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In general, CPAs with an active license need to earn 120 CPE credits every three years. At first glance, the process is quite straightforward: you choose the CPE sponsor(s), select the method of study, complete the programs, and you’re done.
But what about the activities you need to carry out after earning the credits? You’re right. We’re talking about tracking and managing your CPE credits. CPAs typically take many different courses to meet their CPE requirements and expand their knowledge.
Moreover, CPE requirements often undergo changes that you must comply with to keep your license active. In the accounting field, you can earn different certifications to expand your knowledge and strengthen your position in the industry.
However, when it comes to your CPE requirements, some of your additional certifications may change them slightly. If that happens, it’s a must to plan your CPE accordingly, meaning you’ll have to take time and decide how to adhere to the changed requirements.
As a result, the entire process gets even more complicated. Tracking and managing credits earned from a number of courses is indeed a difficult, time-consuming task, but a CPE tracker can help you do this easily. If you want to learn about CPE tracker systems in detail, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll discuss all the essentials of online CPE trackers, right from the basics to the best solution you can use with them.
Let’s clear a couple of fundamental concepts first!
As the name implies, a CPE tracker is an online tool that you can use to maintain a detailed record of all your CPE credits earned during a particular period. With the right solution used in conjunction with an online CPE tracker, you should be able to generate and view a complete report at any time. Depending on the software, you may also print the report to maintain its hard copy.
Tracking CPE credits and reporting them at the appropriate time is a challenge known to every CPA. You need to earn CPE credits throughout your CPA career and maintain every detail so that you can prove that you’ve met your CPE requirements on time.
A CPE tracker makes this complex process a breeze by addressing two major factors.
· It lets you closely monitor CPE activities
No matter if you need to report the credits annually, biennially, or triennially, you’ll have to take lots of different courses from a number of sponsors to earn them. And when the number of courses goes up, the process gets even more complicated.
One of the major problems frequently faced by CPAs is that they fail to keep track of the number of credits they’ve already earned during a reporting cycle and how many are left to meet the requirements. And every CPA knows that non-compliance with CPE requirements not only creates unnecessary stress but it obstructs their professional growth as well.
In this situation, a CPE tracker, such as the NASBA CPE tracker (also known as the AICPA CPE tracker), acts as a centralized database of your CPE credits. You can get a complete understanding of your CPE status within minutes by signing in to your account. However, you’ll need to use the right system with the NASBA CPE tracker to get the most of it (we’ll come to it shortly).
· It gives you a centralized solution to manage credits earned in different ways
Thanks to technological developments, today, a large number of options are available to earn CPE credits. From in-person programs, self-study courses, and college courses to webinars, conferences, and more – you have many options to choose from according to your preferences and learning style.
However, the thing is that the methods through which you receive credits from these options vary significantly. For instance, if you take self-study courses, you’ll get the certificates of completion in your inbox almost instantly after passing the exams. But if you attend webinars or conferences, it may take weeks to receive the “proof of attendance,” and the ways vary from one host to another.
Fortunately, a good CPE tracker system like the AICPA CPE tracker streamlines the entire process and keeps track of all your CPE credits earned from different sources. Regardless of the number of sources, the NASBA CPE tracker tracks all your credits efficiently.
Even today, many CPAs prefer to track CPE manually. Of course, there’s no harm in doing so except running the risk of jeopardizing the CPE. Here’re a couple of reasons why we strongly advise using a CPE tracker.
· It eliminates the chances of misplacing the certificates
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of using an online CPE tracker. Imagine you manage your CPE credits manually, using a piece of paper to maintain the details. You also keep all your certificates of completion in a designated folder. But what will you do if you cannot find that folder on the day you need to report your CPE?
It’s also important to mention here that your CPE sponsor isn’t responsible for reporting your CPE. Instead, the entire responsibility is on you to report your CPE on time. If you fail to do it, several ramifications will await you.
On the contrary, when you use the AICPA CPE tracker, for example, all your CPE details get stored in the cloud. They’re always available and free from the risk of getting lost or misplaced. Whenever required, you can refer back to the details.
· It lets you maintain a virtual running list
When it comes to maintaining the details of CPE credits, you must note down some essential pieces of information. These include the name of the program, the name of the sponsor, the number of credits you’ve earned from the program, and the duration of the program (including start and end date).
Initially, it may not seem to be a difficult task to note down such a small number of details. However, as you keep on taking courses and earn more and more credits, it won’t be easy anymore. And if you inadvertently fail to write down any of these details for a particular course/program, it’ll be quite difficult and time-consuming to gather them at a later date.
