The term “CPE” is one you’re going to become familiar with if you’ve chosen a career in accounting. Continuing Professional Education credits are required for professionals in a wide range of industries, and accountants are no exception.
For CPAs, specifically, CPE courses and credits are a fact of life. CPAs must earn a set number per year in order to maintain their licenses and remain in good standing with the board.
Here are a few things you should know.
What Are CPE Credits and Why Does It Matter?
A CPE credit is a measurement of professional education or development. 1 CPE credit is considered equivalent to 50 minutes of approved learning, and CPAs must earn 40 CPE credits per year.
With that said, State Boards of Accounting have their own regulations on CPAs over which they have jurisdiction.
While CPE requirements may seem tedious and burdensome to some accountants, the purpose is not to impose red tape. CPE study courses are intended to keep accountants informed about news, developments, and changes in the industry so that they can better serve their clients.
Which Authorities Govern Continuing Professional Education?
There are several governance and compliance boards that oversee CPE credit-hour requirements.
The most important of these organizations are NASBA and AICPA. NASBA, or the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, serves 55 state boards and monitors the industry with the goal of keeping accountants and key stakeholders informed.
The AICPA, or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, represents both the accounting industry as well as the individual Certified Public Accountants that constitute it. This organization creates the CPA exam and also enforces compliance and ethics standards – including those associated with Continuing Professional Education (CPE).
Remember, even though the AICPA requires CPAs to earn 120 CPE credits every three years (which breaks down to 40 per year), state boards may have additional requirements.
Documenting CPE Credits
Another important item to recognize is that CPE credits will only count if they come from an authorized CPE provider.
Documentation is also critical, and since individuals are responsible for documenting their credit completion, it is advised that they hold onto their documentation for at least five years.
There are a variety of ways to document course credits. For instance, CPAs should maintain certificates of completion, certificates of attendance, official transcripts and records, or names and records of independent reviewers of individual work (such as publications). Some providers, like CPE INC., typically provide Certificates of Completion upon completion of their courses.
Where Can You Take CPE Courses?
Fortunately, there are a wide range of different CPE courses you can take. Though there are in-class courses and conferences you can attend for CPE credits, there are also webinars and self-paced online CPE courses you can take as well.
One provider of online CPE courses you should investigate, if only for the convenience and premium content of the offering, presented by esteemed subject matter experts, is CPE Inc, at CPEOnline.com. They offer a wide range of online courses for CPAs, including but not limited to courses focusing on ethics, tax, financial leadership, and much more. They even offer refresher courses on accounting.
Their offering includes webinars, self-study programs, and industry leading in-person and virtual conference options.
For more information, visit their website via the link above or get in touch with them at 1-800-544-1114.