The American Institute of CPAs, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, and Prometric launched the new Uniform CPA Examination on Wednesday, which now includes questions on International Financial Reporting Standards and other significant changes.

The new exam format, dubbed CBT-e, encompasses changed approved by the AICPA Board of Examiners based on input from state boards of accountancy. The board of examiners conducted a Practice Analysis to ensure the exam would test the kinds of knowledge and skills relevant for today’s entry-level CPAs. The new IFRS questions and other changes to the exam are the first major revisions since the CPA exam was computerized in 2004.

Overall, more emphasis is being placed on skills assessment using case study-based questions known as Task-Based Simulations. Authoritative literature in the CPA exam incorporates use of new Financial Accounting Standards Board codifications of U.S. GAAP. Professional responsibilities including ethics and independence have been added to the Auditing and Attestation section.

“The testing of IFRS knowledge and other international standards is a response to change in the business world in which new CPAs operate,” said AICPA vice president of examinations Craig Mills in a statement. “We are proud and excited to be introducing innovations in this evolution of the computer-based test that both validate and update the content of the exam and improve the experience for candidates. The exam is one of three key requirements, along with education and experience, that help state boards and the profession maintain the highest standards and protect the public interest.”

The CPA exam is administered in 54 jurisdictions nationwide by the AICPA, NASBA and Prometric. The exam also will be administered internationally for the first time in 2011 in Japan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

Changes to the exam experience include a new calculator, literature search, research response, and spreadsheet tools. Candidates can look forward to an updated performance report providing information on the strengths and weaknesses of their performance. Changes to the test design and development will allow test results to be reported to candidates faster as the year progresses. Uniform CPA Examination scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 99, with 75 as the passing score.

IFRS questions will test knowledge in a general way, primarily on the differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS. The AICPA continues to evaluate the application of IFRS in the profession as the U.S. moves toward international standards over the next five years.

A guide to the new CBT-e with specific information for students and exam candidates on changes is available online at http://www.aicpa.org/cpa-exam.

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