Your Ultimate Guide to AICPA CPE

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Take Your Professional Competence to the Next Level with AICPA CPE

What is AICPA? If you’re a CPA, you already know that AICPA is the largest professional accounting organization in the world. You may also know that today, AICPA & CIMA together serve 689,000 members, engaged professionals, and students from across the globe. You might be wondering, "How do I become an AICPA member?" or "Is AICPA membership required for CPA?" Well, you're about to find out.

As a regular AICPA member, you get to enjoy some unique benefits that can help you become truly successful in your field. However, the catch is that to maintain your regular AICPA membership, you must pursue AICPA CPE.


AICPA CPE requirements are quite similar to those of many states but if you fail to comply with them, you may not be able to maintain your membership. Losing this membership may cause some irreversible damage to your professional career.

Therefore, if you’re a regular member of the AICPA, you must give your best shot to meet all your AICPA CPE requirements on time by taking AICPA CPE courses regularly.

If you want to have all the crucial information related to AICPA CPE at your fingertips just by reading one page, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll discuss things that’ll matter to you the most, from AICPA CPE requirements and AICPA CPE on-demand courses to AICPA CPE fields of study and more.

Let’s start with the basics.



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Why Should You Pursue AICPA CPE?

As mentioned above, pursuing AICPA CPE is a must as long as you want to maintain your regular membership. But, while fulfilling your AICPA CPE requirements, you get to enjoy some great benefits. Let’s take a look.

  • You get access to a plethora of professional resources

Depending on the type of your AICPA membership, you can access different types of professional resources when meeting your AICPA CPE requirements. For instance, if you have individual membership, you can choose from a large number of AICPA CPE courses to expand your knowledge and skills.

You may also get access to MyCPE Manager, which is the official AICPA CPE tracker. This will help you monitor and manage all your CPE credits efficiently.

You may also choose to have AICPA CPEA membership if you run an accounting firm. The CPEA is the national A&A resource center of the AICPA and the membership gives you access to a top-notch team of A&A experts.

  • You get superb networking opportunities

Whether you take AICPA CPE on-demand courses or attend AICPA CPE webinars, you’ll be able to network with many other accounting professionals who can help expedite your professional growth. You may also be able to participate in special networking events that help you learn about hot trends in business and technology.

  • You can use different options to meet your CPE requirements

When pursuing AICPA CPE, you can utilize different options to fulfill your requirements. Besides individual AICPA CPE courses, you can buy AICPA CPE Direct. This is a quarterly subscription of AICPA self-study CPE courses and comes with a varying range of content including practice tools, checklists, and Journal of Accountancy articles.

It’s important to note that if you choose to meet your AICPA CPE requirements by taking self-study courses, you’ve to clear the final exams included with them. You’ll receive your AICPA CPE certificates of completion and AICPA CPE credits only after clearing the exams successfully.

  • You get professional guidance and support

In this ever-changing field of accounting, it’s really time-consuming to keep abreast of the latest news and trends, no matter if you take AICPA CPE self-study programs or attend AICPA CPE webinars. Fortunately, AICPA has a dedicated team that’s ready to provide the members with quick guidance and support. For example, CPEA AICPA members get assistance from a team of experts in a clear and straight-forward manner.

What Is Your AICPA CPE Requirement?

Here’re the things you need to keep in mind when you start meeting your AICPA CPE requirements.

  • As a regular AICPA member, you’re required to obtain at least 120 CPE credits every three-year reporting period.
  • Your reporting period starts on 1st January of the next new calendar year after you join the AICPA.
  • If you cannot fulfill your AICPA CPE requirements within your reporting period, you’ll get a grace period of two months starting immediately after your reporting period. Note that you may not be able to use the credits, which you obtain to overcome the deficiency in the last reporting period, to meet your requirements in the current reporting period.
  • The AICPA doesn’t specify any particular subject areas but the AICPA CPE courses must be formal ones and help improve your professional competence.

AICPA CPE Requirements: Documentation

You’re solely responsible for maintaining all the relevant records of your AICPA CPE on-demand courses, webinars, conferences, seminars, etc. Be sure to maintain these records:

  • The sponsor’s name
  • The content’s title and description
  • The program’s duration
  • The total number of credits earned
  • Location

Choosing the Right AICPA CPE Courses

Since you don’t essentially need to prioritize any specific subject areas when pursuing AICPA CPE, you’re free to choose from NASBA’s fields of study that qualify for CPE. There are total 20 fields of study that are divided into two subgroups: technical and non-technical.

Here’re brief overviews of both these subgroups.

Technical Fields of Study

Technical fields of study covers subject areas that are directly associated with the field of business of a CPA and the accounting profession. You can choose from these subject areas:

  • Accounting (governmental)
  • Accounting (non-governmental)
  • Auditing (governmental)
  • Auditing (non-governmental)
  • Finance
  • Economics
  • Business Law
  • Taxes
  • Statistics
  • Regulatory Ethics
  • Management Services
  • Information Technology
  • Specialized Knowledge

Non-Technical Fields of Study

These fields of study aren’t directly related to the field of business of a CPA but they help improve your competence in technical fields of study. Non-technical subject areas include:

  • Communications and Marketing
  • Behavioral Ethics
  • Computer Software & Applications
  • Business Management & Organization
  • Personnel/Human Resources
  • Personal Development
  • Production

When fulfilling your AICPA CPE requirement, you should choose fields of study that are aligned with the CPE requirements of your own state or jurisdiction. This will help you meet both AICPA CPE requirements and the requirements of your state efficiently.

