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The CPA Exam Content Specifications

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The "Proposed Content and Skill Specifications for the Uniform CPA Exam" (CSS} was approved by the AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE) in December 2008. A practice analysis (PA) survey conducted by the BOE ultimately established these specifications. Unfortunately, they represent a unique missed opportunity to describe the cognitive development required of entry-level CPAs. It is not clear how the BOE assessed differences in responses between different groups. There are certain cases where the level of emphasis indicated by respondents was not consistent with the importance assigned by the CSS. The BOE completed this project with limited new approaches. The emphasis placed on the level of understanding needed is not clear from the CSS. With the 2008 CSS, the AICPA missed an opportunity to lead the way. Maybe a future version of the CSS will reflect a better measurement for testing the ability of a candidate to enter a changing profession in a challenging world.

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