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Earning your CPA license is certainly a huge achievement. However, this also indicates two things: the beginning of your journey as a professional accountant and the beginning of the lifelong learning journey called Continuing Professional Education.
Pursuing CPA CPE throughout your entire professional journey may sound a bit tedious, but it ultimately benefits your career in a great way. Not only this helps you maintain an active license but plays a vital role in helping you improve your competence, knowledge, and skills. And these are the most important factors that help you stand out from other CPAs.
Although it sometimes becomes difficult to pursue CPE for CPA or meet AICPA CPE requirements in a timely fashion, you can do all these efficiently through proper planning. To help you out, we’ve created this page where you get all the essential pieces of information to plan your CPA CPE efficiently.
Here, we’ll discuss every important thing, from tips to selecting the best CPA CPE course and choosing the right provider of CPA CPE courses to different methods to earn CPA CPE credits, things to keep in mind when earning your CPA CPE credits, and more.
So, let’s get started!
In simple words, CPA CPE stands for lifelong learning that every CPA is required to continue throughout their professional career. As soon as you become a licensed CPA, it becomes mandatory for you to meet the CPA CPE requirements as per the guidelines of your state accountancy board.
You’re required to do this by taking CPE courses for CPA and earning CPE credits for CPA. You’ve to meet the CPE requirements for CPA within the license renewal period defined by your state board.
CPA CPE isn’t only meant for helping CPAs keep their license active, but as noted above, its another key objective is to ensure that practicing CPAs stay up-to-date with all the latest rules and regulations in the industry.
Here’re the top three real-life benefits of pursuing CPA CPE online or offline.
· Career development
CPE for CPA greatly helps you achieve all-round development. CPA CPE courses in fields like accounting, auditing, and taxation help improve your professional competence while CPA CPE ethics courses help strengthen your ethical side as an accountant.
This helps you become an asset to your present and future employers. Expertise and knowledge of the field typically help CPAs emerge as ideal candidates for management and leadership positions. It isn’t uncommon for CPAs to achieve higher levels of responsibility and authority early in their careers.
· Career security
With ever-changing rules and regulations in the accounting world, the demand for competent CPAs is always increasing. Individuals and businesses alike seek help from trusted financial advisors to manage their finances efficiently. Therefore, by pursuing CPA CPE diligently, you can ensure that your demand in the industry only goes up over time.
· More benefits and earning potential
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook of BLS, the employment growth projection for accountants and auditors is set at 6% from 2021 to 2031. One of the major factors behind this projection is the increasing demand for CPAs and the benefits the profession offers.
CPA CPE helps keep your license active and that places you in a better position to charge more than accountants who aren’t CPAs or don’t have an active license. As an active CPA, you get the opportunity to work for large organizations that are popular for offering highly attractive benefits and fatter pay packets.
AICPA members usually have more doors and opportunities opened to them than CPAs who don’t have an AICPA membership. Many large organizations prefer to hire CPAs with this membership.
Here’s an overview of the AICPA CPE requirements.
· To maintain your AICPA membership, you must earn 120 CPE credits every three years.
· You need to do this by taking CPA CPE courses that help you maintain your professional competence in your area of employment or practice.
AICPA itself offers a large collection of CPA CPE programs that you can choose from to meet your AICPA CPE requirements. However, some CPAs feel that CPA CPE courses offered by AICPA are more expensive than those available with many other sponsors.
If you too belong to this league, you can lower the cost of CPE for CPA by choosing the best CPE subscription for CPA. This will help you take a variety of courses at prices much lower than their listed ones.
When it comes to deciding on the best CPA CPE course, cost must not be the only factor that you should consider. Instead, you need to consider multiple factors together to make an informed decision.
· Quality of the course
First of all, the CPA CPE program needs to be created by experienced CPAs. These professionals usually have the ability to explain complex topics in an easily comprehensible manner. Even if you plan to attend CPA CPE conferences, their presenters should be highly experienced in the field. This is very important considering the highly expensive nature of CPA CPE conferences.
If you want to take the CPA CPE self-study route or other online CPE courses for CPA, make sure they’re authored or developed by eminent figures in the field.
· Contribution of the course to your career/career goals
The best CPA CPE program for you should be the one that comes with learning objectives aligned with your present professional role or your future career goals. Whether you take CPA CPE courses online or offline, choosing them based on your professional goals will significantly help expedite your growth.
· A balance of cost and quality
CPA CPE is by default an expensive affair, and hence, you should try to find CPA CPE courses that let you learn quality content at reasonable rates. One effective method to achieve this is to take CPA CPE online courses from reputable sponsors. This’ll help you earn your required CPA CPE hours comfortably while staying on top of the latest changes and happenings in the industry.
