The 2018 Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam will feature a number of content changes and a new and improved user interface effective April 1, 2018. This PDF document from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA ) details all of the AICPA blueprint changes, that went into effect earlier this year.
The exam, along with education and experience, are the three legs of the licensing model that regulates the more than 700,000 licensed CPAs in the United States. The four sections of the exam are Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG).
The exam underwent a major overhaul in 2017, permitting test takers to combine passing exam sections prior to April 1 and on or after April 1 (within the 18-month window following the passing of one section) to count toward licensure, increasing the test time (14 to 16 hours), and providing 15-minute breaks during each section that would not count against a candidate’s testing time.

Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)

The Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) section of the CPA Exam will see the greatest number of content changes on January 2, 2018. Among the most notable updates are revisions to the Revenue Recognition standards. This is in response to changing FASB guidelines that came about due to the foundation of the U.S. economy shifting from primarily goods to more services. It also brings US GAAP into closer alignment with international accounting standards.

Auditing & Attestation (AUD)

The AICPA did not add or delete content from the Auditing & Attestation (AUD )section, but it did update a number of tasks statements accordance with SAS 130, An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting that is Integrated with an Audit of Financial Statements.

Regulation (REG)

The Regulation (REG) section saw only a minor changes with “Treasury Regulations” replacing “Regulations” in the list of references.

Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)

There were no changes to the Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) section for 2018.

User Experience Redesign

Rather, the notable change in 2018 will apparently be a software makeover. Expected to go live April 1, 2018, the software will be sporting a new, sleek design, as well as include technological enhancements to improve the user experience. This will include:
  • The real Microsoft Excel – This will be a replacement to the generic spreadsheet tool candidates currently use to complete their calculations to answer Exam questions.
  • Larger Monitors – Candidates will begin taking the CPA Exam on computers utilizing 23-inch HD monitors.

Test Result Timetables

Finally, when test takers can expect receiving their results have been updated. If you take the test between April 1 and June 10, 2018, you can expect results:

  • AUD, FAR, REG: June 27
  • BEC: June 29

2017 test takers (when taken in a similar window) had to wait until August 16-18, 2017 for their results.