What To Look For With Free CPE For CPAs
|The Last Self-Study CPE Website You Will Ever Need|
Whether you’re an experienced CPA or have just obtained your license, a set of learning requirements in the form of CPE will always be there throughout your career. If you want to remain licensed to practice and stay up to date with the latest changes in the accounting field, there’s simply no alternative to CPE for CPAs.
When it comes to pursuing CPE, you’ve probably heard that a number of sponsors offer CPA CPE free programs. While you won’t be able to earn all your required CPE credits by taking CPA CPE free courses, choosing them will be a highly advantageous decision.
If you want to learn more about earning CPA CPE free credits and meeting some percentage of your CPE requirements at no cost, this guide is for you.
There’re two primary advantages of opting for CPA CPE free courses: earning credits for free and being able to test the quality of your shortlisted CPE sponsors.
As a CPA, you’ve to earn at least 40 CPE credits each year. If you calculate the total cost of these credits, it becomes hundreds of dollars. And that’s for taking self-study courses, which is the most cost-effective option for pursuing CPE.
If you choose seminars, conferences, or even webinars, the cost goes up significantly. Some employers reimburse the cost of CPE, either partially or in full. But if you don’t have that benefit, the entire cost is on you.
Some online CPA CPE free programs let you earn credits at zero costs. While you’ll still need to take paid CPE courses to meet your requirements, the total cost gets lowered to a good extent.
With thousands of CPE sponsors available in the market, it’s a truly difficult task to understand if the course materials or learning methods offered by a particular provider will suit you the best. Despite the availability of testimonials and customer reviews, you may need to take one or two paid courses to find the right provider.
However, by taking CPA CPE courses for free, you can test the waters without paying anything. If a shortlisted sponsor offers CPA CPE free programs, you just need to create an account to get them.
If you’re satisfied with the quality of the programs, you can confidently purchase paid courses from that provider, knowing that you’ve selected the right one. Or else, you can continue trying out other sponsors that offer CPA CPE free online programs.
The methods of earning CPA CPE free credits can be divided into two categories: online and offline. Let’s see what each of these involves.
When it comes to online CPA CPE free programs, two primary options are available: self-study courses and webinars.
This is the most sought-after method to earn CPA CPE free credits. Once you complete the registration process with the sponsor, you can start taking these CPA CPE free courses at your own pace. Usually, you’ll get one full year to complete them and earn the credits by passing the final exams.
This is another popular method used by many CPAs, especially those who prefer to learn in a virtual classroom setting. While webinars also let you earn free credits, you must keep a couple of things in mind to get them successfully.
First, free live webinars are often held during business hours. So, if you’re working full-time, you’ll need to manage your schedule based on their timings.
Second, if your primary objective is to earn credits, you’ve to be present for a specific period of time during a webinar (50 minutes in a 60-minute session). It’s also a must to answer a specific number of questions during the webinar to show your active participation. If you fail to do any of these, you won’t receive any credit.
It’s also possible to obtain CPA CPE free credits as a speaker, presenter, or author on topics related to CPE fields of study or the CPE function. However, many state accountancy boards have established limitations on these methods by defining a maximum number of credits that can be earned using these methods. So, be sure to clearly understand those limitations before proceeding ahead with them.
These methods bring two unique opportunities your way. First, you’ll be able to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert in the industry. And second, your public speaking skills (if you choose to be a presenter or speaker) will get significantly improved.
These days, a large number of reputable sponsors and organizations offer CPA CPE free credits. Here, we’ve rounded up the top eight sources that you can explore to earn free credits.
At Cpethink.com, we currently offer three CPA CPE free courses, with each offering one CPE credit. All of them are available in text-based and video formats and require you to pass the final exam to earn credits.
The AICPA offers a large number of self-study CPE courses, a few of which are available for free. Each of these CPA CPE free courses lets you earn 2 CPE credits within one year from completing the registration process.
Presently, the CFI offers five CPA CPE courses for free that you can take to earn a total of 10.5 CPE credits. All of these are self-study courses, so you can take them at your own leisure.
PwC has an extensive library of webcasts that you can take to earn free CPE credits. It also lets you expand your knowledge by watching previously recorded webcasts.
Note that to earn CPE credits from PwC, you must be present throughout the entire program and answer a specific number of questions during it. The current requirement is to answer a minimum of four questions during each 60-minute session.
