Unlimited (Really) CPE For CPAs
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Are you a CPA worried about managing the huge cost of pursuing CPE? If your answer is a ‘YES’, you aren’t alone. A significant percentage of CPAs struggle to manage the total cost of CPE that they need to bear in a single licensing period.
But have you tried unlimited CPE for CPAs? If not, you should check it out right away.
To get the answer, you need to read this post till the end. As one of the leading sponsors of unlimited online CPE, we frequently receive several questions related to the high cost of CPE and how to lower it. Rather than answering those questions individually, we’ve compiled all of them in this post to make it a comprehensive handbook of unlimited CPE for CPAs subscriptions.
So, let’s get started!
The exact number of CPE credits you’ll need to earn to keep your license active depends on the CPE requirements of your state accountancy board. However, generally, CPAs need to earn 120 CPE credits every 3-year period.
The total cost for renewing your license can be broken down into three parts: license renewal fees, the cost of earning CPE credits, and CPA membership fees. Let’s see how each of these contributes to the total cost.
These are the fees you’ll need to pay to your state accountancy board during the license renewal process. These fees vary from one state board to another, and hence, you need to check your board’s website to get a clear idea of them.
This is undeniably the area with the maximum cost burden. Earning 120 CPE credits every 3-year period doesn’t come cheap. And if you choose a pricier method to earn credits, the cost may become exorbitantly high.
You already know that these days, the most popular methods to earn CPE credits are self-study courses, webinars, and virtual conferences/seminars. Among all these methods, conferences/seminars are the costliest options, while self-study courses belong to the most cost-effective methods.
However, even though self-study courses come relatively cheaper, you may need to pay thousands of dollars in a single renewal cycle if you buy them individually. And that’s exactly where the importance of online unlimited CPE for CPAs comes into the picture.
Choosing unlimited CPE for CPAs will let you earn unlimited CPE credits within a specific period of time, depending on your chosen unlimited program and sponsor. By paying a few hundred dollars at once, you’ll be able to unlock the opportunities to plan your CPE during that period of time.
Whether you want to take CPE courses to meet your CPE requirements or to expand your skills in a particular topic, you’ll be able to do it all. Most importantly, sponsors of unlimited CPE for CPA subscriptions often let users access their entire course library. It means you can take both cheaper and pricier courses using your CPE subscriptions for CPA.
Therefore, by opting for unlimited online CPE, you won’t even need to think about exceeding your budget. All you need to do is focus on your study according to your requirements and preferences.
You’ve certainly heard that many large organizations and accounting firms place special importance on AICPA membership. Though it isn’t mandatory, having the AICPA membership not only acts as proof of your expertise but also lets you enjoy many member-only benefits offered by the AICPA.
The cost of this membership varies depending on several factors. For instance, if you’re an internal auditor in business/industry, you’d need to pay $295 (2021-22) to maintain a regular membership. On the contrary, if you’re a sole practitioner, the membership fee becomes $485. You can check out this page to learn more about the AICPA membership fees.
As you can see, the only area where you can lower the cost is the cost of earning CPE credits. And this is the biggest reason why a huge number of accountants choose unlimited CPE for CPAs.
Hopefully, we’ve been able to help you understand the real value of online unlimited CPE for CPAs. Now, the question is, which sponsor should you choose to buy unlimited CPE for CPA subscriptions?
Here, we’ve reviewed seven of the most popular options for unlimited CPE for CPAs available these days. Just take a look at the following, and you’ll be able to make up your mind.
At CPEthink.com, we offer two unlimited CPE for CPAs subscriptions. The costs for 1-year and 2-year packages are $199.95 and $299.95 respectively. Both the packages let you access all our self-study courses, including ethics courses and free webinars. You’ll also get unlimited attempts to clear the final exams.
We’ve developed a large course library, and the courses are available in downloadable PDF versions. It means once downloaded, you may no longer need an Internet connection to go through the study materials.
Becker offers three unlimited CPE for CPAs subscriptions that let you earn unlimited credits. The number of courses you can access depends on your chosen subscription plan. If you choose the highest plan (All-Access Pass), you can access its entire course library.
The duration of the top two subscriptions is one year, while the third one comes with 90-day validity. The costs are $699 (All-Access Pass), $399 (Select), and $299 (Essentials). At the time of writing this post, Becker was offering the ‘All-Access Pass’ at a discounted price of $454.35.
illumeo has two unlimited online CPE subscriptions on offer: Individual and Enterprise. Both of these packages come with a 1-year duration and let you access illumeo’s on-demand course library and live webinars.
However, none of these plans includes ‘premium courses,’ and the maximum number of live webinars is restricted to 100 per year. The prices of the ‘Individual’ and ‘Enterprise’ plans are $299 and $279 per person respectively.
