Essential Things You Need To Know About CPA CPE Self-Study
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While obtaining your CPA license is a great achievement, it also indicates the beginning of your CPE journey. Apart from being a mandatory aspect of keeping your license active, CPE is synonymous with your professional development.
You undertake learning activities to maintain and improve your knowledge and skills. Here, the question is, what should be the ideal method to pursue CPE?
Although there are various methods to choose from, CPA CPE self-study has emerged as the number one option for numerous CPAs.
If you’re wondering why self-study CPE for CPAs has gained this huge popularity, you’ve come to the right page. Here, we’ll discuss every vital thing related to self-study CPE for CPA. From what are CPE for CPAs self-study programs and the benefits of CPE self-study CPA to brief details of leading self-study CPA CPE sponsors, we’ll discuss everything to help you make an informed decision quickly.
Let’s start with the basics.
As the name implies, self-study CPE for CPAs refers to the method of pursuing CPE where you take and complete self-study CPE courses for CPAs on your own, without the presence of a live instructor.
After you purchase CPA CPE self-study courses, you can complete them either online or offline. However, to complete them offline, the course materials need to be available in downloadable PDF versions.
Note that not all CPA CPE self-study sponsors provide this facility. Therefore, if you prefer to have this option, ensure that your chosen sponsor offers course materials in downloadable PDF versions.
It’s very important to understand that whether you take AICPA CPE self-study courses or pursue self-study CPE for CPA from a NASBA-registered sponsor, you must pass the exam at the end of each course. You won’t receive any CPE credit if you cannot pass the final exam.
Also, as described in the CPE standards, you must submit the final exam online. And this is applicable to both AICPA self-study CPE and all other types of CPE self-study CPA programs that are eligible for CPE credits.
Perhaps you already know that NASBA maintains a National Registry that lists all qualifying CPE sponsors. The QAS (Quality Assurance Service) program was introduced exclusively for self-study CPA CPE sponsors.
Although the QAS program is similar to the National Registry program, it introduced additional responsibilities for self-study CPE sponsors. To obtain the QAS self-study logo, programs offered by CPE sponsors are thoroughly reviewed to ensure they meet all the standards established jointly by the AICPA and NASBA.
Whether you take paid self-study CPE courses for CPAs or free CPA CPE self-study programs, you can rest assured of their quality if they’ve passed the QAS review process.
Almost all CPA self-study CPE sponsors mention something like “QAS-Registry” beside the programs that have gone through the review process. Therefore, you shouldn’t have any problem identifying quality self-study CPE CPA programs.
Here’re the top reasons why countless accountants prefer to take CPA CPE self-study programs.
· You can study them anytime from anywhere
Unmatched flexibility is probably the biggest benefit of pursuing self-study CPE for CPAs. No matter if you’re traveling, enjoying a vacation, or having a lunch break, you can go through the CPA self-study materials of CPA CPE self-study courses.
Moreover, whether you want to study early in the morning or late at night, you can do that conveniently. You won’t have to think about planning your schedule to attend a live webinar or an in-person program.
· You can control the cost of your CPE
This is another major benefit of taking CPE for CPAs self-study programs. CPA CPE self-study courses are typically less expensive than webinars, in-person programs, and seminars/conferences. In fact, you may be able to earn all your required CPE credits by paying just half the cost of attending a seminar/conference.
Additionally, some top self-study CPA CPE, including CPEThink.com, offer different types of subscription packages. These packages let you take a large number of courses at prices much lower than their actual ones. So, for cost-conscious CPAs, choosing CPA CPE self-study programs seems to be the best option.
· You can learn at your own pace
Learning styles differ from one learner to another. However, when you’re in a live webinar or in-person program, you may often need to move on to a new topic without properly understanding the previous one to keep pace with other attendees.
On the other hand, if you’re a fast learner, you may have to wait for fellow attendees before moving on to a new topic. This often triggers boredom or frustration.
However, with self-study CPE courses for CPAs, you get complete control over the pace of your learning. Whether you want to learn faster or need to review a topic numerous times, you can do whatever you wish.
· They make you more disciplined
Finally, self-directed learners generally demonstrate better awareness while dealing with deadlines and commitments. If you’re dedicated to making the most out of your CPA CPE self-study courses, you’ll automatically plan your professional and study schedules more effectively and earn the credits on time.
Now that you know the benefits of choosing CPA CPE self-study programs, let’s take a look at their downsides. However, these can be easily avoided with proper planning, dedication, and by choosing the right self-study CPA CPE sponsor.
· The absence of peer pressure
Sometimes, you can easily complete a CPE course and earn your credits just by attending it regularly and keeping pace with fellow attendees. However, when it comes to self-study CPE for CPAs, you’re completely on your own. There’s nothing like peer pressure or active support from instructors.
This may make it difficult for some CPAs to complete the courses and earn their required credits within their license renewal periods. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to overcome this.
For instance, you can join a CPA community to get inspiration from other CPAs to complete your CPA CPE self-study programs on time. Your chosen self-study CPA CPE sponsor may also let you interact with its course authors/instructors to help clear your doubts from time to time.
