Essential Things You Need To Know About CPA CPE Credits

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A Comprehensive Guide to CPA CPE Credits

We’re confident that as soon as you came across the term “CPE,” you’ve certainly heard of “CPA CPE credits.” However, the thing is that several aspects are inherently related to CPE credits for CPAs.

These aspects often make CPAs confused about how to get the most out of their CPE. And since CPE is a time-consuming, difficult, and expensive affair, you should develop a clear idea of all the vital things related to CPE credit for CPAs to continue your lifelong learning journey in a hassle-free manner.

As one of the leading sponsors of CPE courses that are created to help CPAs earn CPA CPE credits in the most efficient manner, we frequently receive queries related to CPE credits and CPAs.

To answer all those queries on a single page, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to CPE credits for CPAs. This guide will act as the ultimate piece of information on CPA CPE credits throughout your professional career.



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Comprehending CPA CPE Credits

To understand CPE credits for CPAs, first, we need to comprehend CPE. Basically, CPE or Continuing Professional Education refers to the lifelong learning journey that helps CPAs maintain their expertise and competency in the field and keep their license active.

There are several methods that you can choose to pursue CPE. However, regardless of the delivery method you choose, every eligible program comes with a certain number of credits. These are called CPA CPE credits.

Quick Facts on CPE Credits for CPA

Now that you have a clear idea of CPE credits for CPAs, it’s time to see some quick facts related to them.

·        Since the CPA license is granted on a state level, each state board of accountancy has the authority to set its own CPE requirements. In general, however, CPAs are required to obtain 120 CPE credits for CPAs each three-year period.

·        Your licensing period may vary depending on your state accountancy board. It can be anything between annual, biennial, or triennial.

·        If you hold a membership of the AICPA, then it becomes mandatory for you to earn 120 CPE credits for CPAs triennially.

·        For approved CPE programs that are offered on an hourly basis, a 50-minute session is equivalent to one CPE credit for CPAs.

·        To ensure that your CPA CPE credits will be recognized by your state accountancy board, it’s always best to take the programs from a NASBA-approved CPE sponsor. To see whether or not your shortlisted provider has got approval from NASBA, you can check the NASBA Registry.

·        Some CPE providers may choose not to be listed on the NASBA Registry. In that case, you should check their websites to see if they have the NASBA logo on them.

·        If you find it difficult to understand if the CPE credits for CPAs associated with a particular course will be accepted as part of your CPE, you must contact your state accountancy board.

Choosing Between Free and Paid Methods to Earn CPE Credit for CPA

There are two types of programs to earn CPA CPE credits: paid and free. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a close look at them.

·        Paid programs

One of the primary advantages of paid CPE programs is that if you have the budget, you can take any of them to earn CPE credits. Be it an expensive conference, a moderately-priced webinar, or a low-cost self-study course, you can choose anything as per your budget and preferences.

On the downside, earning all your required CPE credits through paid programs means incurring a significant cost on CPE. And you must do it on a yearly basis throughout your professional career. So, if you consider the bigger picture, you’ll end up paying a huge amount on pursuing CPE.

·        Free programs

Some free CPE programs such as the free CPE courses from CPEThink.com let you earn free CPE credits for CPAs. And undeniably, free CPA CPE credits help you lower the cost of CPE to a good extent.

Moreover, you can test the quality of the programs of your shortlisted providers by taking free programs. This greatly helps to determine whether or not you should go with your chosen ones.

When it comes to free CPE credits, CPAs typically face a major problem. This particularly applies to those who need to complete state-specific ethics courses to fulfill their CPE requirements.

It’s almost impossible to earn CPE credits for CPA free in state-specific ethics. Therefore, you must not assume that you’ll be able to earn all your required CPE credits through free programs if you’re registered in one of the states that have this specific requirement.

Another downside of taking free programs to earn free CPE credits for CPAs is that you may not be able to learn the latest or trending topics by taking them.

CPE Credits and CPA: Popular Methods to Choose From

So, if you were thinking something like, how many CPE credits do I need for keeping CPA license active or how many CPE credits for maintaining CPA designation, the answer is 40 CPA CPE credits each year.

In this block, we’ll discuss how to get CPE credits for keeping CPA license active. Here, we’ve created a list of the most popular methods to earn CPE credits for CPAs.

·        Self-study courses

As the name implies, self-study courses are designed to let the learners complete the course materials without the presence of a live instructor. Once you complete the course materials at your own pace, you need to clear the final exam successfully to receive your CPE credit for CPA.

Self-study programs are generally the least expensive method to earn CPE credits for CPAs. However, you should keep in mind that while these programs provide you with flexibility in terms of the completion of the course materials, you must complete them within one year of making the purchase.

If you cannot earn your CPA CPE credits online within a year, you’ll have to re-purchase a self-study course.

