QAS Self-Study CPE For CPAs
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The QAS (Quality Assurance Service) program was started by NASBA in the late 1990s exclusively for self-study CPE sponsors. Although the QAS program was similar to NASBA’s Registry program, it came with additional development and implementation requirements for the providers.
As a CPA, you’re required to earn a certain number of CPE credits to keep your license active. While there are several live options available these days to help you accomplish this, QAS CPA courses have some unparalleled benefits because of which they’ve become the top choice among CPAs.
As one of the leading QAS CPE providers, we at CPEThink.com frequently receive emails regarding different aspects of QAS CPE. Instead of replying to each of those emails individually, we decided to create this guide, jotting down all the vital aspects of QAS CPA courses.
We hope this guide will act as your most valuable handbook throughout your QAS CPA journey.
Let’s get started!
The National Registry of CPE Sponsors is one of the different services offered by NASBA. This registry maintains a list of CPE program providers that offer CPE programs according to nationally recognized standards.
The CPE providers listed in this registry get the status of NASBA-approved CPE providers. When it comes to fulfilling CPE requirements, a large number of state boards of accountancy require that their CPAs only complete programs from sponsors listed in this registry.
So, if you’re licensed in one of those states, make sure that the name of your QAS CPE sponsor is listed in the National Registry. Or else your CPE credits may not be recognized by your state board of accountancy.
Now, you may think, why do state boards place such importance on QAS CPE providers? The reason is that sponsors of CPE QAS programs need to follow a strict process to get their names listed on the registry, as well as to maintain that.
Let’s see how it works.
· Joining the registry
First, a sponsor has to submit an interest form mentioning that it wants to provide QAS CPA courses. Then, it needs to submit an application together with a number of supporting documents.
Here’re the details of these documents.
o Program list
o Program content development
o Program materials
o Administrative policies
o Biographies of instructors and reviewers
o Evaluation form
o Certificate of completion
o Promotional materials
In addition to these, the National Registry website prioritizes that prospective providers must be knowledgeable about the statement that outlines the requirement framework pertaining to all CPE programs.
· Maintaining the place on the registry
QAS-approved CPE sponsors have to go through a continuous process to maintain their place on the registry. They need to renew their membership each year.
If a sponsor fails to renew its membership by the due date, it needs to pay a hefty penalty. Based on some particular circumstances, a provider may even go inactive. To reactivate the membership, it needs to pay an additional fee and submit a reinstatement application.
The process doesn’t end here. Compliance audits are randomly carried out by the National Registry on the registered sponsors of QAS CPA courses. The objective of this audit is to ensure that the provider is adhering to the standards.
If the audit finds that a QAS CPE sponsor is failing to meet the standards, it may cause its name to be removed from the registry.
Despite the emergence of various live CPE options, QAS CPA courses have been able to maintain their popularity. To understand the reason, we need to compare their pros and cons.
Before delving deeper into the comparison, it’s important to note that both are offered online and designed to help you meet your CPE requirements on time. The key difference lies in their delivery methods.
Let’s start with QAS CPA programs.
As you already know, you can access and navigate QAS CPA courses at your own pace from anywhere. This means you’re free to set your goals and invest your time in improving the knowledge and skills that are most important to you.
Here’re the pros of QAS-approved CPE programs.
Whether it’s late at night, early in the morning, or on the weekend, you can study whenever you want. There’ll be no scheduled time to tune into when you take QAS CPA courses.
· Self-paced study schedule
Another major benefit of pursuing QAS CPE is that you don’t need to think about keeping pace with fellow participants. If you want, you can review a particular topic as many times as you want to internalize the concepts.
· Printed copies of study materials
Some leading QAS CPE providers offer study materials in downloadable PDF versions. If you prefer to learn from hard copies, you only need to print the materials out to do so.
Here’re the cons of QAS CPA programs.
· Self-discipline is the most important thing
When you need to manage several other things along with taking QAS CPA courses, it can really be a difficult task to complete them, clear the exams, and earn your credits on time. This is one of the biggest reasons a huge number of CPAs choose live options over self-study courses.
You should understand that self-study courses may be as difficult as traditional CPE courses. Don’t allow the word “self-study” to fool you. Therefore, you must ensure that you’re fully prepared to invest the amount of work and dedication required to meet your requirements with them.
· They come with a specific amount of time
All CPE QAS programs have a specific amount of time within which they must be completed. For instance, according to NASBA’s standard, you must complete a QAS CPA course within one year from the date of purchase. This means if you don’t complete the courses within a reasonable time frame, it may trigger unnecessary stress at the eleventh hour.
Additionally, the absence of a live instructor often translates into the absence of timely feedback. Therefore, it may be difficult to figure out whether or not you’re progressing in the right direction.
