Are you a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)? Then, you need to earn CPE (Continuing Professional Education) credits to stay updated with the latest updates in the industry. Every CPA needs to know how to earn and manage CPE credits. It is a crucial skill that you need to have. You must determine which courses to take up, include them in your routine, remain updated, and report them. To help you make sense of everything, we have prepared the ultimate post just for you.
CPE credits are necessary for renewing your CPA license. Each state has its own CPE standards which need to be met. This is why the reporting periods and required credits differ from state to state. Your respective state board should provide you the details you need about the type of CPE credits you require to maintain your license. Moreover, the CPE credits have to be linked to an approved provider to be accepted.
Generally, ASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) credits will be accepted. However, you must note that their acceptance might have some restrictions as some states have additional limitations or requirements that you need to be aware of. Make sure to reach out to the board of accountancy of your state for state-centric information.
CE (Continuing Education) credits are credits that enrolled agents such as accountants need. It is crucial to earn around 72 hours of CE credits within a period of three years to maintain their license. A minimum of 16 CE credits have to be earned each year. Two of the credits must be obtained from ethics courses. Furthermore, the providers and the classes have to be approved in order for you to claim the credits. The IRS is responsible for approval of courses. When you complete an IRS-approved CE course, your provider would report the competition to the IRS on your behalf.
CPE Classes: In-Person and Online
In-Person CPE Classes
Topics that you require additional help with should be learned through in-person CPE courses. A great thing about in-person CPE courses is that they provide a platform for you to network. Besides, some people prefer taking in-person classes as they provide structure. However, in-person courses require you to travel or commute to only those locations that offer the courses. This means that your desired class might be far away. In addition to this, you would be dependent on the course provider and would have no flexibility.
There are also online CPE courses which provide greater control over when you attend classes and how long you want to study. The best thing about online courses is that you can access them anytime you want and from wherever you want.
There are no restrictions that you need to worry about as long as you have an internet connection. Besides, online courses also allow you to progress at a pace that you find appropriate. You get to spend as much time as you want on a given topic. You can even revisit concepts that you think you need to go back to without having to worry about causing any inconvenience.
With online classes, you do not have any limit on the topics you want to access. Thus, you get to take the courses that you find interesting. You can easily access industry-recognized classes from some of the best teachers.
However, online CPE courses are not for everyone as they require self-discipline and self-motivation to complete. As there is less accountability, you will need to make it a priority to complete your courses on time. Otherwise, you might be unable to finish the required courses.
Live, Online Courses
For a balance between online courses and in-person courses, you will need to opt for live, online courses. These courses ensure that you remain focused on completing them on time. They require formal interaction such as quizzes, polls, surveys, and questionnaires to make sure that you are listening and are present. The course tends to be structured.
Although you might be tempted to take up free courses, it is important that you understand that they have some limitations. The fact is that there are only a few organizations that actually offer valuable information free of charge. This is why you cannot expect to find many free courses that are of high quality. As for paid CPE courses, here is what you can expect.
- Cover relevant topics.
- The quality of paid courses is much better and there are likely to be fewer technological issues.
- Presented as self-study books or paper-based which drive up the cost.
- Include features which you might not require.
Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality CPE courses that do not cost a lot of money. Every year, new courses are introduced which means that you have nothing to worry about if you prefer studying online. There are even innovative companies such as Canopy that provide efficient, educational CPE courses by industry experts at reasonable prices.
How to Select A CPE Provider?
Since the CPE provider you choose has a direct impact on your future success, it is important that you choose the right provider. You would struggle without the right provider. By focusing on the following, you can find the right provider.
- Content Quality: The first thing that you need to focus on is content quality. It is crucial that you choose a course provider that offers the most relevant and recent content.
- Top Instructors: The instructors of the course play a huge role on its quality. This is why you need to make sure that you choose a course that is taught by the best instructors. It would ensure that the course is engaging and blends with real-world experience.
- Certification: Not every provider provides courses that end up with a national certification. To gain a CPE credit for each hour spent on the course, you need to ensure that it is approved by a reputable body. Otherwise, it would not be worth your time.