EY offers a wide range of webcasts on different interesting topics, most of which provide free CPE credits. While you can also listen to podcasts and watch archived webcasts, you won’t receive any credits for doing so.
Deloitte offers a long list of free live webcasts (they call it ‘Dbriefs’), each of which gives you the opportunity to earn free CPE credits. Just be sure to watch the original live webcasts and meet the participation requirements for them.
One of the most reputable accounting firms in the world, Grant Thornton offers a wide range of live webcasts that provide free CPE credits. You can also watch archived programs, but you won’t receive any credits for that.
More commonly known as BDO, the leading accounting firm hosts live webinars and events to help CPAs earn free credits. It also has a huge library of archived webinars that you can watch to enhance your knowledge.
Did you know in the U.S., there’re 669,130 CPAs with an active license as of August 24, 2021? While it’s guaranteed that your professional skills and expertise will always be in demand, taking initiatives and expanding your knowledge are necessary to accelerate your professional growth.
And the best thing is you can use CPA CPE free programs to your advantage. Here’re some effective strategies to do this.
In this era of digitalization, it’s a must to stay abreast of the latest tech developments relevant to the accounting field and your specific area of work. This can cover a broad range of topics: from MS Excel and accounting systems to cybersecurity and more.
Fortunately, some sponsors offer CPA CPE free online programs on these topics. You may also be able to earn one or two free credits while enhancing your existing expertise or acquiring new skills through these programs.
Of course, you studied extensively and acquired mastery in many different accounting topics in your effort to become a CPA. But if you’ve been spending years doing a particular activity, most of your knowledge in other areas starts to fade.
Also, if you’re planning to join a large organization, having expertise in different areas is almost a must. Your job may involve different responsibilities, such as internal auditing, financial reporting, or compliance.
By taking CPA CPE courses for free, you can save yourself from getting bogged down in a particular type of activity. As these courses cover many different topics, you can choose according to your professional requirements and personal interests.
The accounting industry is pushing CPAs into being proactive and playing a more advisory-level role. And being able to take on these roles requires soft skills alongside expertise in accounting areas.
Implementation of skills like communication, strategic planning, leadership, teaming, etc., has become essential for CPAs’ day-to-day responsibilities. In this scenario, CPA CPE free programs let you kill two birds with one stone: acquiring soft skills to serve the clients and earning credits to maintain your license.
Earning a minimum of 40 CPE credits each year is already a difficult task, and when you take CPA CPE free courses to expand your knowledge, it becomes even more burdensome. But it doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to take only those free courses that provide credits.
We understand that managing enough time to study is one of the biggest concerns for working CPAs, and that’s why we’ve created this short list of simple yet highly effective time management tips.
For many accountants, doing repetitive tasks consumes a good amount of time each week. Experts say automating such tasks is the most effective method to reduce workload and manage valuable time. However, we say that you should do it only if you’re particularly tech-savvy.
If you don’t have a solid understanding of the automation software, the reality of managing automated tasks may not take much time to become an overwhelming task in itself. For instance, scheduling automatic notifications for important events or deadlines can be very difficult to update if things change later on.
So, focus on automating less-important, repetitive tasks only instead of every task in your hands.
While there’re tasks that you must handle yourself, there’re also those that you can delegate to your junior staff. By delegating some administrative tasks and other less-important responsibilities, you’ll get some more time available that can be utilized for pursuing CPA CPE free courses.
Even if the status quo in your organization is to be available around the clock by phone and email, you should stop doing this when pursuing CPA CPE free online programs. Whether you’re taking these courses to meet your CPE requirements or to improve your skills, this practice will undermine your focus over time.
Instead of being available around the clock, it’s much more productive to focus completely on work during your working hours only. Then, in the off hours, you can solely focus on your studies.
Taking regular breaks is necessary, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. A quick break from your study table will help you remain focused. By getting involved in some other activities, not only you’ll feel refreshed but also be able to internalize more study materials in less time with a concentrated focus.
Ultimately, the most effective time management tip is what works for you. Try whatever you think will work, including these tips, and keep trying until you find some effective ways to manage more time for studying.
Any practicing CPA knows that highs and lows are inherent parts of the accounting profession. Accountants that invest in their professional growth by diversifying their knowledge will last in the long run. And CPA CPE free programs will be your best opportunities to improve your existing knowledge and skills and to acquire new ones.
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