CPE Online: Essential Things You Need To Know
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In today’s ever-evolving financial landscape, missing to update an accountant’s professional knowledge is synonymous with remaining stagnant. As a result, CPAs all around the world are continually trying to keep pace with the ever-expanding skill sets needed to be able to deliver their services effectively.
Fortunately, CPE (Continuing Professional Education) gives them an excellent opportunity to improve their professional expertise and keep their licenses active. Among all the methods of earning CPE credits, CPE online has emerged as the number one choice among CPAs worldwide.
In the context of online CPE, multiple popular methods are available with advantages and disadvantages to each. Moreover, as pursuing CPE isn’t cheap, you need to consider several important aspects when choosing the sponsor for online CPE for CPAs. Finally, managing your CPE credits is also an important task because something wrong may lead to several negative consequences.
Keeping all these things in mind, we decided to create this comprehensive post on CPA CPE online that’ll continue to act as your ultimate handbook throughout your CPE journey.
Let’s delve deeper!
Here’re the key reasons why numerous CPAs choose online CPA CPE programs. Also, if you’re facing a dilemma about choosing between in-person programs and online CE for CPAs, these pointers should help make up your mind.
This is perhaps the biggest advantage of opting for online Continuing Professional Education. If you choose any online method other than the live ones, you can go through the course materials anytime from anywhere.
Even if you choose to attend live webinars or live virtual conferences, there’s no need to travel to and from another place to attend the programs. You only need to attend the programs on pre-defined schedules.
Typically, the costs of CPE online programs are significantly lower than those of in-person programs. And as you generally need to earn 120 CPE credits every three years, this difference can easily help you save hundreds of dollars. For example, at CPEthink.com, the prices of our online CPE self-study courses start from only $12.95, meaning you’ll never have to think about managing the cost of pursuing CPE.
Another notable thing about online Continuing Education is that you can save even more by choosing self-study courses. Of course, with these courses, you won’t have the opportunity to interact with the instructor as you’d in a live setting, but you’ll get to enjoy one major benefit other than cost-saving.
You’ll be able to plan your CPE while managing your personal and professional lives. You won’t have to think about managing time to attend a live program being held during business hours or sacrificing your social life to attend weekend programs.
Another key benefit of opting for online CPE is that you get to choose from a wide range of courses by selecting the right sponsor. In-person programs often don’t provide you with as much variety as CPA CPE online programs.
Having a large course catalog means you’re free to choose the courses according to your CPE requirements, professional requirements, and personal interests. For instance, we offer a large collection of 700+ courses that’ll most likely serve all your purposes.
These days, a significantly large number of CPE sponsors offer CPE online programs, thanks to their steadily increasing demand. While this gives you more options to choose from, it also makes the task of finding the right one a bit difficult. To help you out, we’ve jotted down some pointers here.
Despite the fact that online Continuing Professional Education programs tend to be more affordable than in-person programs, they can easily need you to shell out a large amount of money in just one renewal cycle. This is because the costs of these programs vary widely depending on the sponsor and chosen courses.
Ideally, you should join a sponsor that offers a perfect blend of quality and affordability. While the quality of the course materials is somewhat common among popular sponsors of online CE for CPAs, their costs differ heavily. You join an expensive sponsor, and your costs may go up a few hundreds of dollars.
If you think that it’ll be a difficult and time-consuming task to pick the right sponsor, we’ve done the hard work for you. In the next block, we’ve compared six popular sponsors based on some key parameters to help you choose the right one.
It’s extremely important to join a sponsor with a team of highly experienced and qualified instructors. Since accountancy is a complex field by default, being able to learn from such instructors will help you absorb difficult topics more easily. Moreover, many popular sponsors have working CPAs in their teams, meaning you can learn the latest rules, regulations, and best practices in the industry.
You should choose a CPE online sponsor that offers course materials in different formats such as text and videos. This is because for one course, you may be able to learn the concepts by going through text-based materials but you may need to have video-based materials for more complex topics. The availability of multiple formats will help to ensure that you can fully internalize every topic, regardless of its complexity.
No matter how much reputable a sponsor you choose, you may never guarantee that everything will always go fine. Therefore, it’s always advisable to join a provider that offers a money-back guarantee. It’ll help to ensure that you’ll get your money back if something goes wrong. You should see which one among your shortlisted sponsors has a refund policy for a longer period of time.
In addition to these, you should check the number of courses on offer and how diverse topics they cover. It’s also important to see how long your chosen sponsor has been in this business. This is because with an experienced sponsor, the chances of going something wrong will be pretty less than that of a new sponsor.
