Online CPE For CPAs
|The Last Self-Study CPE Website You Will Ever Need|
As a working CPA, you’re surely aware that maintaining an active license is a must to be able to continue offering your services. And to do it, you must focus on pursuing CPE for CPAs.
Without fulfilling your state accountancy board’s CPE requirements, you cannot keep your CPA license active. Therefore, quite naturally, a huge number of CPAs take CPE courses for CPAs only to maintain their license.
If you also belong to this league, perhaps it’s time to alter your mindset and approach CPE for CPAs with a new viewpoint. This is because CPE courses not only help you earn the required CPE credits but offer a plethora of other essential benefits as well.
Just continue reading this guide and pursuing CPE won’t feel like a hassle anymore. You’ll also learn about how to choose the right online CPE courses, how to plan them properly, and a couple of other valuable things.
Here’re the key benefits of pursuing CPE for CPAs online or offline that would help you understand why it’s necessary to consider CPE as a top priority.
At first glance, it may not seem like a benefit because learning always leads to competence. Of course, it does. But the ability to retain information quickly deteriorates if you don’t regularly encounter that information or the concepts and ideas built upon it.
In short, to maintain skills and knowledge, you must regularly immerse yourself in the related accounting areas. Even if you work in a particular accounting field, you’ll not be able to encounter every concept regularly simply by performing your job.
And that’s where the value of CPE for CPAs comes into the picture. From brushing up fundamental concepts to learning new ones – you can choose CPE courses according to your exact requirements to remain competent.
· Professional growth
While CPAs typically enjoy handsome salaries and attractive perks, the completion of CPE courses for CPAs helps you take them to the next level. It’s true that there’re lots of companies that don’t consider CPE as a basis for salary increases. But if you work for a big organization with a large team of accountants, it’ll most likely become a deciding factor when it comes to getting promoted.
Additionally, many large accounting firms prefer to hire candidates with AICPA membership. One of the key AICPA membership requirements is to complete 120 CPE hours every three years.
· Networking opportunities
Another major benefit of pursuing CPE for CPAs is the opportunity for networking with other professionals in the industry. This becomes particularly true if you choose virtual conferences/seminars where you may find better career opportunities by interacting with others.
While many CPAs prefer to take in-person CPE courses, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it somewhat impossible to take this route. As a result, we’re experiencing a huge spike in the demand for online CPE courses.
However, choosing the right course among thousands of options often becomes a difficult task for many. To help you out, we’ve prepared a checklist that would help you understand whether or not a course is the right one for you.
We’ve divided it into two parts – content and navigation.
· Clear and concise learning objectives
Regardless of the course you plan to take, the first thing you need to see is how its learning objectives are defined. Well-developed learning objectives should help you get a clear understanding of what you’ll learn from a particular course.
Take a look at our “2021 Individual Filing Requirements” course’s learning objectives, for example.
As you can see, learning objectives clearly explain what you can expect from the course. And when it’s complete, you can check if you’ve met the learning objectives. So, try to purchase CPE courses that come with concise and straightforward learning objectives to avoid future frustrations.
· Availability of different learning methods
Different learning methods work best for different learners. Some prefer text-based courses while others choose video-based instructions.
For example, the course we’ve just mentioned above is available in both text-based and video-based formats with both offering the same content and number of credits.
Since mastering accounting topics requires lots of attention and study, having the ability to choose the learning format according to your own learning style can make a big difference.
Easy-to-use navigation is one of the most important elements of online CPE for CPAs. If the platform that you’re using to take the courses doesn’t function properly, you won’t be able to get through a course successfully.
While website downtime and other technical issues are unavoidable, you should be able to reach out to customer support whenever required. For instance, at Cpethink.com, we offer 24/7 support to assist our customers whenever they face any issue with our CPE courses or platform.
As CPAs need to earn a significant number of CPE credits to complete their licensing renewal, planning the process right from the beginning is important. Here, we’ve jotted down some key considerations that would help you do it efficiently.
· Take a thorough look at ethics and technical requirements
Typically, state accountancy boards require CPAs to earn a minimum number of credits in ethics. Different state boards have different ethics requirements in terms of the number of credits, if these need to be earned annually, biennially, or triennially, and whether the courses need to be state-specific.
Additionally, some state boards have made it mandatory for CPAs to earn a minimum number of CPE credits in accounting and auditing. If you earn credits in other technical fields of study like finance or taxes, they won’t get counted to meet your accounting and auditing requirements.
Therefore, before you start deciding on CPE courses for CPAs, be sure to clearly understand your state board’s requirements.
· Check the limitations in CPE requirements
Different state boards have imposed different limitations when it comes to CPE for CPAs. For instance, in some states, they’ve got a maximum limit of CPE credits that you can earn by taking personal development courses.
