California Ethics CPE For CPAs
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California, being one of the highest-paying states for accountants in the country, inspires a lot of accounting enthusiasts to become a CPA. While you’ll certainly be able to enjoy a fulfilling and lucrative career as a California CPA, the requirements to become one are slightly more complicated than in many other states, especially in terms of California CPA ethics.
There’re multiple timelines when you need to meet the requirements pertaining to ethics for California CPAs. And that’s why you must pay attention to fulfill all those requirements to enjoy a smooth career – right from obtaining your license to working as a CPA.
If you’re thinking that it’s going to be more difficult to become and work as a California CPA than you thought, trust us when we say it won’t be much difficult too.
The eligibility for taking the CPA exam in California includes completing 150 semester units in approved course subjects.
These include the following:
· 24 Semester units in accounting subjects
· 24 Semester units in business-related subjects
· 20 Semester units in accounting study
· 10 Semester units in ethics study
Note that you must complete a minimum of 4 quarter or 3 semester units among the 10-unit requirement in accountants’ professional responsibilities or accounting ethics. To fulfill the requirement, you can take a maximum of 11 quarter or 7 semester units in other subject areas.
Some of these include:
· Professional responsibilities
· Corporate governance
· Business law
· Business leadership
To learn more about the particular courses accepted by the California Board of Accountancy, you can see its Uniform CPA Examination Handbook.
Receiving your CPA license in California announces the beginning of continuing professional education or CPE that you must pursue throughout your professional career. In California, you’re required to earn 80 CPE credits in every 2-year licensing period with a minimum of 20 credits each year.You can earn all these CPE hours for CA by taking self-study courses.
In terms of meeting California CPE ethics requirements, there’re two timelines that you must comply with.
· Among 80 CPE credits, 4 credits have to be in California CPA ethics courses. The duration of one course must be a minimum 1 hour.
· You’ll have to earn 2 CPE credits in a regulatory ethics course every 6-year period. These credits can be counted toward meeting your 80-credit California Ethics exam CPA requirement for that particular licensing period.
You can take either in-person or online California CPA ethics courses to fulfill these requirements. However, if you take self-study courses, there’re differences between the passing grades of general California CPE ethics courses and courses on regulatory ethics for California CPAs.
For general ethics, you must clear the final exam with a minimum passing score of 70%, whereas for regulatory ethics, you’re required to earn a minimum score of 90%.
Whether you prefer to take in-person or online California CPA ethics courses, you’ll learn the following:
· The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
· Applications of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct in real-life scenarios
You’ll learn the following by taking a regulatory ethics course:
· Rules and regulations of the California Board of Accountancy
· California Accountancy Act
No matter if you take offline or online California CPA ethics courses to fulfill general CPA ethics requirements for California, you’ll learn the key ethical principles mentioned in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct that governs the responsibilities of accountants.
Here’re the snapshots of the principles.
Accountants must make all decisions following the principle of integrity. If a guideline or rule is non-existent in a particular situation, they must employ their best judgment to follow integrity in a manner that complies with the standard codes.
· The public interest
CPAs must honor the public trust and protect the public interest at all times to adhere to the AICPA’s ethical guidelines. They should prioritize the overall well-being of the public while maintaining the standards of the accounting profession.
· Objectivity and independence
Accountants shouldn’t allow any biased opinion to affect their decisions when offering professional services. They also need to avoid conflicts of interest which may affect their objectivity. Being independent means not allowing any personal relationship to influence their professionalism.
· Due care
Ethical accountants should always strive to improve themselves and the standards of the profession by offering quality services that fulfill their clients’ needs. It’s also vital for them to continue improving their skills and knowledge by pursuing continuing education, which will equip them to deliver their best performance always.
CPAs should develop a collaborative environment with their colleagues and value confidentiality agreements to maintain the best interest of the profession.
· Scope and nature of services
CPAs should understand when to avoid offering their services to a particular organization or client if the second party doesn’t exhibit ethical behavior. They should only work with organizations that have internal regulations and quality controls and refrain from offering services that may trigger conflicts of interest.
If you do a quick Google search by using a keyphrase like “California CPE ethics courses,” you’ll get results including two learning formats: online California CPA ethics programs and in-person programs.
Here’re brief overviews of these formats to help make up your mind.
· Online programs
Online programs on ethics for California CPAs are typically available in the forms of self-study courses, webinars, and seminars/conferences. Regardless of the mode you choose, you’ll get to enjoy the utmost flexibility as you won’t have to travel to and from a venue to earn the credits.
