The AICPA and NASBA have recently put out a joint press release discussing their proposed update to the CPA Handbook. According to the release, the proposed changes are designed to provide employers with updated CPA training materials that offer better instruction for students.
The documents involved are commonly referred to as “booklets,” or training manuals. Booklets are generally produced by the CPA Standards Council.
Currently, it is somewhat difficult to get a CPA to give a classroom presentation, but the new booklets are intended to remedy this. The changes are intended to be compatible with most current accounting software systems, making it easier for students to learn the material. According to the release, most new booklets will include templates for common classes and information.
In addition, some booklets will include short stories, and interactive exercises in order to help prepare students for applying concepts. Overall, the booklets should be significantly easier to use than what is currently available.
One of the more exciting aspects of the changes is that the CPA Handbook will have booklets that are more interactive. In a nutshell, CPA textbook will now have sections where students can create their own online demo projects to help familiarize themselves with the concepts. There will also be sections for questions and answers on-line.
In an interview with the Association of Independent Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Martin Lemelin said that a lot of effort has gone into developing the new handbooks, which will be developed for use with most accounting software. Additionally, he said that the changes are not simply for the sake of updating the booklets. He went on to say that the change was primarily to make sure that students are able to get updated material, and that the changes will ensure that they are able to be taught at a faster rate.
In the course of reviewing the requirements for the booklets, the AICPA said that while there are a few differences between the CPA Handbook and the CPA Model Handbook, they will not change the CPA Handbook material significantly. In other words, if a student wants to use a CPA Model Handbook, they can do so, as long as they meet the minimum requirements. The differences include new stories, visuals, and concepts.
According to a number of reports, AICPA Chair Edward Cates said that while he understands the need for textbook changes, he thought that the changes were more about providing students with better, more current material. The two handbooks are basically identical in most regards, but differences are relatively minimal.
For example, the booklets are currently out of date and have incorrect information on them. There is also a problem with filling out the correct fields. Also, the fact that there are several types of CPA exams makes it even more important that the CPA Handbook has up-to-date content, because there will always be a need for new material.
In other words, the booklets and the CPA CPDT are not really the same thing. The booklets are intended to cover current issues, while the CPDT covers the financial aspects of the profession.
This change is actually going to be put into effect when CPA handbooks become a part of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASS). There are actually no set deadlines for the change, but the AICPA is moving ahead with it.