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Continuing Professional Education: How to Earn CPE Credits

September 12, 2016
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Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is required for CPAs to maintain their professional competence and provide quality accounting services. With tax laws and regulations in a constant state of flux, expanding your expertise is a must. CPE is also needed to meet your state board’s requirements for CPA license renewal, as well as for meeting certification requirements for any membership associations and other professional certifications, such as the CMA or CFP®.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we know that some CPAs are trying to find time to fulfill their remaining CPE credits for the year. You have to make time for CPE courses without compromising your billable hours, which is why we’ve done the homework for you! In today’s blog, we’ll share some helpful information on where CPAs can earn CPE credits, so you can fulfill your requirements, and maximize your professional potential without breaking a sweat!

Every State’s CPE Requirements Are Different

First, review your state board of accountancy’s specific CPA requirements for CPE. Every state’s requirements are different in terms of the providers they accept and how these hours are distributed among subjects like ethics, auditing, financial accounting, tax etc. For example, in North Carolina, all active CPAs are required to complete 40 hours of CPE by December 31 of each year. CPE must annually include two hours of ethics and conduct taken from a provider listed on the NASBA National Registry of CPE sponsors. In general, you can expect to be required to complete about 40 CPE hours each year, about 80 hours over a two-year period, or 120 hours over a three-year period, depending on the renewal term for your state.

Credits When Credits Are Due

There are thousands of CPE training programs, courses, and seminars offered all across the country, so finding something that fits your needs and goals is easy no matter where you live. If you need help finding a program or course in your area, your state CPA society is a great source of information. Below are just a few access points for earning CPE credits:

  • AICPA CPExpress: Get unlimited online access to quality CPE courses from AICPA subject matter experts on essential topics including Tax, Accounting, Assurance, Ethics, Employee Benefits Plan, Not-For-Profit, Fraud and Forensics and more.
  • ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners): The types of CPE credit accepted for ACFE courses and other CPE sources are listed below, in addition to the documentation required for acceptance of the credit.
  • CPECredit offers over 300 online interactive CPE courses and webinars. It’s their goal to offer CPAs the most cost-effective way to fulfill their mandatory educational requirements. Their new CPE Library provides CPA’s with unlimited CPE credit, instant online grading, certificates of completion, and CPE tracking.
  • Becker Professional Education offers ongoing Continuing Professional Education (CPE) on business issues relevant to today’s accounting and finance professionals.
  • PWC: PwC’s Open University provides CPE accredited, third-party content, including self-study courses in accounting, business management, and state ethics (except Virginia). These CPE-eligible live seminars are open to the public and offered in a variety of cities across the US.
  • Paychex offers online, on-site, and instructor-led seminars that give you convenient ways to fulfill your requirements without prerequisites. Just last year, delivered over 4,000 seminars and helped accounting professionals earn over 20,000 NASBA-approved CPE credits.
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