Posted by Bianca De Rose on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 11:30
Do you like to get your education in a social setting or in solitude? The new standards for continuing professional education (CPE) allow either option. Whether you prefer learning by reading books, attending conferences, taking college courses or joining webinars with your laptop, there are so many ways to get your CPE requirements.
For a CPA, getting CPE credits is a way to keep up with your career growth in this ever-changing profession. It encourages you to stay active in the financial community and keep up with new developments in the industry. CPE credits are also required for meeting your state board of accountancy’s requirements for CPA license renewal.
You may be trying to boost your marketability as a job candidate, or you may need to accumulate a few more credits (each credit represents 50 minutes) to meet your yearly CPE requirements. Either way, consider yourself lucky to have the excuse to continue your education.
Where is the best place to start your quest for training? How do you know if the courses are credible? What kinds of classes are offered? Here’s some information to answer those questions and help you fulfill your CPE requirements.
Where to find CPE credits
The best place to start searching for CPE credits near you is the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). With filters including subject area, date and credit hours, the search tool provides a comprehensive list of courses, including CPE finance training.
CPE credits are available through a variety of organizations, including recruitment and financial companies, educational institutions and industry associations. Whether you prefer on-site learning or online webcasts, there are numerous ways to earn CPE finance credits:
- Breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings
- College and university instruction
- Peer review
- Personal development
- Published materials
- Self study
- Podcasts and webcasts
Check for CPE acceptance
CPE requirements set by state boards of accountancy vary widely, so check with yours before beginning any CPE courses to verify they will accept the credits. Not all states accept online courses, which are classified as “self study” by NASBA, and many states limit the number of online credits you can earn.
NASBA assists state boards and CPAs in making sure CPE credits are from reputable sources by providing quality assurance and lists of approved providers. When evaluating a CPE source, remember that a qualified source should be able to provide:
- A certificate of attendance/completion
- Organization/sponsor name and contact information
- Detailed agenda
- Background information on presenter(s)
One note of caution: A quick Google search for “free CPE credits” returns thousands of results — some from quality agencies and educational institutions, and others from more questionable sources. When choosing free CPE credits, be sure to check for NASBA approval and verify acceptance with your state boards.
Continuing with your education
The best financial staffing firms understand the importance of offering quality CPE credits delivered in convenient ways. Robert Half, for example, offers more than 8,000 courses and online reference materials to its registered financial professionals in a variety of subject areas, including accounting, computer science, ethics, finance, statistics and taxes.
Included in our online CPE database are more than 500 free CPE credits, which are also available to the registered financial professionals. Courses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can find time to fit your CPEs into your busy schedule.
Some of the topics include:
- SAP, Oracle and other leading ERM systems
- Financial Statements and Analysis
- Overview of Management Accounting
- Management of Cash Flows
- Credibility and Disclosure in an Annual Report
- Managerial Decisions and Capital Budgeting
- Project Cost Estimating and Budgeting
Consider yourself lucky to have such a variety of ways to access relevant information that you can apply to your career. As you continue to meet your ongoing requirements as a CPA, you can choose to specialize in a particular area and, at the very least, broaden your professional expertise.
Ready to get started? Learn more about Robert Half's Continuing Professional Education.