AICPA FAR : CPA Financial Accounting and Reporting Exam
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Exam Number : FAR
Exam Name : CPA Financial Accounting and Reporting
Vendor Name : AICPA
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Format | FAR Course Contents | FAR Course Outline | FAR test
Syllabus | FAR test
Within the Blueprints, you will find the following information for each test
Content organized by Area, Group and course along with score weighting
Sample task statements that represent what you may be asked to do when testing
Skill levels at which tasks are tested
Reference materials that support the trial
Number of item types you must complete (multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations and written communication tasks)
Score weighting of each item type
Content area allocation Weight
I. Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting and Financial Reporting 25–35%
II. Select Financial Statement Accounts 30–40%
III. Select Transactions 20–30%
IV. State and Local Governments 5–15%
section is delivered in five smaller sections called testlets. Each testlet features different item types (see below) used to test your knowledge and skills. To learn more about how each section is organized, including when you can take a break, review the CPA test
Exam Item Types
You will be tested during the CPA test
using three types of test items that appear within specific testlets in each section.
Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ)
The multiple-choice portions are presented in the first two testlets of each test
Task-Based Simulations (TBS)
Task-based simulations are condensed case studies that test accounting knowledge and skills using real life, work-related situations. All task-based simulations are intended to assess knowledge and skills that are appropriate for an entry-level accountant. There are three TBS testlets in the AUD, FAR and REG sections, and two TBS testlets in the BEC section.
Written Communication Tasks
Written communication tasks appear only in the BEC section of the CPA Exam. For each of three written communication tasks, you must read a scenario and then write an appropriate document relating to the scenario. The instructions state what form the document should take (such as a memo or letter) and its focus. Your response should provide the correct information in writing that is clear, complete and professional.
Each of the four test
sections is broken down into five smaller sections called testlets. These testlets feature multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and task-based simulations (TBSs). In the case of BEC, you also have to complete three written communication tasks. The number of MCQs and TBSs tested varies depending upon the specific section taken. You will receive at least one research question (research-oriented TBS) in the AUD, FAR and REG sections. To complete them, you will have to search the related authoritative literature and find an appropriate reference.
During each test
section, you will be offered a 15-minute break after the first TBS testlet. This is about midway through the section (two hours). You may accept this break and pause the test
timer or you may continue testing. To accept the break, click the “Take a Break” button. During this break, you must leave the testing room and follow all Prometric security rules. The test
timer will restart when the 15-minute break ends.
In addition to the 15-minute break, you may also take optional breaks after all other testlets but you cannot pause the test
timer. The timer will continue to run.
The Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section of the Uniform CPA
Examination (the Exam) assesses the knowledge and skills that a newly licensed
CPA must demonstrate in the financial accounting and reporting frameworks
used by business entities (public and nonpublic), not-for-profit entities and state
and local government entities.
The financial accounting and reporting frameworks that are eligible for
assessment within the FAR section of the test
include the standards and
regulations issued by the:
• Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
• U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (U.S. SEC)
• American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
• Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
• International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
A listing of standards and regulations promulgated by these bodies, and other
reference materials that are eligible for assessment in the FAR section of the
Exam are included under References at the conclusion of this introduction.
Content organization and tasks
The FAR section blueprint is organized by content AREA, content GROUP and
content TOPIC. Each group or course includes one or more representative TASKS
that a newly licensed CPA may be expected to complete in practice.
Tasks in the FAR section blueprint are representative. The tasks are not
intended to be (nor should they be viewed as) an all-inclusive list of tasks that
may be tested in the FAR section of the Exam. Additionally, it should be noted
that the number of tasks associated with a particular content group or topic
is not indicative of the extent such content group, course or related skill level
will be assessed on the Exam. For example, the course titled “Notes to financial
statements” in Area I includes two tasks that are intended to encompass the
required disclosures for any course in the FASB Accounting Standards Codification,
while the group titled “Leases” in Area III includes eight tasks that are limited
to the accounting requirements in the Leases course of the FASB Accounting
Standards Codification. The number of tasks included in the blueprint for this
group and this course is not intended to suggest that “Leases” are more significant
to newly licensed CPAs or will be tested more than the “Notes to financial
statements.” Similarly, examples provided within the task statements should not
be viewed as all-inclusive.