As mentioned earlier, we’re going to compare six popular providers of CPA CPE online programs in this block. The key parameters we’ve used for this comparison are starting prices of courses, cost of subscription packages, and refund policy.
The prices of our online Continuing Education self-study courses start from $12.95. We also offer different subscription packages to cater to the varying needs of CPAs. Our 2-year and 1-year unlimited subscriptions cost $299.95 and $199.95, respectively. Using these subscriptions, you can access all our self-study courses, including self-study ethics courses and free webinars. We also have four additional subscription packages with varying credits and access periods. We offer a 100-day, 100% money-back guarantee on all our CPE online self-study courses.
Despite its large course catalog, Becker’s online Continuing Professional Education courses may seem to be pretty costly to many CPAs as its courses start from $29.00. It offers three subscriptions that cost $299.00 (duration 90 days), $399.00 (duration 1 year), and $699.00 (duration 1 year). Note that to access Becker’s entire course catalog, you’ve to choose its most expensive subscription package (all-access pass), which costs $699.00. To get a refund from Becker, you must raise the request within 10 business days from the date of purchasing the course.
Surgent’s courses tend to be more expensive than those offered by other online CPE sponsors. It offers two subscription packages. The first one is “unlimited plus package” that costs $799.00 and lets you access its entire course catalog for 1 year. The other one is “unlimited self-study package” that costs $499.00 and lets you access 250+ self-study courses (no webinars) for one year. To obtain a refund from Surgent, you’ve to raise the request within 10 days of placing your order.
With starting prices of the courses as low as $12.00 (0.5 credit hour), Illumeo has become a preferred option among many accountants looking to pursue online CE for CPAs. It offers three subscription packages. The first one is a free “individual trial” package that lets you see Illumeo’s quality of courses and improve your knowledge, but you won’t be able to earn any credits using this package. The second one is the “individual” package that costs $299.00 and lets you access its entire course library for one year. The last unlimited package is designed for enterprises and costs $279/person/year. In terms of refunds, you need to make the refund request within 30 days of purchasing the course. Note that if you enroll in five or more courses/webinars during the initial 30 days of purchasing, you won’t be eligible for a refund.
Lambers offers one unlimited CPE package that costs $699.95 (it was available for $499.95 at the time of writing this post) and lets you access its entire course library for one year. Lambers only refunds your purchase if you fail the course’s exam twice. And you must send the request to it within 30 days of receiving the second failure notice. You’ll also be charged a 25% administrative fee in case of any returns.
Lorman’s CPA CPE online courses may also seem to be pretty costly to many CPAs as the costs vary between $99.00 and $249.00. To reduce the cost, you can opt for its “all-access pass” that costs $699.00 and lets you access its whole course library for one year. It also offers one custom package for enterprises. If you’re pressed for time with a full-time job, it may take you some days to decide whether or not an online CPE program is right for you. Unfortunately, with Lorman, you only get 3 days to raise a refund request.
While we’ve tried our best to include the most authentic information about the offerings of each sponsor, you must check their individual sites before making any final decision.
Managing and tracking all your CPE credits isn’t an easy task, even if you earn them from a single CPE online sponsor. Therefore, you should follow a process right from the very beginning of pursuing CPE. Here’s a couple of effective tips you can follow to accomplish this goal.
As you’ve got many different online CPA CPE courses to choose from, it’s advisable to schedule the ones, which you want to take during a year, in advance. Your selection should be based on topics, costs, your learning style, and your CPE requirements. This will help you avoid any confusion when you’re in the middle of your CPE journey or approaching the reporting deadline.
To make the process easier, you can maintain a spreadsheet mentioning all the courses you plan to take. You can also use an online tracker to do so. If you want to go with a spreadsheet, remember to include all relevant details whenever you complete an online Continuing Education course and earn CPE credits.
The details should include the name of the course, the name of the sponsor, the number of credits you’ve earned, and its start and end date. You can also maintain a physical list, but in that case, you should simultaneously maintain an online copy of it. Even if the physical copy gets misplaced, the soft copy will come to your rescue.
Financial roadblocks experienced by businesses and individuals have become more complex with evolving times, and that’s also the key reason why CPAs are in high demand these days. However, to improve your skills and provide your clients with the best services, you need to stay on top of all the current rules, regulations, and trends in the industry. And CPE online programs give you the best opportunity to do so.
We hope this post has helped you gain valuable insights into the key aspects of online CE for CPAs. If you want to learn more about our course offerings, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.
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