AICPA and NASBA Release Revised CPA Evolution Model Curriculum


The AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) released a revised version of the CPA Evolution Model curriculum on Friday in response to feedback from users of the resource and other interested parties.

Members of the profession have told AICPA and NASBA that the curriculum resource could be improved by delving into certain areas. We also received suggestions on how to improve the clarity of certain topics and learning objectives.

The result of all of this valuable feedback is today’s update, which updates the resource published earlier this year.

In June, AICPA and NASBA released the CPA Evolution Model Curriculum. The goal was to help faculty as they seek to evolve their programs to reflect the new CPA Core + Disciplines licensing model promoted by the CPA Evolution initiative. Over 40 volunteer subject matter experts worked on the development of this resource, which was designed to prepare students for the CPA license. We launched the program resource at a free virtual event with over 1,500 attendees.

Since launch, the educational resource has been downloaded over 3,500 times. To assess its impact, we conducted several surveys of teachers and businesses. We found that:

  • 83% of surveyed companies with 11 or more CPAs said that if university accounting programs were aligned with CPA Evolution, their hiring of new graduates from accounting programs would likely increase, graduates from accounting programs would be considered more valuable than they are not today, or both.
  • 79% of faculty surveyed agreed that the CPA Evolution curriculum model helps accounting programs understand and meet changing practice needs.
  • 87% of faculty surveyed indicated that the CPA Evolution curriculum template is one of the most useful resources for updating their curriculum.

The AICPA and NASBA also worked together to solicit feedback on the resource through our launch event, over a dozen educator presentations, and direct outreach to the university community.

Here are the most common questions we received:

Is the CPA evolution model curriculum available in Excel format?

The main request from professors was to make the curriculum resource available in an Excel format to help them map it to their own curricula. In July, a month after launching the PDF version of the resource, we released an Excel supplement.

Do AICPA and NASBA engage with textbook publishers?

While professors told us they appreciated the program’s resources and the various case studies, articles, and videos available through the Academic Resource Center, they wondered if the textbooks would be updated to reflect more material. relevant to practice. We are pleased to report that we have had an ongoing dialogue with several of the leading textbook suppliers and that they and their authors are committed to updating their offerings to meet faculty needs and prepare students for the future. practice environment.

By naming the curriculum resource the “CPA Evolution Model Curriculum,” are the AICPA and NASBA suggesting that each accounting program should “modify” its curriculum based on its content?

No. Since academic institutions have different missions and goals, an example accounting program probably cannot meet the needs of all of these institutions.

The CPA Evolution model curriculum is designed to help interested accounting programs update their programs to align with the CPA Evolution initiative. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach for all programs. Accounting programs should use the resource as they see fit based on their program’s objectives. To address any confusion over the title of the resource, AICPA and NASBA have updated our post, including changes to the resource itself, to be as clear as possible.

Why has the content of some areas not been covered in more depth?

We have received many questions to this effect. For example, leaders in the management accounting community have told us that skills related to this knowledge set are an essential part of the core skill set for all professional accountants, including those in public practice. We fully agree with this assessment. We also heard that there are opportunities to improve curriculum resources building on the learning objectives that are currently included. We value this feedback, have reviewed the recommendations we have received, and updated the resource based on these detailed suggestions, while continuing to focus on the skills and competencies required of future CPAs.

We also heard questions about business law and whether his exclusion from the study program was an indication that this topic has become less relevant to future CPAs. It is not the case at all. The curriculum resource was aimed at content that is not typically covered in the business prerequisites, which means that we assumed that students would take courses in areas such as the principles of financial accounting and management, economics, finance and business law. Once again, we appreciate these questions and will continue to emphasize this important distinction.

Finally, we received questions about the extent of coverage in certain specialist areas such as forensic and international accounting. In determining whether these areas should be included in curriculum resources, we drew on insights from newly certified CPAs and their supervisors, which were gathered through analyzes of CPA exam practice. We also drew on the expertise of our task force members, who were asked to build aid that could support schools of all sizes, including those with significant resource constraints. When we received feedback relating to specialist areas that had not been discussed or considered before, we have updated the resource as appropriate.

What technological applications should teachers teach and how would you define “digital sense”?

In the curriculum resource, we noted several instances where technology could be added to the coverage of certain topics. The resource does not recommend any specific technology applications that faculty should teach, as technologies evolve rapidly and the specific technologies used will vary by industry and discipline. However, it is essential for CPAs to have a reasonable understanding of prevailing technology trends and applications and their impact on services such as auditing, tax and accounting. We call this type of knowledge of technologies the “digital sense” in the educational resource.

Will the teaching resource be updated to reflect the comments received?

Yes. In addition to comments regarding the depth of coverage, we received suggestions on how to improve the clarity of certain topics and learning objectives. These have been very helpful, and we’ve made revisions to reflect what we’ve heard. The updates we’ve made to the Curriculum Resource are summarized to allow those who have previously reviewed it to identify the differences.

What’s the next step for CPA Evolution?

In response to the comments received, we have published a revised educational resource. We will continue to add resources to the Academic Resource Center and continue to host our monthly faculty hour webinars to provide in-depth dives into emerging topics.

The AICPA is conducting a practice analysis to develop a new CPA exam with Core + Disciplines structure and content. We anticipate that a master plan will be released for public comment in mid-2022 and finalized in early 2023.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at

Jan Taylor, CPA, CGMA, Ph.D., is the academic in residence of the AICPA. Daniel J. Dustin, CPA, is Vice President of State Council Relations for NASBA. To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Ken Tysiac, the JofAmanaging editor of, at


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