CPE Credits for CPAs
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In all states, CPAs are required to pursue CPE or Continuing Professional Education throughout their professional career. The objective of this training is to compel CPAs to continue updating their knowledge in different fields of accounting.
Every state board of accountancy has certain CPE requirements in place, and it reviews the number of CPE credits for CPAs when verifying whether or not a CPA has complied with those requirements.
A lot of people think that the importance of earning offline or online CPE credits for CPAs is only limited to meeting the state accountancy board’s CPE requirements. However, the reality is by earning CPE credits for CPAs online or offline, you can enjoy a plethora of benefits that go beyond just meeting your CPE requirements.
As the title of the article suggests, we’re going to explore the real-life benefits of CPE credits for CPAs. We’ll also discuss all other key aspects of online CPE credits.
Let’s get started.
In several professional fields, including accountancy, CPE credits stand for the points that professionals in those fields earn by completing specialized training. So, CPE credits for CPAs are essentially the points that you, as a CPA, earn by completing approved online or offline courses, participating in seminars or conferences, or through other recognized methods.
Generally, CPAs need to earn 120 CPE credits every three years. However, the reporting period may vary between annual, biennial, and triennial, depending on the state accountancy board.
It’s extremely important to note that whether you earn CPE credits online or offline, you must maintain all the related documents carefully. This is because, in the case of a random audit done by your state accountancy board, these will be the only proof that you’ve actually fulfilled your CPE requirements.
If you lost some of these documents, you should be able to recollect them from the sponsors of respective programs. However, that’ll likely be a time-consuming and costly process.
People sometimes wonder why both CPAs and state accountancy boards place so much importance on pursuing CPE and earning the required amount of CPE credits for CPAs on time. Here’re the reasons behind it.
· They are a must to keep your license active
Regardless of the state, practicing CPAs have to earn the exact number of offline or online CPA credits required by the state accountancy board within their licensing renewal periods. Failing to do this may get your license an inactive status.
And if your license becomes inactive, you’ll no longer be able to offer professional services. Moreover, this may trigger some irreversible damage to your career.
Some state accountancy boards may provide non-compliant CPAs with a grace period to complete their CPE, but that’ll incur a substantial additional cost. So, you should put your best foot forward to earn all the required CPE credits for CPAs on time.
· They can help maximize your earning potential
When you earn CPA online credits or offline hours, it demonstrates your willingness to maintain your professional competence. This essentially helps to strengthen your position in the industry, which leads to better employment opportunities and increased earning potential.
As accountancy is a vast and complex field, almost all businesses and the majority of individuals turn to competent CPAs to comply with the rules and regulations. And pursuing CPE is your only option to increase your knowledge and skills and stay up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations.
· They help maintain your AICPA membership
The AICPA membership is one of the most prestigious memberships you can hold in the field of accountancy. It acts as proof of your professional competence and exceptional knowledge in the field. And of the key requirements of AICPA membership is to earn 120 CPE credits for CPAs every three years.
As an AICPA member, you get to enjoy a significant number of benefits. From expert guidance and opportunities for knowledge development to networking opportunities, discounted offers from over twenty leading companies, and more – you’ll get almost everything to speed up your professional growth.
Additionally, a good percentage of large organizations and accounting firms prioritize an AICPA membership when screening candidates and promoting employees. This is another real-life benefit of earning offline or online CPE credits to maintain your AICPA membership.
· They open a new world of opportunities
Today, CPAs can pursue their careers in many different fields. In addition to occupying positions at government organizations, multinational corporations, and nonprofits, many CPAs prefer to specialize in certain areas. These often include internal auditing, financial analysis, management accounting, tax accounting, and forensic accounting.
Some CPAs prefer to work as independent consultants, while others choose to establish their own accounting firms where they serve different types of businesses and individuals simultaneously.
In any of these cases, having robust knowledge and skills in your chosen field is a must to succeed. And when it comes to the learning activities for CPAs, they cover almost anything under the sun. You can learn any topic as long as it’s related to accounting.
Therefore, whether you’ve already decided on your career trajectory or want to explore different career paths, you only need to earn the right amount of CPE credits for CPAs to make your dream come true.
If you want to set yourself apart from other accountants, you should possess a unique combination of skills. It may seem to be a difficult task, but you can accomplish this by choosing the right learning activities.
Our team of industry experts has created the following list of sought-after skills that you may try to acquire to build the unique combination mentioned above. Just be sure to check that the CPE credits for CPAs you’ll earn will get counted toward meeting your state board’s requirements.
· Communication skills
Knowing how to communicate your findings to the stakeholders and other non-accounting team members is an essential skill to excel in your position and climb the corporate ladder quickly. Regardless of the industry you’re into, you must develop strong communication skills.
