What is CPE in accounting?

professionals sit in a conference room

You’ve passed your licensing exam, completed your experience requirement and earned the prestigious three letters after your name. Now what? Once you’re officially licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA), the hard work is far from over. You will still need to complete a specified number of continuing professional education (CPE) credits in order to remain licensed. 

CPE is a requirement for licensed CPAs and CMAs, but should be considered by all unlicensed tax preparers and accounting professionals. The truth is, to be more valuable to your firm or organization, you need to continue to stay up to date with accounting industry rules, trends and policies, as well as skills key to professional development. Accountants can keep up with relevant industry changes and important career development information with CPE opportunities. 

CPE meaning

What is CPE exactly? CPE stands for Continuing Professional Education. Continuing professional education, or continuing professional development, is the means by which professionals maintain and develop the qualities required in their working lives. Many professionals require CPE in some form, including engineers, pilots, lawyers, therapists and teachers. This ensures that they do not stop learning once earning their professional certification or licensure - continuing professional education maintains the skills required to do their jobs properly.

What is CPE in accounting?

What is CPE’s purpose in the accounting field? CPE ensures that CPAs, CMAs and other accounting professionals maintain their professionalism, competency and expertise. CPE opportunities educate accountants on skills and knowledge that is necessary in order to effectively complete their jobs. The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) both publish CPE requirements for CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) publishes CPE requirements for licensed CMAs. Accounting professionals earn a designated number of CPE credits for each course, webcast or certification that they attend - the number of credits required per year are determined at a state level.

What are CPE credits? 

CPE credits are required in order for CPAs, CMAs and other accounting professionals to maintain professional licensure and stay up-to-date on accounting best practices. You receive one CPE credit for every 50 minutes of coursework. The number of required hours of CPE credit for accountants is dependent upon where you’re licensed to practice accounting. These requirements vary, so be sure to understand the CPE requirements set by the state in which you’re licensed.

There are many ways to meet your CPE requirement, including online and in-person courses, webcasts, conferences and events. The best ways to earn CPE credits are totally dependent on your learning style and schedule. 

Ways to earn CPE credits

The best online CPE courses are those that have detailed, in-depth content and a flexible format. Look no further! For more than 60 years, Becker has been the leader accountants trust to help them stay current with the latest industry content. We have flexible learning formats that fit your lifestyle and preferred way to learn, including on-demand CPE courses, webcasts and certificates.

CPE courses

Becker’s CPE courses feature a constantly growing catalog of trending topics with flexible learning formats. Our online courses are designed to ensure that you’re always in-the-know, taking a deep dive into the latest topics, covering updates for A&A, state and federal tax and entity tax issues, along with in-depth reviews of the latest GASB and PCAOB standards, Yellow Book, ethics and more.

Webcasts offer CPE credits in an online format with a live instructor. Becker has a large library of webcasts and offers a consistent webcast schedule with four webcasts every weekday plus weekend options.

CPE certification programs allow accountants to earn required CPE credits and give resumes a boost. Program topics can vary from tax policy to ethics. Becker offers unique certificate programs, including Microsoft Excel Fundamentals + Data Analytics and Individual Tax Consulting and Return Preparation

Conferences and events

Conferences and events offer opportunities to earn CPE credits and networking with other accounting professionals. Conferences generally offer enough CPE credits to meet your annual state requirement, but they obviously require a bigger time investment.

Ready to start working on your CPE credit requirement for this time period? Browse the Becker CPE course catalog or try a Becker CPE course and receive CPE credit for free.

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