Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for Accountants

You worked your tail off in college to earn your accounting degree and then studied like a mad person to pass all four sections of the CPA exam, you’re done with the education part right? Wrong.

As accountants and finance professionals, it’s our obligation to keep up with the ever changing tax and financial reporting landscape. Each year, new rules and regulations come out that greatly impact the way we do our jobs. Depending on which state you live in, you can expect to be required to obtain about 40 hours of continuing professional education each year for your CPA license. Most states also require you to obtain 2 of those hours in ethics related courses.

So how can you find the time to keep learning while also meeting the high demands of a career in accounting? All too often, CPAs wait until their deadline dates and try to cram in a bunch of continuing education hours at once. This is not a good habit because by the end, you usually just take whatever CPE is available. You are less focused on choosing continuing education that is of interest to you and your career.

Utilizing great resources is key to staying on top of the accounting industry and finding great CPE. A great way to be aware of the changes and proposed changes to financial reporting is to take 15 minutes each week to review the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) website at: www.fasb.org  There, you will have access to all of the current financial reporting standards in the FASB Codification as well as the “Projects” which discuss plans to implement new financial reporting changes. Most of the projects take years to fully implement but reading about the status and feedback from the industry along the way will keep you informed and up-to-date. For staying on top of your continuing education, Encoursa.com is an excellent free resource that enables you to track your CPE hours, upload course support, and search through a database of thousands of great courses based on your criteria. I highly recommend giving it a try to all of my CPA colleagues.

After you get that degree and CPA license, the learning isn’t over. Really, it’s just beginning. A little bit of planning, dedication, and help from great resources like Encoursa will take the stress out of continuing education and let you embrace it as you advance in your career.