Accounting CPA Courses:
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Improving and expanding your knowledge and skills are crucial after you’ve obtained your CPA license. The accounting industry is evolving at a significant pace, and so are the skill sets required to succeed within it.
In order to stay on the same page with the latest rules and regulations, all CPAs need to pursue CPE. Regardless of the state board of accountancy CPAs are registered in, they must earn certain numbers of CPE credits in both technical and non-technical subjects. And when it comes to subjects related to technical fields of study, accounting CPA courses generally get the maximum priority.
But why do governing bodies and accounting firms place so much importance on accounting courses for CPAs? What are the subjects that you can master by pursuing accounting CPE? How do you get the most out of your accounting CPE courses?
If you’re looking for answers to these questions, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, not only we’ll answer them but also share some insider tips to make your accounting CPE journey a little easier.
Let’s take a quick look at the basics first!
The accounting field of study is divided into two sub-categories: governmental and non-governmental. Here’re the subjects that you can master by taking in-person or online accounting CPA courses.
· Governmental accounting courses
By taking accounting courses for CPAs in this sub-category, you’ll master the process of maintaining or preparing the financial records of a governmental contract or entity. You’ll also learn the methods and principles of governmental accounting along with the processes of analyzing, verifying, and reporting those records.
Subjects covered in relevant offline or online accounting CPE courses generally include governmental accounting and reporting (topics related to GASB standards), forensic accounting focused on a governmental contract or entity, and more.
· Non-governmental accounting courses
You’ll learn how to maintain, prepare, and report an entity’s financial records together with the process of analyzing, verifying, and reporting them. You’ll also get a clear understanding of accounting and financial reporting methods and principles.
Accounting CPA courses in this sub-category generally cover subjects such as general accounting, financial reports and statements (topics related to FASB, IFRS, and IASB), SEC practice, forensic accounting, technical computer applications and software, etc.
CPAs are already in high demand across the country, and accounting CPE courses can give you lots of opportunities to grow and expand your career. Let’s see some real-life advantages of prioritizing accounting courses for CPAs.
· You can work in any industry
While many CPAs remain in the public accounting sector, there’re plenty of other career paths and options you can choose. Remember that every company, whether a small not-for-profit or a large organization, requires accounting support. By taking the right online accounting CPA courses, you’ll get many opportunities to choose a path that’s best for you.
· The accounting industry is expanding
As a CPA, you’ve already joined a continuously growing workforce. This means with adequate knowledge and the right skills, there’re many career opportunities available for you. Whether you want to join a top position or progress up the ladder quickly, taking offline or online accounting CPA courses can be a great starting point.
· You can start your own firm
Of course, you, as a CPA, can choose from a significant number of high-paying jobs. But there’re also many CPAs that prefer to establish their own accounting firms. If you too want to take this route, prioritizing accounting CPE is even more important for you.
This is because when you run your own firm, you’ll be its face. And your business will grow around your expertise, which can only be developed by taking accounting CPE courses diligently.
· Each day will bring new things for you
Performing repetitive, uninteresting tasks is one of the major complaints in many industries. Fortunately, expert accountants never have a dull moment as they need to handle new challenges on a regular basis.
You may often have to work with teams that don’t have any significant understanding of accounting. Even the management oftentimes relies on CPAs to receive expert guidance on many different matters that impact the business. To be able to guide them in the right direction, it’s a must to have mastery in relevant subjects, which is another reason to prioritize accounting courses for CPAs.
Despite the importance of accounting CPA courses in upgrading professional expertise, for many CPAs, accounting CPE seems to be an obligation. They often consider it a backburner item without giving it much thought.
However, to make accounting CPE a true means of advancing your knowledge base and skills, you should develop a comprehensive strategy. This will help you gain the knowledge and skills required to achieve your professional goals while reducing knowledge gaps that may leave a negative effect on your practice.
Here, we’ve jotted down the key factors that together will help you develop an effective strategy for your offline or online accounting CPA courses.
· Identify your objectives
The first step to creating a comprehensive accounting CPE strategy is to define your goals and objectives. These need to be aligned with your vision. Consider taking a long-term view of what kinds of professional services you want to offer. Once these are identified, see what skills you need to acquire to offer them efficiently.
· Identify knowledge gaps
When planning for CPE, you need to think about the core competencies you already have and which skills you need to maintain them. If you’re running your own firm, be sure to consider its long-term growth.
· Create a personalized plan
Learning styles differ from one person to another, and hence, it’s important to develop a personalized CPE plan based on your personal preferences. Use taking accounting CPA courses as a growth opportunity and choose courses that’ll expedite your career progression.
