtaining and documenting information, reviewing engagements and evaluating information and preparing communications.
  • Business Environment and Concepts (4.0 hours): (BEC) – This section covers knowledge of business structures, economic concepts, financial management, information technology, and planning and measurement.
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (4.0 hours): (FAR) – This section covers knowledge of concepts and standards for financial statements, typical items in financial statements, specific types of transactions and events, accounting and reporting for governmental agencies, and accounting and reporting for non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Regulation (4.0 hours): (REG) – This section covers knowledge of ethics and professional responsibility, business law, Federal tax procedures and accounting issues, Federal taxation of property transactions, Federal taxation – individuals, and Federal taxation – entities.

The Uniform CPA Exam also tests primary understanding and the ability to apply authoritative literature — such as auditing and accounting standards, the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Internal Revenue Code — that are universally adopted by all U.S. jurisdictions, or that are federal in nature. Every effort is made to avoid asking about subject matter that may have different correct answers in different jurisdictions.

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?

The following is a summary breakdown of the proportion in which topics are tested in each section of the examination:

Auditing and attestation

  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and General Principles 15–25%
  • Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response 20–30%
  • Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence 30–40%
  • Forming Conclusions and Reporting 15–25%

Business environment and concepts

  • Corporate Governance 17–27%
  • Economic Concepts and Analysis 17–27%
  • Financial Management 11–21%
  • Information Technology 15–25%
  • Operations Management 15–25%

Financial accounting and reporting

  • Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting and
  • Financial Reporting 25–35%
  • Select Financial Statement Accounts 30–40%
  • Select Transactions 20–30%
  • State and Local Governments 5–15%

Regulation

  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and Federal Tax Procedures 10–20%
  • Business Law 10–20%
  • Federal Taxation of Property Transactions 12–22%
  • Federal Taxation of Individuals 15–25%
  • Federal Taxation of Entities 28–38%

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?: Testing method

For three of the four exam sections (AUD, FAR, and REG), multiple-choice questions represent 50% of the total score, while the other 50% is derived from simulation style questions. For the BEC section of the exam, the score is derived from 50% multiple-choice questions, 35% simulations, and 15% written communication. Accounting knowledge is tested in simulations through a variety of tasks, some of which require searching databases, completing written communication exercises, and working with spreadsheets and forms. The skills that simulations are intended to measure are: analysis, judgment, communication, and research.

As of 2011, BEC is the only section that contains written communication task simulations. This measures the ability of CPA candidates to be able to write effective and coherent standard business English. Prior to 2011, written communication tasks were contained in all four sections of the exam.

Written communication responses are scored on the basis of three criteria:

  • Organization – structure, ordering of ideas, linking of ideas one to another.
  • Development – presentation of supporting evidence.
  • Expression – use of standard business English.

Responses that do not address the assigned topic are not scored.

During the examination, candidates may take a break after completing a “testlet” (either a set of multiple choice questions or a simulation). Once a testlet is completed, however, the candidate is not allowed to return to it, so it is not possible to use the “break time” to improve one’s score by looking up answers. The clock continues to run during breaks.

The “bank” of questions is much larger than the set presented to each candidate. Different candidates (even taking the examination at the same time) may therefore receive a completely different examination. This variance is accounted for in the scoring.

Who is responsible for the Uniform CPA Examination?

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