As a good financial advisor or consultant, you must be able to persuade your audience by telling them relatable stories, building analogies, and speaking fluently in a natural tone. It’s also crucial that you possess good writing skills to convey information in written forms successfully.
· Leadership skills
When you work as a public accountant, it’s expected that you help inexperienced team members develop the right skills. CPAs engaged in large organizations often work in mid or upper-level management positions.
In these positions, they should be able to lead and guide others to achieve organizational goals together. To excel in your role, you must demonstrate excellent proactivity together with outstanding management and organizational skills. By acquiring these skills, you’ll be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and guide them accordingly.
· Technical skills
In today’s world, technology has become the backbone of many industries, and accounting is no exception. Repetitive, manual processes are slowly being replaced by advanced automation software. Not only does automation help CPAs improve the quality and accuracy of financial reporting, but it also speeds up traditional, time-consuming processes.
As a significant percentage of organizations are embracing advanced accounting-related technologies, it pays to develop your technical skills to increase employability and future-proof your career. When choosing technical courses to earn CPE credits for CPAs, pay special attention to learning advanced Excel, business intelligence software, ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, and QuickBooks.
· Analytical skills
CPAs, especially those who work in advisory roles, often need to review large amounts of reports of financial data to provide their clients with big-picture perspectives. If you work or plan to work in these roles, you must be able to analyze data, identify trends, and develop actionable strategies accordingly.
As CPAs play crucial roles in the process of decision-making, it’s a must for them to possess strong analytical skills. By combining accounting skills with analytical skills, you can become an invaluable asset to your company.
There’re several subject areas that you can choose to master when earning offline or online CPE credits for CPAs. Here’re brief overviews of the main subject areas, from which you can choose according to your requirements and preferences.
This subject area lets you develop knowledge and skills regarding general accounting principles such as fundamentals of accounting and financial reporting. Courses on accounting generally cover topics related to requirements of financial reporting and the methods of recognizing and presenting financial statements.
Auditing deals with examining the public accounting profession, financial statements’ reporting, and reviewing administrative controls. Related courses cover topics like auditing standards, review services, evaluation of internal controls, reporting on financial statements, substantive procedures, audit sampling, etc.
This subject area covers local, state, federal, and international tax compliance for individuals, organizations, estates, and trusts. It’s divided into two areas: tax planning and tax compliance.
The tax planning subfield encompasses comprehension of tax implementations and the application of tax rules to various types of transactions. This typically includes providing clients with advice on alternative tax treatments and tax-saving methods.
Tax compliance focuses on preparing tax returns and reviewing and examining the application of IRS rules and regulations.
Ethics encompasses topics related to rules of ethics, values, judgment, psychology of moral development, etc. It’s important to note that every state accountancy board requires its CPAs to earn a certain number of CPE credits for CPAs in order to meet their CPE requirements. However, some states may need you to take their state-specific ethics courses.
· Advisory services
Topics related to this subject area help you learn how to evaluate, analyze, design and implement the systems that impact a business’s planning phase and control systems. Relevant programs often include specific business processes such as R&D, manufacturing, human resources, information management, and marketing.
· Specialized knowledge
This subject area lets you develop knowledge and skills related to specific industries, such as the nonprofit sector. You’ll learn specialized accounting principles and how to apply them to these business entities. Relevant courses cover subjects like economic structures, sources of financing, legislative or regulatory requirements, etc.
When it comes to earning online CPE credits for CPAs, it’s a must to follow a strategic study routine to internalize the concepts fully and complete the programs on time. Here’re a couple of tips that should help you accomplish this goal.
· Divide the study material into small modules
According to research, individuals absorb concepts faster by breaking a large study material into small sections. It also takes a relatively shorter period of time to absorb small chunks of information. Fortunately, some reputable CPE sponsors design their study materials keeping this thing in mind. If you take CPE courses from them to earn CPE credits for CPAs, the study material should be already subdivided.
· Study in short spans of time
Studying for several hours at one go often leads to distractions and a lack of attention. Therefore, try to study for short periods of time. Not only will this help you learn quickly, but it’ll also help you focus completely on the materials during studying.
Earning CPE credits for CPAs is synonymous with lifelong learning. The methods to earn online CPE credits for CPAs have made it much easier for busy accountants to pursue CPE at their own pace and improve their knowledge and skills.
If you haven’t tried to earn online CPA credits, it’s time to explore one of the available options. You’ll soon realize why a countless number of CPAs prefer to earn their CPE credits using online options. If you have any queries regarding how CPEThink.com can help in your CPE journey, talk to us today, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
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