The American Institute of CPAs, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Prometric are pleased to mark the 10th anniversary of computer-based testing (CBT) for the Uniform CPA Examination and note the continued enhancements and successful expansion of the test administration over the past decade. Leveraging technology has allowed for increased candidate convenience and accessibility as a service to aspiring CPAs, as well as greater flexibility in the format by which questions are asked and content is assessed. These advancements have allowed the CPA Examination to stay closely aligned with the assessment of prospective CPAs.
“With a commitment to keep the profession on the forefront and with an eye to continually attract the best young professionals to the CPA profession, the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric worked to convert the CPA Examination from a pencil-and-paper administered exam to a leading edge computer-based testing model 10 years ago, setting a global standard on how accountancy professionals should be tested,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, President and CEO of the AICPA.
One of the key changes in the conversion was an increased emphasis placed on skills assessment through questions based on case studies known as Task-Based Simulations. These simulations typically require candidates to use spreadsheets and/or research authoritative literature which is provided in the Exam. The addition of task-based simulations allows the CPA Examination the flexibility to closely measure the evolving skills newly licensed CPAs need to perform in their everyday work.
During the 10-year period since the launch of CBT, more than 400,000 candidates have sat for a total of more than two million sections of the Exam.
“NASBA is proud to be a part of this truly momentous occasion in the evolution of the Uniform CPA Examination. Over the past decade, aspiring CPAs have tested for more than two million sections with the very first computer-based Examination administered at NASBA’s Guam Computer Testing Center,” said NASBA President and CEO, Ken Bishop. “Advances in Examination content and delivery under the computer-based testing model have strengthened the public protection role of Boards of Accountancy by enhancing the examination portion of the licensing model (education, examination and experience) used to regulate more than 700,000 licensees throughout the U.S.,” he concluded.
Young professionals aspiring to become CPAs have seen an increase in convenience and accessibility resulting from the conversion to CBT. Prior to the conversion, candidates were able to sit for the CPA Examination only twice a year; once in May and once in November. Currently, candidates can take the Exam 243 days a year, allowing for much greater testing flexibility. Candidates are now able to take advantage of nearly 300 testing locations with a 31 percent increase in the overall number of testing seats since 2004. In addition, candidates now receive their scores seven to 45 days after taking a section, whereas it took 90 days to receive score results under the pencil-and-paper model.
“The Uniform CPA Examination provides an opportunity for people to earn a certification that is highly regarded by employers in the U.S. and internationally, and Prometric is inspired by the role we play and the trust extended to us by the AICPA and NASBA,” said Michael Brannick, President and CEO of Prometric. “We are proud of the 10 years of successful partnership we have accomplished to date, and look forward to learning and collaborating through the duration of our latest contract renewal, to further enhance and expand the Uniform CPA program.”
The CPA Exam is administered in 54 jurisdictions nationwide by the AICPA, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and Prometric. The Exam was administered internationally for the first time in 2011 in Japan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. In 2012, testing expanded to Brazil.
Celebrating more than 100 years of service, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) serves as a forum for the nation’s Boards of Accountancy, which administer the Uniform CPA Examination, license more than 700,000 certified public accountants and regulate the practice of public accountancy in the United States.
NASBA’s mission is to enhance the effectiveness and advance the common interests of the Boards of Accountancy in meeting their regulatory responsibilities. The Association promotes the exchange of information among accountancy boards, serving the needs of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions.
NASBA is headquartered in Nashville, TN, with satellite offices in New York, NY, and San Juan, PR, and an International Computer Testing and Call Center in Guam. To learn more about NASBA, visit www.nasba.org.