Changes to Philippine CPA Board Exam Syllabus


Alright, so, it has been making rounds in the social media a month ago that there will be revisions to the Philippine Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination syllabus.  We decided to publish it just in case you don’t know what the coverage is yet.

What has Changed?

Last June 20, 2015, the Board of Accountancy (BOA) unanimously decided to propose to the Professionals Regulation Commission (PRC) the revision of the subjects covered by the CPA Licensure Examination. BOA has the authority to amend the CPA examination subject to the approval of PRC. The subjects that were recommended to be included in the CPA board examination are:

  1. Financial Accounting and Reporting
  2. Advanced Accounting
  3. Management Accounting and Control
  4. Auditing
  5. Taxation
  6. Regulatory Framework for Business Transactions

The highlights of this change include:


  1. Reduction in the number of subjects from seven (7) to six (6)
  2. Merging auditing theory and practice into one (1) subject
  3. Merging of accounting theory and practice and distributing the pertinent topics in Theory of Accounts, Practical Accounting I, Practical Accounting II to Financial Accounting and Reporting and Advance Accounting
  4. Segregating Business Law and Taxation into Taxation and Regulatory Framework for Business Transactions
  5. Renaming Management Services to Management Accounting and Control

A mapping or matching of the subjects in the current prescribed BS Accountancy curriculum with the topics that will be covered by the six subjects being recommended was done by the BOA. This mapping exercise indicates that there is a 100% match indicating that all of the revised subjects proposed for board examination are covered and taught in the current BSA curriculum.

The BOA unanimously recommended to the PRC to implement these changes in the May 2016 CPA Licensure Examination.

BOA’s Next Steps

The following steps will be done by the to implement the recommendations:

  1. Prepare the PRC resolution for the revision of subjects
  2. Finalize the syllabus and Table of Specifications for the six subjects
  3. Coordinate with the appropriate office/s in PRC to implement the changes
  4. Prepare the problems for the test bank for the six subjects
  5. Address the transitory requirements (i.e. existing test banks, conditional examinees, etc.)
  6. Conduct public awareness and consultation with the various stakeholders (i.e. the CHED, Accounting Schools, JPIA, PICPA, Review Centers, etc.)

What Does it Mean to Us?

Well, the ones that are really affected are those who will sooner or later take the CPA board exam. But of course, educators will also have significant role in the process since they are the one that actually guides the students and reviewees.

On the changes in subjects – We believe that the changes in subjects doesn’t really significantly impact the nature of items given during the exam. Of course there are always something new, like amendments to the accounting and auditing standards, amendments and revision in tax and business laws and regulations that are usually taking place even without changing the subjects.  What’s catchy here are

  • The previous “Business Law” is now changed to “Regulatory Framework for Business Transactions” which deals largely not only with obligations and contracts, negotiable instruments, laws on partnership and corporations, law on sales, but is now expected to include laws and regulations issued by relevant government agencies like the SEC, DTI, etc.  Schools should put emphasis on these items as it may appear as ‘something new’ to the students and reviewees.
  • There is now added emphasis on “Control” in the Management Accounting and Control subject. Although control is included in the various discussions in auditing theories, we feel that the move to emphasize this area is a very appropriate move, specially that in real practice, it is one of the most often overlooked or neglected, especially for small business. This subject is also largely covered in “Accounting Information System” subjects in the undergrad.

On the timing of implementation – It’s about time to make these changes, we believe. These updated subjects are the ones that really applicable not just in theory but also in practice. In substance, we believe that there is really no significant impact on the change of subject and the mere fact that these subject were aligned with the current BSA curriculum is an advantage on the part of the future examinees.

We are actually expecting even more, since there are emerging practices of accountants today that are not yet detailedly being taught in the undergrad like the preparation of and attestation of Sustainability Reports and Integrated Reports.  Although those are partially covered in auditing, there is an emerging need for a more detailed discussion.

Well, we can’t really tell unless and until we see the results. Let PRC and BOA make these changes and we’ll take it from there.

Are you excited?

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and information provided are for general conceptual guidance for public information and are not substitute for expert advice. Contact for more information and if you want to avail professional services. Find us on Facebook!

Orlando Calundan is a CPA who has exposures in FS audit of entities in various industries such as real estate, food/restaurants, manufacturing, service organizations and BPOs, automotive, holding/investment companies and more. He also has exposure on internal audit engagements.

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