·        Webinars

Also known as webcasts, these are online programs where you get to complete the course materials in a classroom-like setting. You need to get yourself registered for the webinar you want to attend and participate in it at the scheduled time and date.

One key advantage of attending webinars is that you don’t need to clear an exam to earn CPA CPE credits. All you need to do is to prove your active participation to earn your credits.

When it comes to using webinars to earn CPE credits, CPAs must be present for at least 50 minutes in a one-hour session and answer a certain number of polling questions to prove active participation.

Before we delve deeper into other methods to pursue CPE, it’s important to mention that you can find both self-study programs and webinars that’ll let you earn free CPE credits for CPAs.

However, there’s a key difference between these methods in the context of earning free CPA CPE credits. If you choose self-study programs, guidelines to earn CPA CPE credits remain the same for both paid and free programs.

But if you want to earn the CPE credits required for maintaining CPA designation through webinars, you should remember two vital things. First, free webinars are generally organized during business hours.

And second, free webinars from a new sponsor may have technological issues. Remember that if you cannot prove your active participation in the webinar, you won’t receive any CPE credit for CPA.

·        In-person programs

In-person CPE programs are quite popular among CPAs who want to master the topics in a real classroom setting. You can interact with the instructor face-to-face and have your queries answered immediately.

However, if you need to travel to and from another location to attend an in-person program, you should consider two factors. First, you should calculate the cost of traveling to and from the location. And second, you need to take the time to travel into consideration as well.

Finally, in most instances, the costs of attending in-person programs are typically more than those of self-study courses.

·        Conferences

One of the major reasons some CPAs choose conferences is that they can earn a significant number of CPE credits for CPAs just by attending one event. In fact, by choosing the right conference, you can sometimes meet more than half of your annual CPA CPE credit requirements.

On the downside, conferences and seminars sit on the most expensive side of methods to pursue CPE. For instance, you can earn AICPA CPE credits by attending its conferences but it may need you to pay more than a thousand dollars for attending just one event.

So, if you don’t have enough budget or your organization doesn’t bear the cost of your CPE, you should think twice before choosing this method.

·        College courses

If you have the time, enrolling yourself in an accredited university or college is a cost-effective method to earn CPA CPE credits. In this case, one college credit in a semester system is equivalent to fifteen CPE credits for CPAs and one college credit in a quarter system is equivalent to ten credits.

·        Article publishing

You can earn some free CPA CPE credits by getting your articles on relevant topics published. However, if you choose this method, make sure that the topics of your articles are actually for others in your field.

If you choose the above methods to earn CPE credits for CPA, it’s extremely important to thoroughly review the CPA credit requirements for CPA of your state accountancy board. This is because many state boards have limitations to the maximum number of CPA CPE credits that can be earned using these methods.

Submission of CPE Credits for CPAs

Whether you earn online CPE credits for CPA or use offline delivery methods to earn your CPE credits for CPA, you’re responsible for reporting them properly to your state accountancy board.

Before discussing how to submit CPE credits for CPAs, it’s important to understand the things that you must note down when earning your CPA CPE credits.

As a general rule, you must keep a record of the following details related to each CPE program.

·        The name of the CPE program

·        The name of the sponsor of the program

·        The duration of the program

·        The program delivery method

·        The number of CPE credits for CPAs earned from the program

Whether you maintain a physical file or an Excel file, be sure to track these details at a minimum. This is because, without all of them, it’ll be extremely difficult to get a clear picture of how many CPA CPE credits you’ve already earned and how many are still left.

And if you don’t have these pieces of information at your fingertips, it may become very difficult to meet your CPE requirements on time.

As mentioned above, CPE reporting may vary between one and three years depending on your state accountancy board. Usually, you’ll need to submit all your documents related to your CPE to the state board along with the license renewal fee.

However, you should always contact your state board to learn about its exact process of how to submit CPE credits for CPAs.

Choosing the Right Sponsor to Earn Free CPE Credits for CPA

We’ve already discussed the pros and cons of taking free programs to earn free CPA CPE credits. If you want to take this route, check the following factors before making a final decision.

·        Proper accreditation of the sponsor

If the provider of the free program doesn’t have proper accreditations from governing bodies like NASBA and AICPA, you may not be able to earn any CPA CPE credits. You can always search the NASBA Registry to check this.

·        Credibility of instructors

Experienced instructors can explain complex topics in an easily comprehensible manner. While you don’t need to pay anything to take free programs, you’ll need to invest your time and effort to complete them.

So, taking courses authored by inexperienced professionals or attending webinars presented by new instructors may become a barrier for you to internalize the concepts properly.

In Conclusion

We hope that we’ve successfully answered all your queries related to CPA CPE credits. Regardless of the option or delivery method you choose to earn CPE credits for CPAs, try to review the things that we’ve discussed above to pursue your CPE in the best possible manner.



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