You may have heard of the CBT-3, the latest development of the new CPA exam, to be launched on April 1, 2017. It is now finalized and officially announced by the AICPA.
Here is a video summarizing the upcoming changes, and why it’s getting harder:
Why a New CPA Exam?
The examiners are not aiming to change the exam content, but more on testing a higher level of skills.
Specifically, they are looking for critical thinking, problem solving, analytical ability, and professional skepticism, as well as a strong sense of ethics and professionalism.
This means less on rote memorization and more on analysis, and even evaluation.
Now vs 2017 New CPA Exam
The FAR exam will remain to be a 4-hour exam, but the number of multiple choice questions will reduce from 90 to 66. The emphasis will be more on task based simulations, with questions increasing to 9. Please expect to see fewer straight-forward questions on definition and understanding of basic concepts.
There will be extra test on analysis through a new TBS called the Document Review Simulation (DRS). For these questions, we will need to reference phone conversation transcripts, legal letters, authoritative literature, and other written documents to discern what’s important or not when solving the problem. You will also see DRS in other parts of the exam.
The duration of the AUD exam will stay at 4 hours, but similar to FAR, number of multiple choice questions will reduce from 90 to 72, and sims increasing to 9. Given the nature of audit, you will still see a fair amount of traditional questions. But do get prepared for the new TBS covering analysis and evaluation.
Duration for the REG exam will be increased to 4 hours, covering 76 multiple choice and 9 simulation questions.
BEC will also change to a 4-hour exam. Multiple choice weighting will be slightly reduced from 72 questions to 62. The nature of the questions will be quite different, with less memorization and more analysis.
Simulations are added back this time with 5 questions. For written communications (to be called written responses), there will be 3 questions as before, and the nature remains the same.
Multiple Choice / Sims Proportion
It will now be 50/50, as shown below:
|Exam Sections||MCQ||Sims||Written Response|
|FAR, AUD, REG||50%||50%||—|
Since it will be more tiring to take this “higher-order” test, there will be an optional 15-minute break outside of the 4-hour exam period. In other words, these breaks do not count against the exam time.
A new testing interface utilizing Excel to be launched in 2018.
Question from Reader
1) If I pass two parts in 2016, would they be counted in the new exam or do I need to retake all?
Yes, they will be counted. The combination of old (pre-April 2017) exam and new (April 2017) exam can be counted toward licensure, as long as they are completed within the 18-month window.
2) Will the exam fee increase with this change?
Exam fee will increase for REG and BEC because the exam duration will be increased from 3 to 4 hours. For FAR and AUD, you can expect the level to be similar.
Is the New CPA Exam getting Harder?
Yes! Candidates generally fear and perform not as well in task-based simulations. Now that the sims’ proportion is getting bigger and the questions are becoming more complex, I suspect the CPA exam will be tougher for most of us.
AICPA mentions about a new media dimension, such as audio, video and image, to the exam in the near future. The faster you get done with the CPA exam, the better!
Your Next Step
One thing we know for sure — the new format isn’t going to be easier. If you are serious about taking the CPA exam, I would take it sooner rather than later.
- Get started now: the CPA exam application process
- There is one testing window left: which part should I take BEFORE the changes?
- Try the tutorial and sample test from AICPA
- Q&A with the AICPA Examinations team
- AICPA’s next CPA exam structure in PDF (April 2016)
Severn Trent Water has overhauled its complaints system after Ofwat intervened in a longstanding complaint about a sewer in Bamford, Derbyshire. Residents starting having problems in around 2000. They complained to Severn Trent Water on numerous occasions from 2004, saying they had to unblock their private sewer to prevent flooding and suffered from odour from […]
The post PN 02/17 Customer service improved, thanks to Ofwat intervention appeared first on Ofwat.Read More
“Bitcoin was built on a platform without national boundaries,” the Former Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), L H Li, said on CCTV Tuesday in China. “If you want to kill Bitcoin, it will be an impossible task. So it will continue to exist. What is important now is that we should properly regulate it.”
Rumors in China have led bitcoin exchange executives to expect “forthcoming official guidelines in the coming weeks” by PBoC. “Such regulations could set a global precedent”, says Aurélien Menant, Founder, and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated blockchain asset exchange based in Hong Kong. “China will probably beat Japan as the first nation to officially regulate cryptocurrency trading and exchange activities.”
‘The Chinese Bitcoin industry is paradoxical,’ says Gatecoin founder
“Following the growth of QQcoin in the late 2000s, virtual currencies were banned in China,” says Mr. Menant, referring to a previous digital currency experiment. But this did not stop China from becoming a Bitcoin powerhouse.
The Bitcoin industry started to emerge in 2011, as did interest from several large regional venture capital firms, like Zhenfund, IDG and Sequoia Capital. Since late 2013, according to Mr. Menant, Chinese bitcoin exchanges came to dominate global trading volumes. This was largely thanks to large bitcoin mining operations in Mainland China, which created a high amount of liquidity in the market.
