The Uniform CPA Examination will be offered in Japan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates in 2011, marking the first time in the exam’s history that it will be offered outside the 55 U.S. jurisdictions.
The three organizations that jointly offer the CPA Examination in the United States—the AICPA, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Prometric––announced Sunday that they have reached agreement to administer the exam in those international locations.
The exam offered internationally will be the same as that offered in the U.S. It will be administered in English using the same computerized format.
As in the U.S., the examination will serve to qualify individuals for licensure as a CPA through U.S. state boards of accountancy.
“Candidates for licensure as U.S. CPAs reside all over the world, but at present, they must travel to the U.S. to take the CPA Exam,” AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon said in a statement. “International administrations are being offered as a service to them and to other international candidates who wish to seek CPA licensure.”
The Uniform CPA Exam is already administered routinely to foreign nationals who take the test in the U.S., U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
“Since a growing number of CPA candidates reside in other countries, the time has come to manage the overall process of international candidates in a more effective manner,” NASBA President and CEO David Costello said.
The CPA Examination consists of four sections: Auditing and Attestation; Financial Accounting and Reporting; Regulation; and Business Environment and Concepts. The combined testing time for the four sections is 14 hours.
The CPA Examination employs a combination of question formats. It includes the traditional multiple-choice questions and essays, as well as simulations–questions that replicate workplace situations and require the application of knowledge and skills to arrive at solutions.
In its nearly 100-year history, the Uniform CPA Examination has undergone many changes. Until the end of 2003, it was a paper-and-pencil examination administered twice each year. In April 2004, a computer-based exam was launched and the paper-and-pencil examination was discontinued. The computer-based CPA Examination achieved its millionth administration in 2009.
Currently, the CPA exam is undergoing its largest overhaul since moving from paper and pencil to computers. Jan. 1, 2011, will mark the launch of CBT-e (Computer-Based Testing evolution). New Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs) will take effect, and the exam will introduce new question formats and a new release of authoritative literature—the FASB Accounting Standards Codification. Other changes include a new section structure, section time allocations and weighted value of each component. Scoring will place more emphasis on skills, and a new calculator and improved spreadsheets are being developed.
IFRS will make its way onto the exam for the first time in 2011. This addition was based on research that found an increasing number of entry-level CPAs need to be familiar with IFRS for a variety of reasons, including preparing financial reports for companies in the U.S. that are owned by foreign IFRS entities; working for U.S. companies that own foreign entities reporting in IFRS and needing to convert IFRS financials into U.S. GAAP; and auditing companies or subsidiaries that report in IFRS.
More information on the exam’s changes, including a chart providing a detailed breakdown of the exam’s Content Specification Outlines, is available in the JofA’s May 2010 article, “CPA Exam to Undergo an Evolution.”
For sample CPA exam questions on IFRS, click here.
For more information on the Uniform CPA Exam, visit aicpa.org/cpa-exam.
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