Accounting | The Profession

Changes to CPA preparatory courses offer greater flexibility for students

Courses will be available over five semesters, U.S.-based CEOs make a corporate commitment to benefit all stakeholders, and more news from the accounting and business worlds

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young female student writing in notebook while studying at table with laptop and booksThe new changes to the CPA preparatory courses will come into effect in November 2019 (Getty Images/Maskot)

CHANGES TO CPA PREPARATORY COURSES ANNOUNCED 

To improve student experience and flexibility of course delivery, the CPA profession announced key changes to the CPA preparatory courses that will come into effect in November 2019. These include: addition of a new semester, open registration for non-core CPA preparatory courses, and separation of course and examination.

Kicking off with the 2019/20 academic year that starts in November, the core CPA preparatory courses will be offered over five semesters instead of four, while students will be able to sign up for non-core courses at any time during the year. 

In addition, starting in October, students will be able to register for a CPA preparatory course and pick from five exam dates, which will allow more time (up to 12 months) between the course’s start date and writing the exam.

CEOS COMMIT TO NEW STANDARD OF CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY 

Shareholder profits should no longer be the primary priority for corporations, says the new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation released in August by Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies. 

The statement—signed by 181 CEOs in the U.S.—puts the onus on maintaining a commitment to all stakeholders, i.e. customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. It is a major shift away from the statements released by the group since 1997, which previously supported shareholder primacy.

“Major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and chairman of Business Roundtable in a press release. “These modernized principles reflect the business community’s unwavering commitment to continue to push for an economy that serves all Americans.”

Business Roundtable advocates for policies that “spur job creation, improve U.S. competitiveness and strengthen the economy.” This latest statement was signed by notable business leaders, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and CEOs of the Big 4 accounting firms.   

CFA INSTITUTE SURVEY BACKS UP QUARTERLY REPORTING

A survey conducted by the CFA Institute shows a majority of respondents are in favour of quarterly reporting over semi-annual reporting. The study was partly in response to the request for comment by the Securities and Exchange Commission after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested a regulatory change might be in order last August.

Conducted with nearly 160,000 CFA Institute members, the results indicated that 50 per cent believed that quarterly reports were more important to investors than earnings releases. Seventy-two per cent also stated that quarterly reports were more useful to investors because they provide structured information.

“Timely and accurate financial information is the lifeblood of the capital markets and, hence, the world’s economy,” wrote Mohini Singh, ACA, director of reporting policy at CFA Institute, in a blog post. “Quarterly financial reporting creates a level playing field for all market constituents, including the buy side, sell side, individual shareholders, regulators, and policy makers. For this reason, CFA Institute does not agree with a move to semiannual reporting.”

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