In the ever-changing environment of the business and accounting industries, professional accounting exams must be adjusted every 5-6 years to keep up. The last major CIA exam changes occurred in 2013, so it’s about time.
And by that I mean, IIA CIA exam changes are coming on January 1, 2019. If you plan to take the exam on or after that date or are looking for motivation to finish the exam before next year, let me tell you all about the 2019 CIA exam changes so you can prepare.
In early 2017, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) conducted an extensive analysis of the modern internal audit profession. With their research, they uncovered the knowledge, skills, and abilities current internal audit professionals need in their positions. The IIA then decided to modify the CIA exam syllabus so that the new version assess CIA candidates for such information and capabilities.
According to the IIA, an exam syllabus is an outline summarizing the topic areas the exam addresses. Therefore, each part of the CIA exam has its own separate syllabus. For this reason, CIA exam review providers and candidates can use the 3 CIA exam syllabi to identify and learn the content on which the exam will cover. The exam focuses on this content in order to prove candidate proficiency in internal audit during the process of earning the CIA designation.
As I mentioned, a new iteration of the CIA exam will launch on January 1, 2019. The IIA will release the updated English version of the exam first. Then, other language versions of the exam will become available gradually throughout 2019.
|French and Spanish||June 1, 2019|
|German and Turkish||July 1, 2019|
|Arabic and Russian||August 1, 2019|
|Korean and Portuguese||September 1, 2019|
|Chinese Traditional and Japanese||October 1, 2019|
|Chinese Simplified||December 2019 or early 2020|
The format of the CIA exam, which includes the following exam components, will remain the same:
Part 1: 150 minutes
Part 2: 120 minutes
Part 3: 120 minutes
Number of Exam Questions
Part 1: 125
Part 2: 100
Part 3: 100
Passing Score: 600
The CIA exam requirements will also stay the same.
The IIA has adjusted the syllabus of all 3 parts to reflect the latest global practice of internal audit. In particular, the IIA has revised Part 1 and Part 2 to better align with The IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.
The IIA has also switched a few sections between Part 1 and Part 2 to create a more focused and coherent syllabus. Therefore, candidates who have already taken Part 1 or 2 may see some subject areas repeats if they take the other part in 2019.
Each new CIA syllabus for 2019 differs significantly from each old CIA syllabus 2018. As you can see in this comparison of the IIA syllabus for each part, the CIA Part 1 syllabus and the CIA Part 2 syllabus have gained content areas, while the CIA Part 3 syllabus has lost content areas.
|Part 1 CIA Syllabus 2018||Part 1 CIA Syllabus 2019|
|I. Mandatory Guidance (35-45%)||I. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)|
|II. Internal Control / Risk (25-35%)||II. Independence and Objectivity (15%)|
|III. Conducting Internal Audit Engagements – Audit Tools and Techniques (25-35%)||III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)|
|IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)|
|V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)|
|VI. Fraud Risks (10%)|
|Part 2 CIA Syllabus 2018||Part 2 CIA Syllabus 2019|
|I. Managing the Internal Audit Function (40-50%)||I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)|
|II. Managing Individual Engagements (40-50%)||II. Planning the Engagement (20%)|
|III. Fraud Risks and Controls (5-15%)||III. Performing the Engagement (40%)|
|IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)|
|Part 3 CIA Syllabus 2018||Part 3 CIA Syllabus 2019|
|I. Governance / Business Ethics (5-15%)||I. Business Acumen (35%)|
|II. Risk Management (10-20%)||II. Informational Security (25%)|
|III. Organizational Structure / Business Processes and Risks (15-25%)||III. Information Technology (20%)|
|IV. Communications (5-10%)||IV. Financial Management (20%)|
|V. Management / Leadership Principles (10-20%)|
|VI. IT / Business Continuity|
|VII. Financial Management (10-20%)|
|VIII. Global Business Environment (0-10%)|
The new syllabi also provide more information about how deeply the exam expects candidates to understand each topic. For example, the old syllabus told candidates to know all topics at the Proficient level as opposed to the Awareness level. Consequently, each new syllabus specifies whether an individual subtopic requires a Basic or Proficient level of knowledge. This detail helps candidates get a better impression of the relative importance of every topic.
The new CIA exam Part 1 syllabus reorganizes this part to cover a macro view of internal audit. Furthermore, the syllabus will go deeper into the foundations of internal auditing as defined by the IIA mission statements and standards.
Part 1 will also test the overall concept of governance, risk management and control, and fraud risk in more detail.
The syllabus has moved the application portion of internal audit (e.g. audit tools and techniques) to Part 2.
These 4 sections include:
They are essentially the same as Section I in the old syllabus. The combined weighting (15%+15%+18%+7% = 55%) is higher than the old one (35-45%).
Governance, Risk Management, and Control now appear in this section. Originally, these topics were located under Section II in the old syllabus.
Additionally, the subtopics in this section are almost evenly split between a Basic knowledge level requirement and a Proficient knowledge level requirement.
Finally, the weighting has increased from 25-35% to 35%.
