Significant Changes to the California CPA Exam Requirements

The California Board of Accountancy (CBA) is rolling out some significant changes to the CPA exam requirements, with some changes having a retroactive impact. These changes include:

  • Extending the duration during which credit for the successful completion of a CPA exam section remains valid.
  • Changing the required exam sections, which includes replacing the BEC (Business Environment and Concepts) portion of the exam with other elective options.

Extensions to Exam Credits

  1. All exam credits that had previously expired during the time period between January 30, 2020 and December 31, 2023 are retroactively reactivated and considered valid until June 30, 2025. Note, the CBA will automatically update each candidate’s account to add the credits. CPA candidates do not need to do anything on their end to apply to have their previously expired credits reactivated. The CBA will update each CPA candidate’s account with regards to previously expired credits on December 6, 2023.
  2. All exam credits that are valid as of December 31, 2023 will be considered valid until June 30, 2025. The CBA will automatically apply the extended expiration period to credits that are active as of this cut off date. CPA candidates do not need to do anything to apply the longer expiration period to active credits they have as of December 31, 2023. The CBA will update each CPA candidate’s account to show the new extended date for any credits valid as of December 31. This will be updated in two waves. The majority of candidates’ accounts will be updated on December 8, 2023. For those testing in the final weeks of the year these updates will be posted around December 29, 2023.
  3. Any new exam credits earned beginning in January 2024 will be valid for 30 months. This is an increase to the previous validity window which was only 18 months.

CPA candidates should review their accounts to check that the new expiration dates have been applied. If the account doesn’t appear to be correctly updated by January 2, 2024, CBA can be contacted at or by phone at (916) 561-1703.

Due to the retroactive extensions, it is possible that a CPA candidate may now have enough active credits to cover all required parts of the CPA exam. The CBA will notify individuals who have passed the CPA exam as a result of these extensions by email and by sending a physical letter.  

If a CPA candidate had already paid and scheduled to take a test section that they now have a reactivated credit for, NASBA will issue refunds for candidates who contact them prior to the test at

Changes to the CPA Exam Sections

Starting on January 1, 2024 the exam section requirements include needing three core sections and one discipline section.

All of the following core sections are required:

  • AUD       (Auditing and Attestation)
  • FAR        (Financial Accounting and Reporting)
  • REG        (Regulation)

Plus one discipline from the possible options below:

  • BAR        (Business Analysis and Reporting)
  • ISC          (Information Systems and Controls)
  • TCP        (Tax Compliance)
  • Or
  • BEC        (Business Environment and Concepts) if obtained prior to 2024. *

* Note BEC will not be one of the available electives as of January 1, 2024.

To read the announcement posted on the CBA website regarding the CPA Exam Credit Extensions for California CPA candidates click here. Or for more information on the changes to the required sections of the exam click here.

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