· Set annual goals
Even if you need to adhere to a biennial or triennial licensing renewal cycle, it’s best to set yearly goals for your CPE. It’ll help you understand how much progress you’ve made in a given year. Another benefit of doing this is that you’ll be able to manage any shortfall in CPE credits comfortably without waiting for the eleventh hour.
In addition to these, you should thoroughly evaluate the things you’ve learned in a licensing cycle after it’s over. This will allow you to identify the subjects that you may want to cover in the next cycle. As accounting is an ever-evolving field, being flexible in terms of choosing the topics of accounting CPE courses is important.
Pursuing accounting CPE is indeed a costly affair. Often, meeting all your CPE requirements just for one renewal cycle may need you to pay thousands of dollars. Here’re some tips that can help you lower the cost of online accounting CPE courses.
· Take self-study courses
Choosing self-study accounting CPA courses is one of the most effective ideas to save money on your CPE. Reputable CPE sponsors like CPEThink.com offer great study materials through affordable self-study courses.
Of course, you won’t get the immediate assistance of a live instructor, but you may be able to reach out to the authors of the courses to clarify your queries. If you’re self-disciplined and want to pursue accounting CPE under any circumstances, simply go for self-study courses.
· Check funding opportunities available in your company
Many large organizations and accounting firms willingly pay the costs of their employees’ CPE courses. See if your company offers anything like that. If it doesn’t, you may want to talk to your manager and let them know of the value that you’ll bring to the table by taking accounting courses for CPAs.
If the management becomes convinced about the benefits, it may want to pay the cost of your accounting CPE, either partially or in full.
· Take free courses
A few leading CPE providers offer free accounting CPA courses to help prospective members assess the quality of the study materials and instructors. Some of them, including CPEThink.com, also offer CPE credits with these courses.
By taking such courses, not only you can expand your knowledge but also meet your CPE requirements to some extent. Just remember that it’s almost impossible to fulfill all your requirements using free courses. This is because there’s hardly a CPE sponsor that offer online accounting CPA courses on the latest topics for free.
· Look for subscription packages
Subscription packages let you access lots of courses offered by your chosen sponsor for a specified period of time. You only need to pay a one-time fee to access the courses. The number of credits you can earn or which courses you can access will depend on your subscription package.
For instance, if you choose one of the unlimited subscription packages, you should be able to earn a virtually unlimited number of CPE credits. It’s important to note that not all subscription packages are created equal. Some sponsors allow you to access their entire course libraries, while some may limit it to a certain number of courses. Therefore, you should thoroughly compare multiple subscription packages from multiple sponsors before making a final decision.
· Compare different sponsors
With thousands of CPE sponsors operating in the industry, the costs of accounting CPE courses vary drastically. If you choose a sponsor that offers really expensive courses, the cost of your accounting CPE may add up quickly. On the contrary, if you go with an affordable yet reputable one, you should be able to keep the costs within your budget comfortably.
The key here is to find a provider that strikes a balance between cost and quality. However, it’s always advisable to avoid sponsors that offer accounting CPA courses at unbelievably low prices. If you choose one of them, your overall cost might be lower, but you won’t be able to get any real benefit from the courses.
Going through the study materials and completing accounting courses for CPAs on time will help you learn the topics. But if you want to truly master them, you need to apply the knowledge at work.
Let’s see how you can do this.
· Apply it to your present tasks
One effective method to reinforce your knowledge gained from accounting CPE is to use the skills in your present tasks or projects. See if there’s any scope to apply the knowledge to whatever you’re doing at the moment. The more you do this, the better you’ll become at using the skills in real-life business situations.
· Spearhead new projects
You may want to take on a new project based on the skills you’ve acquired by taking accounting CPE courses. There’re two major benefits of doing this. First, you can practice the newly-learned skills, and second, you can develop leadership qualities. Moreover, your team members can gain knowledge from the new topic that you introduce to them in practical circumstances.
· Modify your current workflow
If your organization is open to change, it could be an effective idea to introduce a couple of new processes that you’ve learned from online accounting CPA courses. Also, if you find something inefficient in the present workflow, you may take the opportunity to improve it using your knowledge and skills.
You may observe that some of your skills can be immediately applied, while others may take more time to start demonstrating a noticeable impact on the workflow. Regardless of the situation, the key is to remain committed to fine-tuning the skills.
The good thing is that different accounting CPA courses are available to help you maximize your knowledge and skills. You only need to identify which of these courses will be the most advantageous to your career growth.
If you want to start taking accounting courses for CPAs immediately, you can browse our course library to choose the right ones. If you want to learn more about our accounting CPE offerings, feel free to connect with one of our customer support executives.
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