The following table summarizes the content areas and the allocation of content
tested in the FAR section of the Exam:
Overview of content areas
Area I of the FAR section blueprint covers FASBs Conceptual Framework, FASBs
standard-setting process and several different financial reporting topics. The
financial reporting syllabus include the following:
• General-purpose financial statements applicable to for-profit entities,
not-for-profit entities and employee benefit plans under the FASB Accounting
• Disclosures specific to public companies including earnings per share
and segment reporting under the FASB Accounting Standards Codification
and the interim, annual and periodic filing requirements for U.S. registrants in
accordance with the rules of the U.S. SEC
• Financial statements prepared under special purpose frameworks as described
in AU-C Section 800 of the Codification of Statements on Auditing Standards
Area II of the FAR section blueprint covers the financial accounting and
reporting requirements in the FASB Accounting Standards Codification that are
applicable to select financial statement accounts.
• To the extent applicable, each group and course in the area is eligible for testing
within the context of both for-profit and not-for-profit entities.
– If significant accounting or reporting differences exist between for-profit
and not-for-profit entities for a given group or topic, such differences are in
representative not-for-profit tasks in the blueprint.
Area III of the FAR section blueprint covers the financial accounting and
reporting requirements for select transactions that are applicable to entities
under the FASB Accounting Standards Codification and the IASB standards.
• The testing of content under the IASB standards is limited to a separate group
titled, “Differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP.”
• To the extent applicable, the remaining groups in the area are eligible for
testing within the context of both for-profit and not-for-profit entities.
– If significant accounting or reporting differences exist between for-profit and
not-for-profit entities, such differences are in representative not-for-profit
tasks in the blueprint.
Area IV of the FAR section blueprint covers GASBs conceptual framework as
well as the financial accounting and reporting requirements for state and local
governments under the GASB standards and interpretations.
The FAR section of the test
includes multiple-choice questions, task-based
simulations and research prompts. When completing questions in the FAR
section of the Exam, candidates should assume that all of the information
provided in each question is material. In addition, candidates should assume
that each question applies to a for-profit business entity reporting under U.S.
GAAP unless otherwise stated in the fact pattern for a question. For example,
questions that apply to not-for-profit entities specify the nature of these entities
as “not-for-profit” or “non-governmental, not-for-profit.” Questions that apply to
IFRS include phrases such as “under IFRS” or “according to IFRS.” Questions
that apply to the state and local governments include phrases such as “local
government,” “state,” “municipality” or “city.”
focuses on testing higher order skills. Based on the nature of
the task, each representative task in the FAR section blueprint is assigned
a skill level. FAR section considerations related to the skill levels are
Evaluation The examination or assessment of problems, and
use of judgment to draw conclusions.
The examination and study of the interrelationships
of separate areas in order to identify causes and find
evidence to support inferences.
Application The use or demonstration of knowledge, concepts
The perception and comprehension of the
significance of an area utilizing knowledge gained
Remembering and Understanding tasks are in all four areas of the FAR blueprint.
These tasks, such as identifying transactions and financial reporting requirements,
frequently require newly licensed CPAs to demonstrate their comprehension of
accounting concepts and standards. Area IV has the highest concentration of
remembering and understanding tasks.
• Application tasks are in all four areas of the FAR blueprint. These tasks, such as
preparing journal entries and financial statements, frequently require newly licensed
CPAs to use accounting concepts and standards to measure and recognize financial
• Analysis tasks are in Area I, Area II and Area III of the FAR blueprint. These tasks,
such as reconciling account balances, interpreting agreements and detecting
financial reporting discrepancies, frequently require newly licensed CPAs to
demonstrate a higher level of interpretation. Area I and Area II have the highest
concentration of analysis tasks.
The representative tasks combine both the applicable content knowledge and the
skills required in the context of the work that a newly licensed CPA would reasonably
be expected to perform. The FAR section does not test any content at the Evaluation
skill level as newly licensed CPAs are not expected to demonstrate that level of skill in
regards to the FAR content.
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AICPA Reporting test
The global pandemic brought unparalleled challenges to public enterprise auditors as neatly as the valued clientele and the public they serve.
"Audit groups have risen to the challenge and advanced," Kelly Grier, CPA, US chair and managing associate and Americas managing associate for EY, said Wednesday throughout a webcast backed by using the middle for Audit satisfactory (CAQ) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
With the pandemic nevertheless posing dangers and the twentieth anniversary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) approaching next yr, certified
shared insights on what will drive audit pleasant sooner or later.
main with aim
potent, coordinated regulatory requirements and unbiased oversight will continue to encourage self belief in audit best in the future, said Grier, who chairs the board of governors for the CAQ, which is affiliated with the AICPA. She mentioned leaders need to proceed advertising the values of independence, expert skepticism, and personal integrity.