When it comes to the delivery methods of courses, there’re differences as well. For example, in some states, you can earn all your required CPE credits by taking self-study CPE courses while in others, you aren’t allowed to earn more than a certain number of credits through these courses. Boards won’t accept CPE credits that are beyond the maximum limits.
· Be sure to complete each course diligently
There can be several reasons for which you may not be able to earn CPE credits even after investing time and money. While one key reason is joining a CPE sponsor without properly verifying its accreditations, there’re other reasons as well.
If you take self-study CPE courses for CPAs, you must pass the exam at the end of each course to earn credits. Though some leading CPE sponsors provide unlimited attempts for this, you’ll have to clear it with the required passing score.
If you prefer attending live webinars, you won’t have to pass an exam to earn credits. However, you must be present for a certain period of time (50 minutes in a 60-minute webinar) and answer a certain number of polls to receive credits.
So, Whatever CPE courses you take, complete each of them thoroughly until you receive the credits.
Tracking your CPE credits is very important because if you fall behind, it’ll cause several costly damages. However, the task often becomes quite difficult as you continue earning credits from different sponsors and different learning methods.
Therefore, you must follow a strategy right from the beginning of your renewal periods. Here’re three useful strategies among which you can choose the right one depending on your preferences.
· The first method is tracking all your CPE credits manually. Maintain a file folder and keep all the printouts of the completion certificates of CPE courses for CPAs in it.
· The second method is tracking your credits digitally using an Excel spreadsheet. You can also scan or take pictures of your completion certificates and email them to yourself.
· The last option is using an online CPE tracker such as the AICPA MyCPE Manager. While it greatly helps you manage your CPE requirements, it costs money ($39 for AICPA members and $49 for nonmembers). There’re free trackers also available but we strongly suggest using a paid one if you’ve to.
The truth is using an online tracker isn’t at all necessary as long as you’re tracking your credits diligently. Whether you use a piece of paper or an Excel file, be sure to include some essential pieces of information whenever you complete a course and receive the credits. These include the name of the CPE course, name of the CPE sponsor, number of credits earned, and course duration.
Generally, CPAs need to earn 120 CPE credits in every 3-year period and its cost can easily go up to thousands of dollars. However, calculating the accurate cost is quite difficult as it depends on various factors such as CPE method, location, membership fees, etc.
Let’s see how each of these factors contributes to the total cost of CPE for CPAs.
· License renewal fees
This is the fee you’d need to pay your state board of accountancy for renewing your license. It varies from one state to another, so you need to check your state board’s website to know the exact cost.
· AICPA membership fee
Though having an AICPA membership isn’t mandatory for CPAs, most of them prefer to have one. This is because an AICPA membership not only helps to establish CPAs’ credibility but offers a multitude of benefits as well.
The amount of the membership fees depends on several factors such as your work status, industry, and role. For instance, for regular membership, an internal auditor in business/industry would need to pay $295 (for 2021-22) while it becomes $485 for sole practitioners in public accounting. Take a look at this page to get a clear understanding of the membership dues.
· CPE method
This is undoubtedly the most expensive aspect among all the factors associated with CPE for CPAs. When it comes to online CPE for CPAs, you’ve got three main options – webinars, virtual seminars/conferences, and self-study courses.
Seminars and conferences tend to be the costliest options with self-study courses being the most affordable ones. However, even with self-study CPE courses, the total cost of pursuing CPE can easily become a significant one.
As we just saw in the last block, license renewal fees and AICPA membership fees are non-negotiable. Therefore, CPE method is the only area where you can lower the costs by making your choices wisely.
There’re thousands of accredited CPE sponsors that offer self-study CPE courses for CPAs. Most sponsors sell these courses individually meaning you’ve to pay for each of them separately when you want to take them.
At Cpethink.com, we offer different types of subscriptions with two unlimited CPE plans. The biggest advantage of choosing unlimited CPE subscriptions is that you’ll get access to our entire library of self-study CPE courses including self-study ethics courses and free webinars for either 2 years ($299.95) or 1 year ($199.95) depending on your chosen plan. We also offer bundled courses where you get multiple courses at discounted rates. Both subscriptions and bundled courses help to significantly lower the cost of CPE for CPAs.
If you want to taste the water before joining us, simply take one or all of our free CPE courses first. And the best thing is that you’ll get 1 credit for completing each of them. So, you won’t have to worry about wasting your valuable time.
Pursuing CPE for CPAs is an essential aspect of being a CPA. While this isn’t an easy task, keeping the above things in mind will help make your journey a bit easier. If you want to know anything about online CPE or our CPE courses, we’re here to help.
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