The 2023 Guide to CPE Credits

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The process of obtaining and managing CPE credits is complex. You must choose which courses to enroll in, confirm that they satisfy the prerequisites, fit them into your calendar, manage your credits, and report your credits. If you're unfamiliar with CPE, it can be daunting.

Before we get started, let's quickly review the definition of CPE.

CPE credits

Continuing professional education (CPE) is a crucial component of lifetime learning in order to offer the public competent service. In essence, CPE consists of a variety of educational pursuits that help CPAs maintain and advance their professional credentials.

CPE criteria are established by each state's board of accountancy, therefore the number of credits needed, and the reporting intervals may vary.

Each state board can outline the specific CPE credits required to keep a CPA license current and may even include links to recognized providers. Although NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) credits are generally accepted, some states may have other specifications or constraints. State-specific information can be obtained from the Board of Accountancy in each state.

CE credits

Credits for enrolled agents are called CEs (continuing education). Every three years, these professionals must complete 72 hours of continuing education to keep their licenses. Each year, a minimum of 16 CE credits are required, with two of those credits must be in ethics.

To be eligible for credits, both the classes and the providers must have IRS approval. The provider files a report with the IRS on behalf of the enrolled agent after they complete an IRS-approved CE course.

One CPE credit equals fifty minutes of learning, and CPE is divided and calculated using a credit system.

As we all know, becoming a successful professional accountant requires a wide range of professional abilities. As a result, any of those professional abilities can be strengthened by earning a CPE credit, making it intentional for the definition of relevant continuing education to be broad.

In-person and online CPE courses

In-Person Classes

In-person CPE classes are best for subjects in which you have numerous inquiries. Additionally, it promotes networking, and some learners simply learn better in a live environment with a more organized classroom. On the other side, in-person classes frequently necessitate commuting or travel with a restriction on the locations that are available, and the ideal class may be far away. Additionally, you are reliant on the CPE provider's calendar and have no control over the dates or times.

Online

You can choose when and how long you spend in class when taking a CPE course online. All you need is an internet connection to access them from anywhere in the world at any time. Online courses allow you to study at your own speed and devote the necessary time to each topic. You can easily return to a section if there is a topic you want to go over again without bothering your classmates or the instructor. You have the option of choosing the courses that will best suit you because there are no restrictions on the particular topics you can access online. You'll also have quick access to courses taught by well-known thought leaders in the field.

Online CPE courses have the drawback of requiring greater self-discipline and determination to finish. Because there is less accountability than taking a course in person, you'll have to make it a priority to check in and complete the course so that you may pass it on time.

Live, online courses

There are also CPE courses available that are online, live, and delivered by webinar for people who don't want to travel but have trouble staying motivated for the duration of a course. To make sure you're there and paying attention, these typically call for formal engagement like surveys, polls, quizzes, and questionnaires. This type of course is compiled and organized and doesn't call for much personal arrangement.

Fees

Free courses could be appealing and the best choice for you, but they will undoubtedly have some constraints. The free online courses are typically not on topics that are in great demand and may deliver an average quality experience. However, a few firms offer their most useful content for free.

You want the ideal balance of quality and price when it comes to actually attending your annual CPE credit courses. After all, it must be beneficial for you to spend your precious time attending.

Pros and cons of paid CPE courses:

  • They are more likely to address issues that are important to you.

  • Paid webinar courses typically have higher production standards and fewer technical glitches.

  • They are frequently offered as paper-based or self-study books, which raise the price of the course.

  • They might have features like access to reference materials or discounts on relevant CPE courses you might take in the future that you don't absolutely need or want.

Each year, more CPE courses—both free and paid—hit the market. Do you wish you could find something that was the ideal combination of price and value? Is it too much to ask that the courses also be useful, effective, and instructive? Illumeo offers industry-recognized professionals presenting updated, effective, and instructional CPE courses for free or at very affordable rates.

How to Choose A CPE Provider

The degree of success or difficulty you will have in a course depends on the CPE provider. Without a reliable provider, you may battle with a variety of course requirements, from slogging through a disorganized presentation or digital textbook to finishing the course with more questions than answers. Above all, the technology needs to improve your learning process and the CPE courses.

The following five components of a course should aid in identifying a reputable supplier:

Quality Content: The course's material must unquestionably be current and pertinent in order to give you the most up-to-date information possible.

Top Instructors: The best presenter and instructor go beyond simply reading information off slides. They are engaging, knowledgeable, and well-qualified to instruct you on what you need to know. The most important element of high-quality CPE courses is the trainers, who combine practical experience with the most recent knowledge.

Cost-Effectiveness: High price doesn't always reflect high quality. There are several reasonably priced CPE courses available that will satisfy your needs.

Certification: Many companies offer courses without the possibility of obtaining national certification. The courses are not worth your time and won't fulfill your licensing criteria if they haven't been approved by a recognized national agency. Always seek out programs that have been approved by NASBA or the state's licensing authority.

Reporting: The top course providers give you a completion certificate so you can quickly report your credits to your state.

Managing your CPE credits

It's crucial to keep up with your CPE requirements because falling behind could negatively affect your ability to perform business. The best way to prevent the possibility of missing any deadlines or commitments is to develop a plan to keep track of your CPE credits. Make sure you are aware of:

  • The number of credits required

  • When you must obtain them

  • Your state's minimum number of credits required each year

  • Number of credits you've already earned

It's crucial to keep accurate records. You can make a list of the courses you are most interested in based on location, price, topic, and style as you take a look at the upcoming year. Then you may plan them out in advance. Tracking software is readily accessible to assist you in keeping track of this information if you want to go beyond a personal spreadsheet or calendar. You may easily enter your information on reporting requirements once you have completed a course and specify the number of credits you have earned. You can set up databases for numerous people and years if your organization has various CPAs.

Finding the time to complete CPE courses is one of the most difficult aspects of them. It can be a healthy practice to set out a certain amount of time each week for studying or even to take a day off once a month.

Illumeo CPA CPE courses cover a broad range of CPE topics, including taxes, personal growth, ethics, and more. This means there is something for everyone, regardless of interests or skill level. You will become more valuable as a result of these diverse subjects, all while earning the necessary CPE credits.