“A lack of lucrative domestic investment opportunities also stoked demand for alternative assets, such as bitcoin, and until recently the government had taken a relatively laissez-faire approach to bitcoin exchange activities which provided opportunities for leveraged trading”, Mr. Menant says.
The situation has changed swiftly early 2017. “The PBoC’s investigations into Bitcoin service providers prove that the Chinese Government recognizes the potential of Bitcoin to enable secure value transfers,” according to Mr. Menant.
Chinese authorities are seeking to ensure that Bitcoin investors receive the same protections and are subject to the same levels of scrutiny as investors of conventional asset classes, according to state releases.
‘Persistent and increasing rumors of capital controls’
“This change in perspective demonstrates the growing adoption of bitcoin as an asset class, and is a sign of the development of regulated bitcoin trading markets in Mainland China. This is significant given that China is still home to the largest bitcoin trading volumes,” says Mr. Menant. “There are persistent and increasing rumors of capital controls being applied to local bitcoin exchanges, which, if true, are likely to have a strong impact on volumes and price.”
There are no official statements confirming such capital controls.
Mainstream media both in the east and the west has fostered an environment of hysteria around PBoC actions, claiming there will be a “crackdown” or “ban” on Bitcoin. Gatecoin believes actions by Chinese authorities will instead harbor a “clearer understanding” about Bitcoin in the country, and weed out bad actors.
“Players will be forced to comply with regulations designed to protect retail investors and legitimize bitcoin as an asset class,” according to Mr. Menant. “With the absence of so many exchanges offering leveraged trading, we are seeing more normal volumes and price movements, and as the global share of Chinese exchanges declines, events in China are going to have far less influence on the average price.” Chinese volumes did demonstrate a steep drop after PBoC announcements, and the subsequent fees on Bitcoin margin trading instituted by main Chinese bitcoin exchanges. The volumes have since partially rebounded.
Although Gatecoin is based in Hong Kong, forty percent of the firm’s clients are based in Europe, with thirty percent from Greater China and the rest of the world. The firm, which lists ethereum tokens, is still working to reimburse the clients affected by a May 2016 hack, in which $2 million in funds were stolen, but has yet to announce a timeline for the completion of the repayment.
Gatecoin participated in a blockchain conference in 2016 organized by Chinese officials in Changsha. Ji Xiaonan, President of the Board of Supervisors for China’s State-Owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission,” referred to Bitcoin as “the only mature blockchain technology” in use. “The biggest blockchain market is China,” he added, while commending the digital currency for its decentralizing aspects and peer-to-peer nature.
Mr. Menant adds: “We are eager to meet with the Chinese authorities on a regular basis to help them setting up a balanced regulatory framework like we do in Hong Kong and Europe.”
What do you think about the new changes to Chinese bitcoin exchanges? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Gatecoin, and cnLedger
What’s the quickest way to see the current bitcoin price in your local currency? Click here for an instant quote.Read More
Professionals covering large service areas – or providing many different services – often receive a high number of requests through Bark. So we created a brand new tool to make sure finding the jobs you want to pitch for is always easy.
It’s called “dashboard search” and it lets you quickly filter the requests in your Bark dashboard to find the jobs you want to do the most.
Simply use the brand new search bar at the top of the page in your Requests tab to specify exactly what you’re looking for and find the best customers for your business.
This new search bar lets you filter your matching Barks by: 1) when they were submitted, 2) what they cost to respond to, 3) which category they were placed in and 4) where the job needs doing.
This last feature will be especially useful if you cover a large service area but are most interested in jobs from a specific location, such as your home town.
You can even filter your matching Barks by specific keywords customers use when placing their requests. (For example, customers looking for personal trainers often ask for either “daily” or “weekly” training sessions.)
Try spending an “evening in with Bark” today
‘Dashboard search’ lets you pick out all kinds of customers with the click of a button, from massage clients looking for a male masseur to wedding photography clients within three miles of your home and more.
That’s why we believe it will turn your Bark dashboard into a tool you can use whenever you like to find the best customers for you – whether you’re out on a job, or relaxing at home in front of the TV.
So spend some time today getting to know your new dashboard and using it to find the best customers on Bark.Read More
Charities need to find ways to increase their income and many will explore Trading.
The Taxes Acts provide for a limited exemption from Income Tax or Corporation Tax for the profits of trades carried on by charities. To qualify for exemption the profits must be used solely for the charitable purposes of the charity and the trade must satisfy at least 1 of the following 3 conditions, the:
- trade’s a charitable trade (either primary purpose or mainly carried out by beneficiaries) or is ancillary to carrying out a primary purpose of the charity
- non-charitable trading turnover falls below the charity’s small trading turnover limit
- trading activity is a VAT exempt fundraising event
If a trade doesn’t satisfy 1 of the above conditions, the profits of the trade won’t be exempt from tax regardless of whether or not the profits are used for the purposes of the charity.
Primary purpose trading
A charity’s purposes are stated in its governing document (trust deed, constitution, memorandum and articles of association, etc).
