KNOW THE CPA EXAM CONTENT


Face the facts: Effective April 2017, the Uniform CPA Exam content was significantly reorganized for relevancy and currency. The exam content was also marginally adjusted during 2018, and will be undergo annual updates in future years. The summary of these changes are outlined below. Candidates should ensure that they are familiar with the content and that all areas are covered in their study plans.

The key to success: 1. How much you really want to pass and 2. Practice, Practice, Practice

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

Content Area Allocation
Area I Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and General Principles 15–25%
Area II Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response 20-30%
Area III Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence 30-40%
Area IV Forming Conclusions and Reporting 15-25%

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

  1. Area I – Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and General Principles (15-25%)
    1. Nature and scope
    2. Ethics, independence and professional conduct
    3. Terms of the engagement
    4. Requirements for engagement documentation
    5. Communication with management and those charged with governance
    6. Communication with component auditors and parties other than management and those charged with governance
    7. A firm’s system of quality control including quality control at the engagement level
  2. Area II – Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response (20-30%)
    1. Planning an engagement
    2. Understanding an entity and its environment
    3. Understanding an entity’s internal control
    4. Assessing risk due to fraud, including discussion among the engagement team about the risk of material misstatement due to fraud or error
    5. Identifying and assessing the risk of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and planning further procedures responsive to identified risks
    6. Materiality
    7. Planning for and using the work of others, including group audits, the internal audit function, and the work of a specialist
    8. Specific areas of engagement risk
  3. Area III – Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence (30-40%)
    1. Understanding sufficient appropriate evidence
    2. Sampling techniques
    3. Performing specific procedures to obtain evidence
    4. Specific matters that require special consideration
    5. Misstatements and internal control deficiencies
    6. Written representations
    7. Subsequent events and subsequently discovered facts
  4. Area IV – Forming Conclusions and Reporting (15-25%)
    1. Reports on auditing engagements
    2. Reports on attestation engagements
    3. Accounting and review service engagements
    4. Reporting on compliance
    5. Other reporting considerations

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

Content Area Allocation
Area I Corporate Governance 17-27%
Area II Economic Concepts and Analysis 17-27%
Area III Financial Management 11-21%
Area IV Information Technology 15-25%
Area V Operations Management 15-25%

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  1. Area I – Corporate Governance (17-27%)
    1. Internal control frameworks
    2. Enterprise risk management frameworks
    3. Other regulatory frameworks and provisions
  2. Area II – Economic Concepts and Analysis (17-27%)
    1. Economics and business cycles – measures and indicators
    2. Market influences on business
    3. Financial risk management
  3. Area III – Financial Management (11-21%)
    1. Capital structure
    2. Working capital
    3. Financial valuation methods and decision models
  4. Area IV – Information Technology (15-25%)
    1. Information technology (IT) governance
    2. Role of information technology in business
    3. Information security/availability
    4. Processing integrity (input/processing/output controls)
    5. System development and maintenance
  5. Area V – Operations Management (15-25%)
    1. Financial and Non-financial measures of performance management
    2. Cost accounting
    3. Process management
    4. Planning techniques

Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

Content Area Allocation
Area I Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting and Financial Reporting 25-35%
Area II Select Financial Statement Accounts 30-40%
Area III Select Transactions 20-30%
Area IV State and Local Government 5-15%

Financial Accounting and Reporting Details (FAR)

  1. Area I – Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting and Financial Reporting (25-35%)
    1. Conceptual framework and standard-setting for business and non-business entities
    2. General-purpose financial statements: For-profit business entities
    3. General-purpose financial statements: Nongovernmental, not-for-profit entities
    4. Public company reporting topics (U.S. SEC reporting requirements, earnings per share and segment reporting)
    5. Financial statements of employee benefit plans
    6. Special purpose frameworks
  2. Area II – Select Financial Statement Accounts (30-40%)
    1. Cash and cash equivalents
    2. Trade receivables
    3. Inventory
    4. Property, plant and equipment
    5. Investments
    6. Intangible assets – goodwill and other
    7. Payables and accrued liabilities
    8. Long-term debt (financial liabilities)
    9. Equity
    10. Revenue recognition
    11. Compensation and benefits
    12. Income taxes
  3. Area III – Select Transactions (20-30%)
    1. Accounting changes and error corrections
    2. Business combinations
    3. Contingencies and commitments
    4. Derivatives and hedge accounting (e.g. swaps, options, forwards)
    5. Foreign currency transactions and translation
    6. Leases
    7. Non-reciprocal transfers
    8. Research and development costs
    9. Software costs
    10. Subsequent events
    11. Fair value measurements
    12. Differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP
  4. Area IV – State and Local Government (5-15%)
    1. State and local government concepts
    2. Format and content of the financial section of the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR)
    3. Deriving government-wide financial statements and recognition requirements
    4. Typical items and specific types of transactions and events: measurement, valuation, calculation and presentation in government entity financial statements

Regulation (REG)

Content Area Allocation
Area I Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and Federal Tax Procedures 10-20%
Area II Business Law 10-20%
Area III Federal Taxation of Property Transactions 15-22%
Area IV Federal Taxation of Individuals 15-25%
Area V Federal Taxation of Entities 28-38%

Regulation (REG)

  1. Area I – Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and Federal Tax Procedures (10-20%)
    1. Ethics and responsibilities in tax practice
    2. Licensing and disciplinary systems
    3. Federal tax procedures
    4. Legal duties and responsibilities
  2. Area II – Business Law (10-20%)
    1. Agency
    2. Contracts
    3. Debtor-Creditor relationships
    4. Government regulation of business
    5. Business structure
  3. Area III – Federal Taxation of Property Transactions (15-22%)
    1. Acquisition and disposition of assets
    2. Cost recovery (depreciation, depletion and amortization)
    3. Estate and gift taxation
  4. Area IV – Federal Taxation of Individuals (15-25%)
    1. Gross income (inclusions and exclusions) (includes taxation of retirement plan benefits)
    2. Reporting of items from pass-through entities
    3. Adjustments and deductions to arrive at adjusted gross income and taxable income
    4. Passive activity losses (excluding foreign tax credit implications)
    5. Loss limitations
    6. Filing status and exemptions
    7. Computation of tax and credits
    8. Alternative minimum tax
  5. Area V – Federal Taxation of Entities (28-38%)
    1. Tax treatment of formation and liquidation of business entities
    2. Differences between book and tax income (loss)
    3. C Corporations
    4. Partnerships
    5. Limited liability companies
    6. Trusts and estates
    7. Tax-exempt organizations

For detailed descriptions of the specific testable content of each section, and the most current content outline, see the Content Specification Outlines (CSOs) published by the AICPA.


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