AICPA CPE On-Demand Programs, Webcasts, Conferences, and Others: Refund Policies

If you choose to pursue AICPA CPE by purchasing items from the AICPA itself, here’re the refund policies you need to keep in mind.

  • Individual, online courses

For online AICPA CPE courses, you may get refunds within 30 days of purchasing them. However, if you’ve received a certificate of completion for any of your courses, you cannot claim a refund for that.

  • CPE subscriptions

If you buy online CPE subscription packages, you won’t be able to claim any refund for them. These products include Annual Webcast Pass and CPExpress.

  • Non-CPE subscriptions

You may get a full refund for your non-CPE subscription packages like newsletters and magazines within 30 days of purchasing them. If you buy the products from the Online Professional Library, you may get 100% refunds within 10 days of making the purchase.

  • eBooks

To get a full refund for an eBook, you must raise the request within 14 days of purchasing it.

  • Print products

If you buy print products to pursue AICPA CPE, you may get refunds for them by returning them to the AICPA within a 30-day period starting from the shipping date. Note that the products have to be in saleable condition and the shipping fees will be deducted from your refund amount. If you make a bulk purchase of 10 products or more, you won’t be able to claim any refund.

  • Webcasts

For AICPA CPE webinars, you can get refunds by cancelling your participation up to a day before them. A 50% administrative fee will be deducted from your refund amount. You won’t get any refund if you raise your cancellation request during or after the webinars.

  • Online conferences

If you wish to attend online conferences to meet your AICPA CPE requirement, there are a couple of things you must remember pertaining to their cancellation. If the AICPA receives your cancellation request up to and including 15 days before the beginning of a conference, you may get a refund. If it receives your request up to and including seven days before the beginning of the event, you may receive a 100% credit. If you send your cancellation request on the day before the beginning of the conference, you’ll get a 60% credit. You won’t get any refunds or credits if you send your request during the conference.

  • On-site conferences

Similar to online AICPA CPE conferences, on-site ones also come with several conditions when it comes to cancelling them and receiving refunds or credits. If the AICPA receives your written cancellation request up to and including 45 days before the beginning of the conference, you may get a refund. If your request reaches the AICPA up to and including three weeks before the conference’s beginning, you’ll receive a credit worth 50% of your registration fee. If the AICPA receives your request less than three weeks before the event’s beginning, you won’t receive any refunds or credits.

  • PDF or downloadable products

You won’t get any refunds for these products.

Pursuing AICPA CPE: Vital Things to Remember

When you wish to pursue AICPA CPE from the organization itself, there are a couple of important things to consider before you take the final call. Here, we’ve jotted down the key considerations.

  • Relatively expensive programs

The majority of AICPA members can join its “Staff” tier because the “Partner” tier is reserved for senior members. The “Staff” tier has four types of memberships. And each of these memberships has specific annual dues. Here’re brief details of the memberships along with their annual dues (for the period of August 1, 2023 to July 31, 2024):

  • Core tier ($340)
  • Essential tier ($549)
  • Lead tier ($649)
  • Select tier ($749)

As a member of the “Core” tier, you can obtain a maximum of 30 CPE credits for free. All other tiers let you obtain virtually an unlimited number of credits.

If you join the “Partner” tier of the AICPA, you can choose from three different types of memberships. These include:

  • Core tier ($555)
  • Specialist tier ($849)
  • Advance tier ($999)

All these tiers let you earn unlimited CPE credits.

However, it’s important to note that the AICPA CPE courses offered by the organization itself are quite costly. Additionally, you may not be able to find state-specific courses in its course library. This means you’ll have to join another CPE sponsor to meet your own state’s CPE requirements.

This is one of the key reasons many CPAs prefer to pursue AICPA CPE by taking courses from other well-reviewed sponsors. If you don’t have a large budget or your employer doesn’t pay for your AICPA CPE on-demand programs, AICPA CPE webinars, or conferences, your cost will go up quickly.

  • The hassle of joining multiple sponsors

It’s always strongly advisable to take all your CPE courses from one reputable sponsor that maintains a balance between cost and quality. Joining multiple sponsors not only will increase your overall CPE cost but will cause you to face unnecessary stress as well.

On the other hand, when you join one leading sponsor that offers a wide range of quality courses that will help you fulfill both your AICPA CPE requirement and the CPE requirements of your state, you’ll be able to focus more on your study and get the most out of your investment.

Meeting Your AICPA CPE Requirement with CPEThink.com

At CPEThink.com, we’re driven by our commitment to helping CPAs pursue AICPA CPE in the most efficient yet an affordable manner. We have a large number of high-quality courses that you can take to fulfill your AICPA CPE requirement and enhance your knowledge and skills simultaneously. All our courses come with a 100-day, 100% money-back policy, meaning you can join us with complete peace of mind.

If you want to obtain more information about how our team of experts can help you meet your AICPA CPE requirements, reach us today!



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