Examples of such primary purpose trading include the:
- provision of educational services by a school or college in return for course fees
- holding of an exhibition by an art gallery or museum in return for admission fees
- sale of tickets for a theatrical production staged by a theatre
- provision of health-care services by a hospital in return for payment
- provision of serviced residential accommodation by a residential care home in return for payment
- sale of certain educational goods by an art gallery or museum
In each of these examples the charity’s carrying out an activity that’s a stated charitable purpose of the charity.
Trading which is ancillary to the carrying out of a primary purpose
Exemption from tax is also extended to other trading which, although not overtly primary purpose in nature, is ancillary to the carrying out of a primary purpose of a charity. This trading can still be said to be exercised in the course of the carrying out of a primary purpose of a charity and is, therefore, part of a primary purpose trade. Examples of trading which qualifies as primary purpose because it is ancillary to the carrying out of a primary purpose are the:
- sale of relevant goods or provision of services, for the benefit of students by a school or college (text books, for example)
- provision of a crèche for the children of students by a school or college in return for payment
- sale of food and drink in a cafeteria to visitors to exhibits by an art gallery or museum (although sale to the general public, as opposed to exhibition visitors, is non-primary purpose trading)
- sale of food and drink in a restaurant or bar to members of the audience by a theatre (although sale to the general public, as opposed to the audience, is non-primary purpose trading)
- sale by able bodied staff of items produced by the disabled in a disabled workshop
- sale of confectionery, toiletries and flowers to patients and their visitors by a hospital
Trading which isn’t wholly charitable trading
Under general case law charities will have only 1 trade. For some charities the trade will be a combination of a charitable trade (primary purpose or carried out by beneficiaries) and partly non-charitable trade (non-primary purpose and not carried out by beneficiaries). For example, the trade might deal in a range of goods or services only some of which are within, or ancillary to, a primary purpose. Or the trade might deal with some customers who cannot properly be regarded as beneficiaries of the charity. Examples of such trading include:
- a shop in an art gallery or museum which sells a range of goods, some of which are related to a primary purpose of the charity (direct reproductions of exhibits with no other function, (therefore excluding for example, mugs and postcards), catalogues, etc), and some of which aren’t (promotional pens, mugs, tea towels, stamps, all postcards, etc)
- the letting of serviced accommodation for students in term-time (primary purpose), and for tourists out of term (non-primary purpose), by a school or college
- the sale of food and drink in a theatre restaurant or bar both to members of the audience (beneficiaries of the charity – ancillary) and the general public (non-beneficiaries – not ancillary)
- the operation of a café by a ‘relief of the disabled’ charity where only 50% of the staff are disabled (beneficiaries) and the other 50% aren’t charitable beneficiaries
In these circumstances, the charitable part and the non-charitable part of the trade are deemed to be 2 separate trades – sections 479(2) and (3) CTA 2010 (for corporate charities) and sections 525(2) and (3) ITA 2007 (for charitable trusts) apply. The profit from the deemed charitable trade is exempt from tax, as long as it’s used for charitable purposes. The profit from the deemed non-charitable trade is taxable unless it’s exempt under the small scale trading exemption
How does the small trading exemption apply?
The small trading exemption applies to the profits of all trading activities that aren’t otherwise exempt from tax, provided the:
- total turnover from all of the activities does not exceed the small scale trading annual turnover limit
- total turnover exceeds the annual turnover limit, the charity had a reasonable expectation that it would not do so
- profits are used solely for the purposes of the charity
Calculation of the annual turnover limit
The annual turnover limit is:
- if the turnover is greater than £5,000, 25% of the charity’s total incoming resources, subject to an overall upper limit of £50,000
Using a subsidiary trading company
You may find this useful if your charity:
- makes profits on trading that’s not linked to its primary purpose
- makes a profit that comes close to or is higher than the small trading tax exemption limit
- wants to protect its assets from any trading losses
- wants to have a separate organisation to carry out all its trading activities
Further details are atRead More
All the ingredients from the Lawson boom are in place in the housing market again – minus rocketing interest rates, of course
Like Easter, the start to the buying season for househunters has come early this year. Mortgage approvals in February were 20% up on the same month in 2015.
It’s not hard to see why. Higher stamp duty on buy-to-let properties and second homes comes into force at the start of April, creating an incentive for potential purchasers to evade the clutches of the taxman. The surge in activity is giving an added upward twist to house prices, which are rising by around 10% a year – five times faster than average earnings.Read More
US hedge fund owners look at options to bolster funds including selling off the troubled bank
The Co-operative Bank has put itself up for sale, four years after it nearly collapsed and had to be bailed out by US hedge funds.
Amid persistent speculation over its long-term future, the loss-making bank said its board had decided to look for buyers, as well as look at other ways of bolstering its financial position.Read More
I’ve talked before on this blog about how difficult it can be for contractors to get a mortgage or any kind of loan. For many people it’s almost impossible.Read More
AISMA members are regularly invited to comment to the GP and practice management press about current issues in primary care. This week the 2017/18 GP contract changes were reported by the GP press. Read AISMA chairman Bob Senior’s response to the the promise of a 1% pay uplift for individual GPs on the Pulse website.
The post Pulse: AISMA chairman comments on 2017/18 GP contract appeared first on AISMA.Read More