Perhaps you already know that when choosing a sponsor of CPA CPE courses, your decision should mainly be based on some important things. These include proper accreditations, the availability of a large course library, the presence of a team of expert authors/instructors, reasonable costs of the courses, and the ease of using the sponsor’s website.
However, there are also a couple of other factors that you should consider when trying to choose the right CPA CPE sponsor. This’ll help make pursuing CPE for CPA slightly easy.
· Top-notch customer support
Joining a sponsor with top-rated customer support is a must when you take CPA CPE courses online. The customer support team of your chosen sponsor needs to be available around the clock and you should be able to contact it through multiple communication channels.
And the team needs to be knowledgeable enough to resolve any of your course-related problems quickly. Checking out the “customer reviews” section of your sponsor is an effective method to get an idea of the quality of its customer support team.
· Money-back guarantee
No matter how strong a reputation a CPA CPE sponsor has garnered in the industry, you cannot guarantee that its CPA CPE course is going to be the best option for you. To make sure that your money will not be wasted in this kind of situation, joining a sponsor, which offers a money-back guarantee on its courses, is the best decision.
When it comes to giving refunds, policies vary from one provider to another. Some may ask you to choose another course of the same or less value, while others may give you a 100% without asking any questions. Ideally, you should try to choose a provider from the latter group.
In this section, we’ll discuss six popular methods to earn CPA CPE credits along with the pros and cons of each. However, you should consider your own situation and requirements before making a final decision.
· Self-study courses
With these self-paced programs, you get to pursue CPA CPE as per your own schedule. A large number of sponsors offer CPA CPE self-study programs on subjects related to all fields of study. These tend to be the least expensive option to pursue CPE for CPA, meaning you should be able to meet your CPA CPE requirements within a reasonable budget.
One major drawback of self-study programs is the inability to build a network and interact with other CPAs, which may open up new professional opportunities.
These are recorded or live events that you can watch to earn CPA CPE credits. Unlike self-study programs, where you need to clear a final exam to obtain CPA CPE credit, webinars need you to prove your active participation to earn CPA CPE hours. For those, who prefer to learn in a virtual classroom-like setting, attending webinars seems to be the right option.
Since live webinars aren’t self-paced, you’ve to attend them during a specified period of time. Therefore, attending them may need you to manage your schedule efficiently.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of attending CPA CPE conferences is that you can earn a large number of CPA CPE hours by attending just one event. You also get to converse with other CPAs and build your professional network.
As mentioned above, participation fees for conferences tend to be quite expensive. And if you attend in-person conferences, they become even more expensive once you add in the costs of travel and accommodation.
You can meet a certain portion of your CPA CPE requirements by authoring and publishing educational materials on accounting subjects. However, not all state boards consider this an approved method for earning CPA CPE credits. So, you must check with your state board before taking this route.
· College/university programs
Enrolling in approved college or university programs lets you study and earn CPA CPE hours simultaneously. However, there are two downsides to choosing this method. First, similar to authorship, not all state boards approve this method. State boards that approve this method usually have a limitation on the maximum number of credits that can be earned through it.
And second, attending college/university programs often doesn’t seem to be a feasible option for CPAs working full-time.
· Formal presentations
In many states, you can earn CPA CPE credit by presenting on approved accounting-related topics. However, the information has to be intended to enhance the professional competence of the attendees. Again, this method also comes with a specified limit.
We’ve already mentioned that proper planning plays an extremely crucial role in helping you have a smooth CPA CPE journey. Here’re two tips from our experts to help you achieve this.
· Staying away from procrastination
You must never procrastinate when it comes to pursuing CPE for CPA. Regardless of the method you choose to earn CPA CPE credit, you must prioritize it right from the beginning. Or else, things may get very difficult at the end of your licensing period. And if you fail to manage everything at that point in time, you may become non-compliant with your CPA CPE requirements.
· Exploring multiple resources for learning
You should continue exploring multiple resources for learning throughout your CPA CPE journey. For instance, even if you prefer to learn by watching webinars, you should take a few CPA CPE self-study courses to see the outcomes. This’ll help you avoid boredom while making the journey an exciting one for you.
For nearly two decades, we have garnered an unparalleled reputation for helping accountants pursue CPA CPE in the most efficient manner.
From a large course library, a robust team of highly experienced authors and instructors, and courses in multiple learning formats to the industry’s best 100-day, 100% money-back guarantee, and top-rated customer support, we tick all the boxes when it comes to CPE for CPA.
If you’re searching for the best place to embark on your CPA CPE journey, CPEThink.com is your one-stop solution. If you want to learn more about how we can help, contact us today.
CPA CPE Courses are what you need each year so maintain your license with your state BoA or licensing agency. We add and update our online CPE courses every week to keep them up to date with the latest changes and it shows in the quality as well as the quantity of our material.
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