· You may not be able to build a solid professional network quickly
In the professional world, networking matters significantly. With a robust professional network, it’s possible to explore new opportunities quickly. However, when you take CPA CPE self-study courses, you don’t get the opportunity to build your professional network quickly.
This is because, unlike in-person programs, seminars, and conferences where you can interact with fellow attendees face-to-face, self-study CPE CPA programs don’t provide this opportunity. But you can certainly build your network at a slower pace by joining professional CPA communities.
· You may not be able to earn a lot of credits at once
It’s possible to earn a significant number of credits by attending just one seminar or conference. But you may not be able to do this by taking just one CPE self-study CPA course. In most cases, you’ll have to take several courses to earn a substantial portion of the credits required to meet your CPE requirements.
But it’s also important to note that seminars/conferences, which let you earn a significant number of credits at once, typically revolve around a particular topic/subject. While this significantly helps you meet your CPE requirements, it also limits your ability to learn many different topics.
· You may not be able to earn all your required credits
Different state boards of accountancy have outlined different CPE requirements for their CPAs. For example, some state boards don’t allow their CPAs to earn all of their required CPE credits through CPA CPE self-study courses.
If you’re licensed in one of those states, you’ll have to choose other learning formats such as webinars to meet your CPE requirements. Fortunately, some leading CPA self-study CPE sponsors offer programs through multiple learning formats. Therefore, even if your state board doesn’t allow all credits to be earned through self-study CPE for CPA courses, you can still comfortably meet your CPE requirements by choosing the right self-study CPA CPE sponsor.
As you can see, although CPA CPE self-study programs have some downsides, you can easily overcome them by following the tips we discussed above.
Here, we’ve compiled brief overviews of seven popular sponsors of self-study CPE for CPAs to help you select the right one quickly. We’ve focused on the approximate number of their total courses, the costs of those courses, and their money-back policies (if any).
AICPA offers hundreds of CPA CPE self-study courses on different fields of study. Prices of AICPA CPE self-study courses range from free to a couple of hundred dollars with a varying number of CPE credits.
AICPA also has an unlimited one-year subscription package called CPExpress. If you’re an AICPA member, you can purchase it for $340. For nonmembers, the price stands at $495. Note that AICPA doesn’t issue any refund for CPExpress. However, for individual AICPA self-study CPE courses, you may get refunds by raising the request within 30 days of making the purchase.
· CPA Self Study
CPA Self Study has 145 CPA CPE self-study courses available within a price range of $4.00 and $159.99. You can earn one to 16 credits as per your requirements. The sponsor also has an unlimited one-year subscription priced at $149.
You may get a 100% refund for CPA CPE self-study courses by making the request within 30 days of completing your purchase.
· Checkpoint Learning
Currently, Checkpoint Learning offers 620 CPE self-study CPA courses. These are available within a price range of $29 and $239, offering one to 17 credits.
Checkpoint Learning offers three subscription packages, among which the “Professional” will let you access 500+ online self-study courses. You can buy it on an annual, biennial, or triennial basis. For a one-year contract, its price stands at $289. However, the longer your contract, the more discount you’ll get. The sponsor’s website doesn’t offer any clear information about its refund policy.
· Western CPE
If you want to pursue online self-study CPE for CPAs from Western CPE, you’ll need to pay anything between $29 and $860. These courses will let you earn one to 43 credits. Note that many self-study CPE CPA courses from this sponsor are available in two versions: online and hard copy. If you need hard copies of the courses, the price range will be higher than what we’ve just mentioned.
If you purchase a course but don’t complete it, you can choose store credit or transfer the amount to another course of the less or same value.
Surgent offers more than 250 self-study CPE courses for CPAs, offering 2 to 16 credits. Some of these courses are offered in the on-demand webcast, downloadable PDF, and textbook formats. Prices of these courses range from $29 to $279.
Surgent also has an unlimited subscription package (1 year) priced at $499. You can get a refund for self-study courses or the unlimited package by raising the refund request within 10 business days of making the purchase, provided you haven’t earned any CPE credit.
MasterCPE has a large number of self-study CPA CPE courses within a price range of $12.95 and $135.95. You can earn one to 33 credits by taking them. The sponsor has a one-year CPE subscription ($149) but you won’t be able to access its ethics courses using this.
You may get a 100% refund from MasterCPE by sending the request to the team within 90 days of completing the purchase.
At CPEThink.com, currently, we offer 757 CPA CPE self-study courses within a price range of $12.95 and $175.95, letting you earn one to 39 credits. Many of these courses are available in both text-based and video formats. We also have three free CPA CPE self-study courses that you can take and earn one credit for each.
We have six different subscription packages including two unlimited ones. Prices of these packages range from $69.95 to $299.95. You’ll be able to access all our CPA CPE self-study courses, including ethics courses, using any of these packages.
In terms of refund policy, you can get a 100% refund from us by raising your request within 100 days of making the purchase.
We hope that we’ve successfully explained why CPA CPE self-study programs have become the number of choice among countless CPAs. If you still have any questions regarding self-study CPE for CPAs, feel free to reach us.
If you feel confident enough to start pursuing self-study CPE for CPA right away, browse our course library to find your ideal courses.
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