However, using an online CPE tracker is like maintaining a virtual running list. Whenever you complete a course or attend a program and receive the credits, you only need to sign in to your account and enter the details on the CPE tracker system. And it’ll take just a couple of minutes to store the details on such a system.
It’s quite normal if you think, “why should I opt for a CPE tracker instead of maintaining an Excel file?” You can always maintain an Excel file and enter all the details that you’d with a piece of paper. You can also use “Google Sheets” or email the Excel file to another account to store a copy in the cloud.
Despite all the advantages, it won’t serve the purposes of a CPE tracker system. This is because an online CPE tracker is designed to meet the specific needs of CPAs and appears with all the features required to track your CPE progress in terms of the CPE requirements of your state accountancy board.
On the other hand, with MS Excel, there’re no built-in features related to CPE. Though you can perform lots of calculations using Excel, you’ll have to carry out everything manually. And most importantly, using MS Excel on such a level requires good expertise, which’s a time-consuming and difficult thing to acquire.
If you’ve been reading this post thoroughly, you may have noticed that we repeatedly mentioned the importance of using an advanced solution in conjunction with the NASBA CPE tracker. However, before getting into the details of our solution, let’s try to understand the risks that may appear when you only use an online CPE tracker.
· An average system may lack important features
A lack of a sufficient number of fields to store all the pieces of essential information is one of the common problems when it comes to an average CPE tracker. Moreover, many of these systems may not be able to support complicated credit calculations. Most importantly, if you use the AICPA CPE tracker only, the details aren’t easily reportable to the governing bodies or accountancy organizations, such as your state accountancy board.
· It may take more time to report your credits
As long as you don’t report the CPE credits to the relevant accountancy authorities, your CPE requirements for the renewal cycle remain incomplete. An average online CPE tracker may lack the ability to facilitate the process efficiently and quickly.
Because of the reasons mentioned above, it’s strongly advisable to use a leading solution like the one available with CPEThink.com together with the NASBA CPE tracker. This’ll get you the following benefits:
· CPEThink.com solution generates an Excel spreadsheet
By integrating our solution with the AICPA CPE tracker, you can generate a CPE tracker Excel spreadsheet containing all your CPE details within seconds. Once the file is generated, you can use it to carry out many different CPE-related things.
From performing credit calculations and storing additional data to printing the file, and a lot more – you can use our CPE tracker Excel file for almost any purposes. And the best thing is that you can upload the file to the AICPA CPE tracker directly. There’s no need to enter all the detail separately.
· You can use the tracker from NASBA separately
Being an advanced, comprehensive solution, our platform will let you use the CPE tracker from AICPA as a standalone tool to track CPE progress to meet the CPE requirements of your state board. Our solution is designed to record the differing needs of CPAs, whether you use the tracker to meet AICPA CPE requirements or as an independent CPE tracker to monitor CPE credits.
As you can see, the solution from the CPEThink.com platform lets you completely eliminate the hassles of managing your CPE credits on paper. Instead, it gives you an advanced, fully systematic method to track and manage your CPE confidently when you use an online CPE tracker.
Here’re the brief details of a couple of its key features.
· It works for every state
Regardless of the state you’re licensed in, you can use our solution to see and monitor how you’ve progressed in meeting your CPE requirements. Being an online product, it can be used anytime from anywhere using an Internet connection. Once you enter your details into the NASBA CPE tracker, the system starts monitoring things like reporting period, renewal cycle, required CPE credits, and much more. And our platform lets you generate a comprehensive Excel file within seconds to help you stay on top of them.
· It lets you add details from other sponsors
Apart from the courses and/or webinars you take from CPEThink.com, you can conveniently add the details of CPE programs completed from other sponsors to our solution. This helps you get a complete picture of where exactly you are in your CPE journey for a given period of time.
In today’s hectic professional landscape, the CPEThink.com platform is your best option to ensure you never fail to keep track of your CPE progress, reporting deadlines, and other relevant details. If you aren’t presently using a CPE tracker system, you may want to check out the AICPA CPE tracker and see all the features by yourself.
As with all our other products, we’re confident that our solution for the online CPE tracker from NASBA will be your best companion in your CPE journey. Whether you use it together with the NASBA CPE tracker or as an individual tracker, it has got all the features to give you the best CPE experience.
If you want to learn more about how our solution works, reach out to one of our customer support executives today, and we’ll be glad to answer your questions.
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