However, if you join one of the top-tier QAS CPE providers, you may be able to reach out to the course authors and have your questions answered by them. While it won’t be instant, it’ll surely help you stay on track.
Now see what live CPE options entail.
Live CPE programs are commonly offered using webinars or webcasts. As a participant, you need to log in at the pre-specified time, fulfill the formal requirements, and you’re good to earn the credits.
The pros of live CPE options include:
· Availability of the latest information
With a live program, you can learn the most current information. QAS CPA courses will take a little longer to get that information to you due to the process.
· Interactive sessions
If you attend webinars, you need to interact with the presenter before, during, and after the sessions. So, if you have any queries, you can have them clarified almost immediately.
The cons of live CPE options include:
· Very limited flexibility
When you attend a live CPE program, you have to finish the coursework within a specified amount of time. Even if you want, you won’t be able to review a topic many times as you’ll need to keep pace with the class.
Another thing is that if you miss a live webinar for whatever reason, not only will you miss the information, but you’ll also miss the credits as well. If you don’t fulfill the formal requirements to prove your active participation, you’ll miss the credits.
· More expensive than QAS CPA courses
In almost all circumstances, live CPE options tend to be pricier than CPE QAS programs. If you’re cost-conscious and self-disciplined, self-study courses should be the right fit for you.
· Lack of control over study
With QAS CPE programs, you get complete control over how to schedule your study routine and how to complete the study materials without any reliance on any third party.
But with live CPE options, there comes a possibility of technical glitches. Although most sponsors of live programs use good, user-friendly platforms to host sessions, this possibility cannot be completely eliminated.
If you cannot attend a live program properly and fail to understand the topics and earn the credits, both your time and money get wasted.
As the above blocks signify, both live CPE options and QAS CPA courses come with their own advantages and disadvantages. However, in our nearly two decades of experience in serving as a top-tier QAS CPA sponsor, we’ve been seeing that CPAs often tend to choose the latter over the former.
Do you find it hard to choose the right QAS CPA courses among a huge number of available programs? If yes, the following tips may prove to be helpful for you.
· Perform sufficient research
As there’s a massive number of CPE QAS courses are available, you’ll have to ensure that you take the ones that’ll help meet your professional requirements and personal preferences. If you don’t have any idea about which courses you should take to speed up your professional growth, talking to a mentor or senior in the industry may be a good decision.
This should help you understand industry trends more clearly and set your goals accordingly. If your goal is to reach a senior position in your existing organization, you may want to talk to someone in the management to understand which direction the company is planning to take.
Additionally, you should always stay up-to-date with the latest trends and happenings in the accounting industry. From reading industry publications and networking with other CPAs to watching talks from industry leaders, there are several ways to do this.
· Read customer reviews
Even if you see that a particular QAS CPA program has garnered good popularity, it’s always advisable to read its reviews before buying it. This is because requirements and learning styles vary from one CPA to another. So, a particular course, which works great for others, may not provide much value to you.
By going through reviews from past takers, you should get a clear picture of the course’s objectives and who’s its ideal audience.
· Don’t necessarily choose the cheapest option
Perhaps you already know that when a particular topic becomes trending, many QAS CPE providers start to offer courses encompassing it. What you need to understand here is not all CPE sponsors offer the same level of services.
If you thoroughly compare the course content of a particular program from both a reputed QAS CPA sponsor and a new provider, you’ll often find some notable differences. So, be sure to compare all the features before purchasing a course. There’s no guarantee that the cheapest course will always be the best one.
· Go for an annual plan
While not all QAS CPE providers offer annual or unlimited plans, some leading ones like CPEThink.com do. These plans get you significant discounts when you commit to one or two years of service.
Under these plans, you may access all of the QAS CPA courses offered by the sponsor and earn a virtually unlimited number of credits. So, if you want to fulfill your CPE requirements in the most cost-effective manner possible, one of these plans should be the best option for you.
· Choose courses based on your future career plans
QAS-approved CPE courses bring you endless possibilities in terms of expanding your knowledge and skills. While it’s important to consider your present professional requirements, you should also take your future plans into account when choosing the courses.
For example, if you plan to establish your own accounting firm down the road, taking QAS CPA courses on leadership skills or human resources may prove to be beneficial for you.
Some CPAs make the mistake of considering CPE a necessary evil, which they must do but don’t want to do. Instead of doing this, you must take CPE very seriously. Studying while maintaining a hectic schedule is perhaps the biggest reason for which many CPAs dislike CPE.
However, with QAS CPA courses, you can eliminate that problem completely and gain full control over your CPE. If you want to learn more about our QAS CPE programs, speak to one of our team members today!
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