Lambers offers one unlimited CPE for CPAs subscription that lets you access its entire course catalog for one year. While there’s no webinar, it offers video and self-study courses. The regular price of the subscription is $699.95, but at the time of this writing, it was available at $499.95.
The price of the online unlimited CPE for CPAs subscription offered by Sequoia CPE is relatively low ($149 per year). But you’ll only be able to access its non-ethics courses. It means you’ll have to buy ethics courses separately, which will eventually increase the total cost to a good extent.
Lorman offers a 1-year unlimited online CPE subscription ($699) that lets you access its large course library that consists of thousands of courses. It also has a 24-month unlimited CPE and an Enterprise Level Unlimited CPE package that’s ideal for law firms. You need to contact the team to learn about the prices of these two packages.
American CPE has two unlimited CPE for CPAs subscriptions on offer. The price of the 1-year package is $169, while the 2-year package comes at $278. However, you’ll only be able to access the self-study courses and no live webinars, meaning you’ll need to pay for live webinars separately.
Many CPAs, who opt for unlimited CPE for CPAs, fail to meet their CPE requirements on time. The most common reason behind this is that they only focus on the total number of credits required to fulfill the requirements. However, the truth is, most state boards often specify several other limitations overlooking which typically leads to a waste of time and effort.
While each state board of accountancy has its own regulations, these usually fall under the following categories.
Typically, state boards require CPAs to earn a minimum number of CPE credits in technical fields of study. For instance, if there’s a provision for a minimum number of credits to be earned in accounting and auditing subjects, it’s a must to take courses that fall under these categories. If you earn credits in other technical fields of study like tax or finance, you cannot use them to meet your accounting and auditing credit requirements.
Every state board requires CPAs to earn a minimum number of credits in ethics. Some states only consider ethics courses that are approved by that state’s board of accountancy. If you don’t take these state-approved courses, your credits won’t get counted toward fulfilling your ethics requirements.
There’re also some variances between state boards in terms of meeting ethics requirements. These generally include differences in the number of credits, whether you must earn them either annually or biennially, and if they can be carried forward.
Most state boards have established limitations on the maximum number of CPE credits that their CPAs can earn in non-technical fields of study. If you earn more credits than the specified limit, you cannot use the additional ones to meet your CPE requirements.
In addition to these, many CPAs sometimes don’t receive any credits at all even after taking a self-study course or attending a live webinar.
When it comes to self-study courses, you must pass the final exam to earn credits. In terms of webinars, it’s a must to be present for a specific period of time and answer a certain number of polling questions to earn credits.
Initially, it may seem like enrolling in unlimited CPE for CPAs, taking the courses, and reporting the credits is a simple task. But without properly knowing the number of credits you’ve already earned and how many you still need to earn to meet the requirements, your entire CPE plan can get jeopardized.
It’s not rare for CPAs to get notifications mentioning that the credits for a course that they’ve taken are invalid. However, it’s quite understandable if you find it difficult to manage your CPE credits, especially when there’re so many important things involved in pursuing CPE.
Let’s see two simple yet highly effective strategies to prevent this issue.
Make it a habit to take a detailed look at the credits you’ve already earned at least quarterly. That way, even if you identify any discrepancies, you’ll have enough time to rectify them.
Effective management of your CPE credits heavily depends on how well you can keep track of them. While some sponsors of unlimited CPE for CPAs subscriptions offer something like a CPE tracker, we don’t think it’s an absolute necessity if you manage the credits diligently.
You can keep track of the credits either manually or digitally. If you want to do it manually, be sure to maintain a designated place to keep all your course-related documents.
You can maintain a spreadsheet containing the details of the courses if you want to do it digitally. You can also scan the documents and store the copies in the cloud.
Whatever method you choose, always remember to note down a few important details about the courses. These include the name of the course, the name of its sponsor, the duration of the course, and the number of credits you’ve earned from it.
Apart from these, other common mistakes that can trigger problems include taking courses from a sponsor that isn’t approved by your state board or choosing a course that doesn’t reflect an approved topic.
Therefore, be sure to check the NASBA Registry of CPE Sponsors before joining a sponsor. If you’re unsure of whether or not a particular course falls under an approved topic, you can contact your state board to have it clarified. However, if you choose a reputable sponsor of online unlimited CPE for CPAs, it shouldn’t be an issue as you’ll get to see all the details of a course before taking it.
CPE is lifelong learning that enables CPAs to enhance their professional expertise and maintain the overall standard of the accounting profession. Therefore, instead of considering CPE as a burden, you should start viewing it as an opportunity. And as long as you choose unlimited CPE for CPAs, you’ll be able to comfortably stay well within your budget.
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