Fraud Risks was part of the old Section II. But now, this topic has merged with Section III in Part 2 to form a new separate section. At 10%, the weighting is about the same.
Furthermore, in the old exam, these topics were tested at the Awareness level in Part 1 and progressed to the Proficient level in Part 2. However, in the new exam, candidates must know almost all of these topics at the Proficient level.
The old Section III, Conducting Internal Audit Engagement (25-35%), has moved to Part 2.
The new CIA Part 2 syllabus now clarifies that this part tests the application of internal audit.
Specifically, Part 2 assesses candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the IIA’s Performance Standards (Series 2000, 2200, 2300, 2400, 2500, and 2600) and current internal audit practices.
This section, called Managing the Internal Audit Activity, is the same as Section 1 in the old syllabus.
Nevertheless, Section I places less emphasis on the strategic role of internal auditors (previously addresses in Section 1A) and now only tests on this topic at the Basic level.
Accordingly, this section has experienced a great reduction in overall weighting, going from 40-50% to 20%.
Previously, Section II on Planning the Engagement was the first part of the old Section II.
Additionally, Section IV on Communicating Engagement Results was the second part of the old Section II.
Not surprisingly, the newly combined weighting of this (20% + 20% = 40%) falls within the same range as the old version (40-50%).
The Performing the Engagement section used to be in Section III in Part 1. But now, the weighting has increased from 25-35% in old Part 1 to 40% in the new Part 2.
The old Section III on Fraud Risk now resides in Section VI. Fraud Risk in Part 1.
The new CIA Part 3 syllabus considerably streamlines this content to feature only the areas most relevant to internal auditors. For example, the IIA removed business competition, conflict management, cultural and political environment, and communications from the new CIA Part 3 syllabus.
Interestingly, the once heavily tested topic about COSO and ISO 31000 seems to have disappeared as well.
As a result, the new syllabus places much greater weight on Information Security and Information Technology.
This Business Acumen section is a combination of the old Sections III and V. For this reason, most of the topics continue to test at the Basic level. However, performance measures and the risk/control implications of common business processes now require a Proficient level of knowledge.
Moreover, with 35%, the weighting of this section stays within the old 25-40% range.
These two sections on Information Security and Information Technology pull from the old Section VI on the same subject. But, the weighting has increased significantly, going from a range of 15-25% to 45%.
Although, the cognitive level continues to be Basic. So, this section just tests candidates at an introductory level of the topics.
This section on Financial Management is a duplicate of the old Section VII on the same subject. Hence, the testing level is still Basic for all topics except financial analysis (the ratios).
Once again, the weighting (20%) remains in the same range (15-20%) found in the old syllabus.
Overall, it’s hard to tell whether the new syllabus makes the exam harder or easier. Therefore, most candidates will make the safe choice and take the exam before the major changes arrive.
Similarly, the CIA exam review course providers also encourage you to take the CIA exam as soon as possible. Why? Because they can’t really tell what the new exam questions will look like and which topics will get the most attention until the updated exam arrives in early 2019. At that point, the review providers will need a few months to adjust their practice questions and exams to better reflect the altered exam content.
As I mentioned, the topic switches taking place between the 2018 CIA syllabi and the 2019 CIA syllabi means that candidates who took Part 1 or Part 2 in 2018 may see some of the same topics when they sit for the other part in 2019.
On the other hand, if you have to retake Part 1 or Part 2 in 2019, you’ll have to study some new topics in order to pass the new version.
Part 3 is now less of a mixed bag, which could be good news for many candidates.
For instance, Governance and ISO 31000 may no longer be tested (at least, the new syllabus does not explicitly mention them as the old syllabus did).
Also, the exam will still test financial management at the Basic level. In that case, those who use Gleim can still to stay away from the complex computational practice questions. The ratios remain important though. For this reason, you should memorize the formulas and know how to apply them.
Maybe you’re wondering, “I’ve already passed one part of the CIA exam. Do I need to retake that part in 2019? Will my credit for passed CIA exam parts carry over?”
No, you do not need to retake any passed parts in 2019. Because yes, credit for passed exam parts will carry over. As a result, you can combine credit for a part passed in 2018 with a part passed in 2019. Just remember: you have 4 years to pass all 3 CIA exam parts.
Because the CIA exam changes won’t arrive until 2019, you still have time to pass the all 3 parts and avoid the changes. I strongly suggest that you make the commitment to doing this. Even if you only pass 1 or 2 parts in 2018, you’ll reduce the number of parts you must pass in 2019. In this position, you’ll also have reduced the amount of uncertainty you would have to face in the process of passing the CIA exam.
You can further diminish CIA exam uncertainty by taking our free mini-course. This course will help you pass the CIA exam with ease, so sign up directly below:
Gleim CIA Review is the most widely used CIA review course, and many of my readers use it. Therefore, I’d like to demonstrate just how much the CIA exam will change on January 1, 2019, by revealing how much the content of the 2019 edition of Gleim CIA Review differs from the 2018 edition. You can compare the detailed table of contents from each part of the 2019 Gleim course to your 2018 Gleim course to get a better sense of the new CIA exam syllabi’s effects.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.
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