Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Writing Skills: What They're Looking For

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Writing Skills: What They're Looking For

Article excerpt

For the first time, the CPA exam in 1994 will evaluate candidates' writing skills. Both practicing CPAs and accounting educators have gone on record that they believe the complexity of today's accounting, auditing and tax issues makes good writing skills essential to the profession. The CPA's ability to write, therefore, is well worth verifying on the CPA exam.

The new exam will not have a specific section dedicated to writing skills. Rather, a candidate's writing abilities will be evaluated on essay responses that also will be graded for technical content. At least two essay responses in each of three sections will be assessed for writing skills, but candidates will not know which questions will be evaluated. The scores for writing ability will not be broken out in the final grades.

The writing skills assessment will constitute 5% of the total points available on each of the three sections with essay or problem-type questions: Business Law & Professional Responsibilities, Auditing, and Financial Accounting & Reporting--Business Enterprises.

Candidates' writing skills grades will be based on the following six criteria:

* Coherent organization. Candidates should arrange ideas in an order that is logical and easy to follow. Short paragraphs composed of short sentences usually accomplish this best. Each paragraph should express a single main idea. For example, if each paragraph's opening sentence summarizes that idea while establishing some link to the previous paragraph's idea, the information flow should be easy to follow. …

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