Moreover, self-study California CPA ethics courses tend to be the least expensive among these options. As ethics courses are more expensive than many other CPE courses, you can save a significant amount of money by taking the self-study route.
· In-person programs
One major advantage of attending in-person programs is that they facilitate face-to-face interaction with both the instructor and fellow attendees. However, traveling to and from another place to attend the program at a pre-scheduled time may not be a feasible option for many CPAs, especially those who’re working full-time.
While choosing between self-study California CPE ethics courses and webinars ultimately comes down to your personal preference, they’ve got some differences you should consider.
Let’s take a look.
· Self-study courses
With self-study courses, you can personalize the study schedule and complete the study materials at your own pace. For instance, you can take as much time as you need to master complex topics while spending less time on less complicated topics. Also, from a cost perspective, self-study courses usually tend to be cheaper than webinars.
Getting instant access to the study materials is another key benefit of taking self-study California CPA ethics courses. All you need to do is to enroll with the CPE sponsor and purchase the course to gain access to downloadable study materials. Once you clear the final exam with the required passing score, your CPE certificate will reach your inbox within minutes.
If you prefer to learn in a virtual classroom setting and have got the flexibility to attend the program at a pre-scheduled time, webinars should be your best option. One of the biggest advantages of attending webinars is that you can earn all 4 credits (for general California CPE ethics) or 2 credits (for regulatory California CPA ethics) just by attending one event.
You may have to block an entire day, but you won’t need to think about completing the study materials and earning the credits within a certain timeframe. Also, there won’t be any final exam that you must pass to earn the credits. You only need to be present throughout the session and prove active participation to earn them.
As you can see above, earning California CPE ethics credits is an integral part of being able to work as an active CPA in the state. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right provider for the courses so that you can get the most of your time, effort, and money.
Here’re the factors you should consider when searching for a sponsor.
Perhaps the best way to check a sponsor’s credibility is to see its customer reviews section. Sponsors that actually excel in their offerings tend to get highly positive remarks from their past customers. You can also search third-party review websites to learn more about the reputation of your shortlisted sponsors.
· Availability of other CPE courses
A very few busy accountants will want to join another CPE provider to meet other California CPE requirements. Joining a new provider not only means completing the enrollment process and ordering the courses, but it also involves screening it right from the beginning.
Therefore, it’s strongly suggested to join a sponsor that offers a solid course catalog on many different CPE topics alongside California CPA ethics courses. Managing all your credits required to fulfill your California CPE requirements will also become easier when you earn them from a single provider.
· Availability of multiple course formats
You may be able to internalize the concepts of a particular topic by going through text-based study materials, whereas for a complex topic, you may need the assistance of a live instructor. This is the reason you should join a provider that offers courses in multiple formats.
For example, at CPEthink.com, we offer courses in text-based formats, downloadable PDF versions, and webinars. So, you’ll always have the flexibility to choose the right format that works best for you.
Cost is another major factor that you need to consider when finalizing a sponsor for California CPE ethics courses. The costs of these courses vary significantly depending on the provider and the way you get access to them. If you choose an expensive CPE sponsor, the cost will likely be substantially higher than that of the ethics courses offered by providers that offer a balance of quality and cost-effectiveness.
It’s also important to choose a sponsor that offers CPE subscription packages that include access to California CPA ethics courses. It’ll help you lower the cost of the courses significantly than their individual prices.
For instance, the costs of our courses on ethics for California CPAs range from $19.95 to $39.95. However, if you buy one of our subscription packages, you’ll get access to all our self-study ethics courses, including California CPE ethics, along with other CPE courses.
If you purchase our 2-year unlimited subscription package, which costs $299.95, you’ll be able to take all the courses required to fulfill your California CPE requirements for an entire licensing period.
· Availability of money-back guarantee
It’s always advisable to choose a sponsor that offers a good money-back guarantee so that you can get a refund if there’s something you don’t like about the offerings. We offer the industry’s best 100-day, 100% money-back guarantee to help you rest assured of this aspect.
Earning California CPA ethics credits is much more than just achieving the goal of keeping your license active. These credits not only help you stay up-to-date with the latest rules, regulations, and best practices in ethical accounting but also aids in advancing your career.
One more important thing that you should keep in mind is that while you’re required to earn only 4 California CPE ethics credits biennially, you should try to get them well in advance. If you leave them for the eleventh hour while prioritizing other subject areas, it may generate unnecessary stress when the deadline approaches.
Let’s take a quick look at the significance of taking California CPA ethics courses.
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