Whether you’ve just started your journey as a CPA or have been in the field for some time, CPE or Continuing Professional Education requirements are something that you’d need to continue fulfilling throughout your professional career. As it’s lifelong learning, it’s best to choose the best CPE options right from the beginning.
While the exact CPE requirements may vary from one state accountancy board to another, generally, you’re required to earn 40 CPE credits each year. It may seem like lots of work, but in reality, it’s easier than you think, provided you opt for the right options.
When it comes to figuring out the best CPE, it encompasses a number of things – from best CPE courses and best CPE credits to best online CPE sponsors.
Now you might be thinking, ‘how is it possible for one person to take care of all these things?’ Don’t worry because we’ve done all the hard work for you.
In this guide, we’re going to share the most effective strategies with regard to each essential element that you can use to select the best CPE options. Once you’ve identified the right options, all you need to do is focus on your study and continue earning your CPE credits on time.
Undeniably, one of the key objectives of pursuing CPE is staying up-to-date on the latest trends, rules, and regulations of the accounting industry and gaining insights into the best practices. So, it’s needless to say you’ve to choose the CPE courses very carefully.
While choosing the topics depends on your requirements and preferences entirely, there’re some other crucial things that you must consider before joining the courses.
These tips should help you choose the best CPE courses.
As you’d spend a considerable amount of time, effort, and money each year pursuing CPE courses, they must be designed to enhance your knowledge and cover topics that you actually look forward to learning.
· An extensive course library
You don’t want to take the same CPE courses multiple times only to meet your CPE requirements. And that’s exactly where the importance of a vast library containing many different courses comes into the picture. With such a collection of courses to take your pick from, you can freely choose the ones that will not only provide you with the required knowledge but expedite your career growth as well.
Cost is one of the essential elements to consider, whether you’re searching for the best online CPE courses or offline ones. Some reputable sponsors offer free CPE courses that are extremely helpful if you’re looking to earn some credits for free. Also, taking these is a great opportunity to review the quality of a sponsor before committing to its paid courses.
However, free courses come with some limitations almost always. Typically, these don’t cover the latest or trending topics, so you won’t be able to learn the most valuable information by taking them.
On the other hand, paid courses typically cover topics relevant to your requirements. If you choose paid webinars, the production quality is generally better. Ideally, the courses you choose should maintain a balance between quality and cost.
Your experience with CPE courses greatly depends on the sponsor whom you’re taking them from. You choose the wrong provider, and you may end up experiencing lots of difficulties.
Here’re the things that you must consider to identify the best CPE sponsor.
· Proper accreditation
Lots of sponsors offer CPE courses, but they don’t have the required accreditation. If a sponsor isn’t approved by the right authority, its courses wont’ help meet your CPE requirements, and hence, all your time, effort, and money will go in vain. So, ensure that your sponsor is approved by NASBA.
CPEThink.com is registered with NASBA (NASBA QAS Self-Study sponsor id: 108299). It means all our courses fully satisfy the standards established by NASBA, and the credits you earn by taking our courses will count toward your CPE requirements. We’re also approved by the IRS (IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider number: 1SXC8).
· Many different types of CPE courses
As we’ve mentioned in the last block, a massive course catalog is one of the key characteristics of the sponsors of the best online CPE courses. And the library needs to be regularly updated so that you don’t waste time on taking simply rehashed course materials.
At CPEThink.com, we’re currently offering more than 650 CPE courses. You can earn 1 to 39 CPE credits by taking our courses.
We also offer a wide range of ethics courses (including several state-specific ones), so you can meet all your CPE requirements without having to look for another sponsor.
We ensure a continuous stream of new topics and courses so that you can always learn up-to-date information. Our course catalog provides you with everything you may ever need to meet your CPE requirements and expedite your professional growth.
· Availability of different study formats
You should look for a sponsor that offers different study formats such as self-study and live webinars. While the former helps you complete the course materials at your own pace, the latter is ideal when you want to have live instruction with Q&A. That way, you’ll be able to develop a learning plan that works for you the best.
We offer a number of study formats to suit the needs of every learner. You can choose to have course materials in text-based format if you prefer learning by reading. You can opt for our video CPE courses if you prefer hearing over reading to absorb the concepts. You can also choose our live CPE webinars, where you’ll be able to get your questions answered by expert instructors in real-time.
· Expert instructors
It’s a must to choose a CPE provider that offers course materials prepared by experienced instructors. It’ll not only help you stay up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations but ensure that you’re receiving the best instruction as well.
Our instructors come with decades of industry experience, and hence, you can rest assured that the courses you’re taking from us are simply of the best quality. Regardless of the topic you choose, you’ll have the best study materials at your fingertips.
