The AICPA Core Competency Framework, developed by educators for educators, defines a set of skills-based competencies needed by all students entering the accounting profession, regardless of the career path they choose (public/industry/government/nonprofit) or the specific accounting services they will perform.
The Core Competency Framework
The Framework focuses on skills and is not structured around traditional subject/content areas or accounting services. A skills-based curriculum is advocated, because the body of knowledge and the accounting profession are changing so rapidly. Although knowledge requirements will change with time, the core set of competencies identified by the Framework will have long-term value and will support a variety of career opportunities for the future CPA.
In addition, by basing entry-level competency requirements on professional models, the Framework supports the concept of learning as a continuum that begins in an academic setting and continues with life-long professional education and experience. Further, by basing curriculum guidance on professional expectations, the Framework aims to ease transition from student to professional.
Functional Competencies—technical competencies most closely aligned with the value contributed by accounting professionals
Personal Competencies—individual attributes and values
Broad Business Perspectives Competencies—perspectives and skills relating to understanding of internal and external business contexts
Mapping of the Core Competency Framework to the Skills Tested on the CPA Exam
In particular, the skills identified in the Functional category provide a foundation essential to the CPA profession while the Broad Business and Personal skills position the CPA to offer valued added services in the form of decision-making ability, strategic and critical thinking, leadership, and more. Likewise, the computer-based CPA Examination, and in particular, the simulations, assesses the skills entry-level CPAs must have in order to ensure the protection of the public interest, as identified by the most recent accounting practice analysis. The skills tested on the CPA Exam are: Analysis, Judgment, Communication, Research, and Understanding.
In addition, the Framework and the skills tested on the CPA Exam are reflective of the core values of the accounting profession, provide the requisite skill set necessary to develop the foundation for a successful and productive career, and support the concept of learning as a continuum that begins in an academic setting and continues with life-long professional education and experience. To this end, a joint task force of the AICPA Pre-Certification Education Executive Committee and CPA Exam Content Committee has prepared a document mapping the skills identified in the AICPA Core Competency Framework to the skills tested on the CPA Exam. (PowerPoint Presentation)
Supplemental ECA Materials
Sample Teaching Strategies and Classroom Techniques that Address the Core Competencies