Auditing in the Classroom Is Changing: The New, Computerized CPA Exam Calls for Fresh Teaching Methods

By Mastracchio, Nicholas J., Jr. | Journal of Accountancy, April 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Auditing in the Classroom Is Changing: The New, Computerized CPA Exam Calls for Fresh Teaching Methods

Mastracchio, Nicholas J., Jr., Journal of Accountancy

This month the new, computerized version of the Uniform CPA Exam replaces its paper-and-pencil predecessor. The computer-based test is a joint effort by the AICPA, NASBA and Prometric, a developer of technology-based testing services.

Today's students are getting auditing training that doesn't resemble the instruction you experienced. Changes in the profession, in technology, in the audit world and in accounting education are bringing about academic retooling to better prepare future staff members to meet the demands of becoming a CPA and to perform audit tasks. The geographic restrictions of the paper-and-pencil exam area thing of the past. Candidates can sit for the exam up to four times each year and can take each part separately anywhere in the United States (see "Tips on Preparing Employees for the New CPA Exam," JofA, Mar. 04, page 11). Besides that flexibility, the new exam makes improvements in the areas of security and candidate skills assessment. My colleagues and I want to heartily encourage practitioners to spend some time in the classroom with us to participate in training the young men and women who will become your staff, proteges and partners--as well as the profession's standard bearers.


Recent accounting lapses have highlighted how important an efficient and impeccable audit is to business health, but even in 2000--before Enron and subsequent misdeeds came to light--the AICPA along with the American Accounting Association, the Institute of Management Accountants and the Big 5 accounting firms had sponsored a study of accounting education. The published results, Accounting Education: Charting the Course through a Perilous Future by W. Steve Albrecht and Robert J. Sack ( /accteduc.htm), urged many changes in the way the profession prepares accounting students.

The study found

* Too much emphasis on memorization, with tests that were based primarily on recall.

* Too much reliance on lectures, on textbooks as lesson plans and on "faculty knows best" attitudes.

* Widespread academic reluctance to develop creative types of learning, such as assignments with real companies, teamwork, case analyses, oral presentations, role playing, team teaching, technology assignments, videos, writing assignments, involvement of business professionals in the classroom and the study of current events.

* Academic resistance to using out-of-classroom experiences such as internships, field studies, foreign business trips, service-learning assignments, observation of professionals in the work environment and e-mail correspondence with practitioners.


Many practitioners remember auditing instruction based on memorization. Some of us were required to recall the 10 auditing standards and identify departures from them in a given example. After memorizing the standard report, we had to write an audit report based on a set of facts. That was solid conceptual training, but it didn't show the potential variables of an actual business situation.

This month the new, computerized CPA exam will begin operating and will make a radical change in the proficiencies it tests. An AICPA paper, "Skills for the Uniform CPA Examination," defines what the exam will cover ( The competencies are

* Analysis: the ability to organize, process and interpret data to develop options for decision making.

* Judgment: the ability to evaluate options for decision making and provide an appropriate conclusion for the situation.

* Communication: the ability to effectively elicit and express information through written or oral means.

* Research: the ability to locate and extract relevant information from available resource materials.

* Understanding: the ability to recognize and comprehend the meaning, influence and application of a particular matter.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Auditing in the Classroom Is Changing: The New, Computerized CPA Exam Calls for Fresh Teaching Methods


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?