· Reasonable pricing
The cost of the CPE courses is another major deciding factor when it comes to choosing the best online CPE sponsor. Perhaps you already know that CPE courses aren’t cheap, and the cost of earning all your credits required for a renewal cycle can easily go up to thousands of dollars. Therefore, look for a sponsor that offers bundled deals or subscription packages, which significantly lowers the cost of individual courses.
At CPEThink.com, we offer both subscription packages and bundled CPE courses. With our unlimited subscription packages, you’ll be able to access our entire course library, including all self-study ethics courses and all free webinars, for either one year ($199.95) or two years ($299.95), depending on your plan and earn unlimited credits. We also have several other subscription packages with a varying number of maximum credits that are ideal when you’re only looking to earn some credits to meet your requirements. Additionally, we offer different types of gift cards with different values that you can use for a wide range of purposes.
· Refund policy
It’s always wise to choose a sponsor that offers a decent money-back policy. There can be lots of reasons for which you may want to change your CPE sponsor. A refund policy in place helps to ensure that you’ll get your money back if any such thing happens.
We offer the industry’s best 100-day 100% money-back guarantee, so you can rest assured of getting a full refund in the most hassle-free manner.
· Top-notch customer support
Some CPE sponsors have developed a poor reputation of failing to help students when they face issues, whether with the course materials or any other aspects of the platform. It’s important to ensure that your chosen sponsor offers multiple convenient ways to reach out to the customer support team whenever required.
We offer unmatched customer support available round the clock. Regardless of the issues you’re experiencing with our platform or course materials, we’re ready to help you out. You can seek help from our customer support team anytime using email, phone, or the live chat feature available on our website.
COVID-19 has significantly reshaped the entire education landscape, and CPE for CPAs is no different. Most of the in-person events have been changed to various online alternatives.
Even during the pandemic, you cannot overlook the importance of pursuing CPE. You’ve to stay up-to-date and cater to your clients’ needs pertaining to changing procedures and government programs related to COVID-19.
These days, the only option available to you to earn CPE credits is opting for online CPE courses. But the question is among various options, which one should you choose?
Here, we’ve reviewed the best CPE options available now.
· Self-study courses
Self-study CPE courses have always been a preferred option for busy CPAs, and these days, they’ve emerged as one of the best online CPE methods. With these courses, you’re responsible for completing the course materials on time without the availability of a live instructor.
All states accept these courses provided the program sponsor is properly accredited and issues a completion certificate after successful completion of each course. You’ve to take and pass the final exam at the end of each course to earn credits.
Note that some states may have limitations on the maximum number of credits that you can earn by taking self-study courses. Therefore, you must check the exact CPE requirements of your state board before joining these courses.
· Live webinars
Lots of CPE sponsors offer live webinars throughout the year that cover important and trending topics. Attending these would be your best option if you prefer to learn in a classroom setting and want to have your questions answered by an expert instructor in real-time.
While there’s no final exam at the end of webinars, you must actively participate in them to earn credits. Active participation means being present for at least 50 minutes in a 60-minute webinar, answering a certain number of questions, etc.
While there’re tons of free webinars available that can help you earn free credits, it’s advisable to attend the ones offered by reputable sponsors. A webinar with several technical glitches may hinder your learning, and worst, you may end up without earning any credits.
Online conferences and seminars are another effective way to earn CPE credits. One key benefit of this method is that you can earn most of your required credits by attending just one event. You’ll also get the opportunity of networking with other professionals from the accounting industry.
Note that conferences and seminars usually happen to be the most expensive method for earning credits. So, if you’re an individual paying the entire cost of CPE out of pocket, it may not be a feasible option for you.
· Lecturing or presenting
If you wish to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert in the industry, this may be a useful option for you. In this method, you develop and deliver self-study courses, educational presentations, etc, and earn credits. However, this method appears with some limitations, and those differ from one state accountancy board to another.
We understand that earning 40 CPE credits each year can be a difficult task for busy CPAs. However, if you plan properly, you can surely build competence in a complementary area that may improve your marketability significantly.
To start with, take a competency assessment to identify the capabilities in other functions that are being cultivated by people in your industry. You can also follow interviews of industry leaders to recognize the skill sets that are going to play crucial roles in the upcoming future.
Once you’ve identified the areas that you want to learn or improve, search our collection of courses to choose relevant courses. If you choose courses that will be in addition to the ones, which you’ve planned to take to meet your CPE requirements, opting for an unlimited subscription package would be a wise decision.
Now that you’ve gained a clear understanding of the essential elements of the best CPE, it’s time to embark on your journey. Just be sure to maintain proper documentation of your CPE such as completion certifications and evidence of participation for measuring and accurate reporting of your credits.