California CPA CPE Requirements for License Renewal

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CPE is used by several certifying firms to guarantee that its members stay current with changes in the industry trends and continue to maintain their skills. CPE requirements, on the other hand, frequently differ by state or area, even within the same firm. Each AICPA office, for example, is overseen and regulated by a state Board of Accountancy. As a result, California CPA CPE requirements will differ from those of other states. As a result, it is critical for members to be aware of their state's requirements. Otherwise, the process of recertification might become more perplexing and difficult.

California CPAs are generally obliged to renew their license every two years. They must also complete 20 hours of CPE each year. Each recertification term requires a total of 80 hours. As a result, the information below emphasizes the Board's key recertification constraints and timeframes.

  • License Renewal Date

Licenses expire every two years at midnight on the last day of the month in which you were born. Your license expiry year is determined by your birth year. Your license will expire every even year if you were born in an even year. If you were born in an odd year, your license will expire every odd year.

  • CPE Reporting Period

Biennial on the final day of the birth month of the odd or even year that corresponds to the birth year.

  • Total CPE Hours    

80 hours of CPE

  • Self-Study Credit Limitations

A score of 90 or above is required to pass.

All CPAs in California are urged to renew their licenses online. All CPE courses taken within the two years prior to the license expiration date must be reported. Excess hours obtained during one CPE cycle cannot be carried forward to the next CPE cycle.

Subject Area Requirements

In California, there are multiple subject area requirements for CPAs. One of the most important CPA CPE requirements is that 40 hours of technical subjects must be completed per two-year renewal term. Annually, a minimum of 12 CPE hours in a variety of subjects is also required. Accounting, auditing, taxes, consultancy, financial planning, professional conduct and ethics courses accepted by the Board, computer and information technology (excluding word processing), and specific industry or government practices relating to public accounting skills are all included. CPAs must also complete 4 hours of ethics per recertification period, as well as a two-hour, Board-approved Regulatory Review course every six years. Courses in ethics must be at least one-hour long. Alternatively, ethics requirements can be met in a multi-subject course, if it includes an dthics topic that is at least one-hour long.

Each renewal season, certain licensees must additionally complete 24 hours of government CPE. Those involved in planning or directing are the most common. However, anyone who does a lot of fieldwork or reports on financial or compliance audits for a government agency also qualifies. During each recertification cycle, licensees who perform the same responsibilities for a non-governmental body must complete 24 hours of A&A.

As their highest degree of service, some licensees only undertake preparation engagements. As a result, for each renewal cycle, 8 hours of CPE relevant to preparatory engagements or accounting and auditing are required.

An extra 4 hours of fraud CPE relating to the identification and/or reporting of fraud in financial statements is needed for licensees who are subject to the A&A, Government, or Preparation Engagement CPE requirements. The 80 hours of CPE necessary for license renewal include the fraud CPE. It is not, however, included in the 24-hour A&A or Government CPE requirements.

Credit Limitations and Calculation

In California, CPAs can earn up to 50% of their needed CPE credits by teaching or giving a formal presentation. The Board will only accept credit for repeat presentations if the program content has altered. For each hour taught, credit for this approach is equivalent to the real presentation hours plus up to two hours for actual preparatory time.

Nontechnical subjects can only count for 50% of the total credits necessary. Communication, word processing, sales, marketing, motivational approaches, negotiating skills, office administration, practice management, and personnel management are all common examples. Learning or teaching the usage of accounting software also counts as general CPE in the technical field, however, they do not count as a kind of accounting or auditing credit. In addition, CPE credits for certain subject areas are not accepted in California. Personal development, self-realization, spirituality, personal health and/or fitness, sports and recreation, other language and cultures, and so forth are examples.

Accounting and auditing licensees in higher education courses can claim up to 15 CPE hours each semester hour. Or, if they take a quarter-hour course, they will receive 10 CPE hours. Non-credit university courses, on the other hand, are worth 1 CPE hour every classroom hour.

Licensees must pass any courses with a 90 percent or better score to receive self-study CPE credits.

Credit from all sources must be obtained in full-hour intervals at first. Once that hour has been acquired, CPE can be earned in half-hour amounts.

Other Policies and Exemptions

Continuing professional education is not required for any of the CPAs in the following categories. They must not, however, provide services to other parties:

  • Individuals who have retired.

  • Any members that are now unemployed.

  • Individuals who have taken a break from their job (even if they plan to return at some point in the future).

  • Members who have declared themselves "inactive" on the site.

A licensee may believe there are obstacles to meeting the California CPE criteria on time at times. They do, however, have the option of requesting an exemption waiver. For example, here are a few common reasons:

  • Problems with health

  • serving in the military

  • Catastrophes

  • Other scenarios that are unique

Renewal Application and Fee

Around 90 days before the license expiry date, the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) mails a CPA license renewal reminder to each licensee's address on record. CPAs can renew their licenses online at https://connect.cba.ca.gov.

Around 90 days before the license expiry date, accounting firm renewal applications are mailed to each licensee's address of record by CA Board of Accountancy. Firms can pay for their renewals online and send their documentation to renewalappatcba [dot] ca [dot] gov (renewalappatcba [dot] ca [dot] gov).

A CPA must complete a license renewal application and submit it to the CBA, along with a $250 renewal fee, to keep their license active. Whether the license is renewed as active or inactive, the renewal charge remains the same. The application and fee can be sent by mail or filed online.

Licensees will get a pocket identification card with their updated license expiration date after their license renewal payment has been processed. Practice privileges will be granted to licensees renewing in an active condition. The delivery of the identity card, however, does not mean that the renewal procedure comes to an end. The CBA may contact licensees at any time to correct any deficiencies discovered during their license renewal. A shortcoming does not always result in the loss of practicing rights.

The CBA does not have the legal jurisdiction to waive the delay charge for a renewal application that has not been received. Furthermore, the CBA does not have the legal power to waive the delinquent fee for a payment that is not received by the CBA unless evidence of delivery can be provided.

Except for the Regulatory Review course, the CBA does not pre-approve or register providers of continuing education (CE) courses.

Via Mail

To avoid a delinquency fee, the signed and completed license renewal application and fee must be submitted by the license expiration date. Money orders, cashier's checks, and personal checks drawn from a U.S. bank are all acceptable means of payment. The application and fee should be sent to the following address:

Department of Consumer Affairs

P.O. Box 942501

Sacramento, CA 94258-0501.

Illumeo CPE is the solution for you if you're seeking for a holistic continuing professional education platform to meet your California Ethics CPE requirements and get additional industry certifications.

Each student has access to over 1600+ certificate programs on Illumeo. If your state needs you to get some education credits in a live environment, Illumeo has you covered with a calendar of more than 100 webinars every year to meet this requirement.