CPA exam changes and what Simpson’s accounting program is doing


Mo Marks

The Accounting Program at Simpson is changing to increase focus on Data Analytics and Information Technology.

by Reagan Hoffman, Staff Reporter

The CPA examination for accounting students will be changing on Jan. 1, 2024. New changes will slowly be implemented into the accounting program to better prepare students for the changes in the exam.

Professor Shane Cox said he wants to get these changes out there and inform the public on how the college is adapting to these new changes. 

The CPA exam, which stands for a certified public accountant, is a national and state-by-state license that shows you are an expert in the field of accounting. 

“The CPA license is an indication that you have mastered the material. I equate it to a lawyer who sits through the bar exam after getting their degree,” Cox said.  

The new changes in the CPA exam and Simpson’s accounting program will be focused on the skills an accountant needs right out of graduation. 

“They still have an emphasis on content but instead of four core sections, there will now be three core sections and the option of a fourth section for expertise,” Cox said. 

The CPA exam will now be adding in content from information technology and data analytics. This would typically be a skill learned while working, but is now something essential to learn before graduation. 

“Technology does a lot of the processes now. So our role as a CPA will be to analyze, use the information, provide value to the businesses, decision making and information technology. If you don’t know how to run a query or understand how a database management system works then you are way behind the curve,” Cox said.

Simpson’s accounting program is slowly implementing changes to better prepare current and future students for the upcoming changes. 

“The accounting faculty has been monitoring the changes by the organizations for the past year. We’ve been analyzing our program and asking the question ‘how can we best bridge the gap between the current exam and the new one with data analytics and information technology?’ Things we are looking at are how we can change our courses to implement data analytics and information technology, what existing courses can we modify and what new electives may be desirable for students,” Cox said.

These changes are going to better prepare students for the start of their careers. 

“Through Simpson’s accounting program changes and the CPA exam changes, students are going to have the knowledge that they have always had, but be far more prepared than they ever had for entering the workforce. They will provide greater value to the organizations and clients they work for with their skills,” Cox said.

The accounting program is working hard to fill gaps in the program, but Cox is encouraging some of his current advisees to double-major or add a minor in MIS, CIS, data analytics or business analytics to better prepare themselves for the changes the CPA has made. 

“Students who are currently in the program have the faculty guidance and resources across campus to be well prepared for the CPA exam,” Cox said. 

Professor Cox said he is also gaining more knowledge in data analytics and information technology by getting a data analytics certificate through Simpson.