A Comprehensive Guide To Earning CPE Credits

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Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) must maintain their certification through Continuing Professional Education (CPE). Obtaining CPE credits allows them to maintain their knowledge database and stay up to date on the latest accounting procedures and practices.

To obtain a CPA license, you must meet the academic and employment requirements set forth by your State Board of Accountancy and pass the Uniform CPA Exam. However, your journey does not end here; you must renew your license on a regular basis by obtaining the needed CPEs.

What is CPE?

CPE refers to a set of learning requirements that CPAs must meet in order to maintain their license. CPE is designed to ensure that CPAs take part in learning activities that will help them maintain and enhance their professional competence. This assures that they provide skilled services of the highest quality.

State boards have different CPE requirements. Every 1-3 years, a CPA must ensure compliance with state-specific CPE obligations. To put it another way, CPAs must achieve a specified number of CPE hours by participating in learning programs in relevant disciplines for their license to remain valid.

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) have set standards for CPE trainings. These guidelines serve as a foundation for creating, awarding, assessing, and reporting CPE programs.

Thousands of hours of free and paid CPE courses are available through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These courses cover a wide range of topics at both the basic and expert levels. They make it simple for CPAs to maintain and develop their skills.

NASBA also offers a wide selection of CPE courses, but only through CPE sponsors who are registered with the organization. The majority of states accept courses from CPE-registered providers. Some jurisdictions, however, have extra requirements.

General CPE Requirements

Please keep in mind that CPE requirements may depend on where you choose to work as a CPA. The following are, nonetheless, necessary prerequisites:

  • Every year, an average of 40 credit hours is required.

  • Renewal span of 1-3 years

Every three years, all members of AICPA must complete 120 hours (or equivalent) of CPE training. CPE programs might take the form of in-house training, college classes, or trade association conventions, among other things.

50 minutes = 1 CPE credit

If members participate in programs that do not specify the number of hours, they can figure it out by dividing the number of minutes spent on the program by 50. The time should be rounded up to the nearest whole hour.

CPAs must adhere to all CPE requirements issued by their state licensing authority, as well as those established by other governmental entities, membership associations, and other professional bodies.

Members may occasionally engage in and complete the entire educational program from providers who are neither NASBA or AICPA recognized. A certain number of such hours may be qualified for CPE credits in some situations. Individuals should keep any necessary details from non-approved programs and apply for eligibility to their state-level board to ascertain if they can still receive credits.

Recording Documentation & Reporting CPE Credits

CPA members are responsible for reporting the number of CPE credits they have obtained in an accurate and timely manner. This includes document maintenance as well as proof of participation and achievement of educational objectives.

Even if the member feels the program should have awarded more credits, CPAs must never claim more than the CPE credits allowed by the CPE program provider. If this case occurs, it is suggested that you speak with the NASBA immediately. CPAs have a lot of leeway when it comes to participating in their favorite sponsored programs, but they should only claim credit for activities that actually improve their professional skill.

CPE credits, which equal 50 minutes of program time, are the official measuring unit. While measuring and reporting credits is vital, the AICPA cautions members that the main objective should always be education and skill development, not just credit accumulation.

Retaining documents is critical in case CPA members are asked to justify their continuing education to regulators or other entities that may demand evidence. The AICPA advises that records be kept for at least five years after the educational development program has been completed.

Permissible evidence may include:

  • A certificate of completion awarded by a CPE program provider that has been approved.

  • A certificate confirming that all qualifying assessments in a self-study program were successfully completed.

  • A transcript or record of a university's grade.

  • Copies of publications in which CPA is listed as an author/contributor. The writer's statement in support of the number of CPE hours claimed. Name and contact information for the publisher/content reviewer

Best ways to earn CPE credits

  1. Webinars

Attending webinars is the most prevalent way for CPAs to obtain CPE credit hours. These are fantastic since you can view them whenever and wherever you choose. Furthermore, you may view them at any time of day, whether at home or at work.

Webinars are often delivered by qualified CPA teachers and are made available via a variety of providers. Illumeo CPE programs are one example of this. They provide over 1000 live webinars for CPE credit. Furthermore, because these webinars are live events, you do not need to take any quizzes or tests to receive credit from them.

Another option is to contact the AICPA directly. They provide hundreds of webcasts on a variety of topics, which are grouped from fundamental to expert level. Whatever source you select, webinars are a fascinating and simple method to earn much-needed credits on-demand.

  1. Self-Study Courses

Self-study can provide a significant number of CPE hours. There are several training courses and solutions available that allow you to earn CPE while growing your professional abilities and raising your employee worth. This might range from as basic as reading business journals to as complicated as enrolling in a self-study course. In general, self-study is one of the most significant strategies to obtain credit.

Many sponsors provide these courses in offline PDF forms, which means that once downloaded, you may access them without an Internet connection. The nicest part about these courses is that you can tailor your study schedule to your needs.

Simply finish the course materials on time and pass the final test at the completion of each course. It's important to note that if you don't obtain a passing score (about 70%), you won't get any credit. However, with immediate online evaluation, you will receive your results promptly and a certificate of completion if you pass.

  1. Networking Events

Networking events designed to establish and keep industry relationships are also ideal for earning credits. Many of these events may be accessed through your industry's trade association or on LinkedIn. Several of these activities may also be offered by state groups, so keep a lookout for any opportunities to participate in one throughout your regular routine.

  1. Conferences

If you are attending a conference as part of your professional employment, you may be able to receive CPE credit for it. This is a fantastic alternative since it allows you to improve your professional abilities and contacts while still retaining your accounting qualifications.

The AICPA maintains a list of over thirty annual events that you may attend for continuing education credits. You will have the opportunity to connect with and receive guidance from renowned accountants from throughout the country while attending. If your situation requires you to remain at home, you can still participate in the conference online. This is due to the fact that all AICPA online conferences are streamed live to your computer, allowing you to attend despite any unforeseen situations.

  1. Creating Materials

Writing articles or books on your profession might help you get some credit. This is due to the fact that publishing content relating to your field is seen as a direct contribution to your competence as a CPA. The time you spend teaching others is also applicable and welcomed as long as your material is instructional in nature.

One CPA hour is typically provided for each hour spent generating educational content. However, you are only permitted to earn a limited number of CPE credits using this approach. Each state has its own limit on how much you may make in this manner. Check with your state's regulations for this.

  1. CPA CPE Courses

Many sponsors also provide CPE courses on a range of topics. Accountancy and audit, government and not-for-profit, and tax updates are among them. These continuing education courses keep you current on new regulatory and policy developments, assisting you in your professional path and performance.

  1. Deliver a Seminar

Giving a seminar can also earn you significant CPE credit. State CPA societies require persons to provide lectures and presentations, and those who do so are rewarded. This can range from anything as easy as speaking at local CPA chapters to something as involved as delivering a course. In any case, this is a highly valued approach for earning CPE hours because you will also be establishing your professional reputation.

If you fall behind on your credit requirements one year, there are always courses available around the end of December or even in the first few weeks of January that may be used to make up the difference. It may be tough to obtain a large number of credits in a short period of time, but you may be able to locate a part-day or all-day course that will meet your needs.

Conclusion

CPE credits are a requirement for CPAs. You can lose a lot of time and money if you don't understand how to manage these credits properly. It is good to plan out your year in credits ahead of time so that you are not taken by surprise at the last minute attempting to figure out where you stand.