Wes Bricker, CPA, PwC's vice chairâ€“US have faith options co-chief, pointed out one of SOX's vital accomplishments become to toughen the significance of tone on the right and tradition by way of reinforcing the roles of the audit committee and administration, and requiring certifications on the accuracy of economic experiences and the effectiveness of the control device.
the upward push of far off work right through the pandemic has critical ramifications for leadership and culture, Bricker talked about.
"The potential to problem, the capacity to take into account distinct dimensions of effectiveness, to verify risk and design the right check, all of that comes collectively in the context of communique and culture within the audit firm and conversation with the audit committee it is engaged the audit enterprise," he said. "and that i do think that is a local for us to proceed to focal point on as they flow ahead."
Accelerating digital transformation
technology continues to supply auditors with alternatives to enhance their work.
Panelists noted FASB's new lease accounting normal for example of a chance for financial plan preparers to use know-how. computerized functions were developed to "examine" rent contracts and capture records for use in fiscal accounting techniques for reporting of lease property and liabilities.
meanwhile, auditors are the usage of expertise to investigate total sets of records instead of relying on sampling in their testing.
"it's a little bit like when the tide goes out, you see every little thing on the ocean floor," Bricker referred to. "you could see every little thing on the ocean flooring, possibly, by sampling. and that's the reason a central technique. but when you could take the entire water out or identify all of the transactions for your system, you can not handiest enhanced identify possibility â€¦ but that you would be able to additionally improved bear in mind the contours. What's the nature of the undertaking? What should still they center of attention on? What may still they be speaking about?"
Kathy Waller, former CFO of Coca-Cola, spoke of know-how can supply so plenty tips that it be less complicated to supply an opinion on the inside handle device and to comment on a broader set of issues. however she mentioned there are additionally dangers linked to expertise.
"We do should make certain that they don't seem to be going to be developing unintended penalties with know-how, for certain," Waller said. "â€¦ it be fairly exciting the manner it could go, however I suppose they do have to be cautious."
Investing in americans
Audit great is simply as potent as the people who function audit work daily, Grier pointed out. Amid the pandemic, personnel losses during what's been dubbed the great Resignation are difficult employers everywhere to retain the top of the line americans.
in the meantime, leaders of the CPA career are carrying on with to work to make certain the most fulfilling and brightest people are drawn to try this vital work.
"The talent pipeline doubtless is rarely as wide as they want it to be," Dan Goelzer, a founding member of the PCAOB, talked about all over a "hearth chat" with CAQ CEO Julie Bell Lindsay.
Audit companies can attract the most efficient americans and keep the skill they've by way of investing in studying and boom alternatives, Grier spoke of. She observed or not it's crucial additionally to rethink the pathway into the career.
The CPA Evolution venture undertaken via the AICPA and the countrywide affiliation of State Boards of Accountancy is designed to conform preliminary CPA licensure requirements to proceed the career's success in a swiftly changing marketplace. As part of that undertaking, a brand new model for licensure and a brand new CPA test
are being developed for a deliberate launch in 2024.
constructing diversity within the career is also a key to performing wonderful audits, Grier mentioned.
"diverse teams are more ingenious and power audit first-rate with the aid of leveraging more than a few perspectives and skills to attain more suitable selections," she noted.
Modernizing exceptional administration systems
common setters are setting up new standards for enterprise satisfactory management systems with a goal of enabling better excellent.
The AICPA Auditing standards Board has proposed a brand new excellent management ordinary that's designed to allow firm management to tailor their first-class manage activities to tackle their individual, enterprise-particular risks.
"corporations are going to need to stop the use of kind of a guidelines approach to fine manage and [use] more of a method where they determine periodically what the precise challenges in their observe are and ensure they've measures to handle those challenges," Goelzer referred to.
specializing in independence
preserving a robust subculture of independence is crucial to protecting the general public's have faith, Bricker pointed out.
"Auditor independence, some most likely see it as a drawback; I see it as an important source of cost," he talked about. "or not it's auditor independence that permits buyers to have the self belief that somebody from the outside has appeared on the numbers, has regarded at the financial statements, has regarded at the disclosures. or not it's an important underpinning to the cost of the audit technique."
Waller, who chairs the audit committees of past Meat and Spelman faculty, stated that audit committees are extraordinarily dedicated to holding the best of the economic statements.
"therefore, independence of the audit committees and independence of the auditors is incredibly crucial," she mentioned. "None of us would ever permit if they saw it â€” and they are searching for it â€” undue have an impact on over the auditors by means of company personnel. Independence, to me, does say pleasant."
â€” Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA's editorial director.