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Online CPE Opportunities for Accountants

written by: Meg C.•edited by: Sylvia Cochran•updated: 9/30/2009

Online CPE for accountants makes life a lot easier. Busy CPAs can make sure they keep up with their licensing requirements from the comfort of their very own office or home. There's a wide variety of options available, ranging from webinars to online coursework.

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    CPE for Accountants: An Overview

    A CPA must complete a certain amount of CPE (Continuing Professional Education) units each year. Keeping up with annual CPE is an integral part of continued success in the profession. Continuing educational opportunities ensure that accountants stay abreast in current developments and brush up their skills. A properly planned CPE program helps a tired accountant from falling into a career or professional rut.

    Traditionally, classes for accountants were available in live seminar and mail order format only. Now there are a wide variety of opportunities for online CPEs. Online venues allow busy accountants to complete their annual training requirements in the comforts of their own offices or homes.

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    Online CPE for Accountants: Webinars

    Webinars are online seminars. Webinars allow professionals to interact with each other. A webinar is delivered over the Internet, and participants must log on to the webinar at the same time. Like live seminars, instructors lecture to participants in webinars. One of the benefits of participating in an online CPE webinar is that accountants are able to interact with their peers and cut down on travel to seminars. Some webinars are as short as one hour, which allows busy CPAs to complete these online CPE opportunities during their lunch hour or during a short break.

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    Online CPE for Accountants: Online College Courses

    Most states allow college coursework to count towards annual CPE requirements. In order to qualify, coursework typically has to be in the area of accounting, tax rules, law, or another business related subject. 15 hours for every semester hour are usually allowed, meaning a single 3-hour course can log up to 45 hours of CPE. Before a CPA assumes that his/her State Board will accept college credit, s/he should double check the state's accountancy laws.

    Many online accounting classes are offered each and every day. Hundreds of regionally accredited institutions have accounting courses that students can complete. A CPA can enroll in these online accounting classes to further their education and earn credit towards their annual CPE requirements.

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    Online CPE for Accountants: Online CPE Courses

    A variety of online CPE courses for accountants are available through a number of providers, such as the AICPA (American Institute for Certified Public Accountants), or Bisk. Course offerings are organized in the following categories: accounting and auditing, business ethics, management, regulatory ethics, taxation, and related subjects. When you browse an online menu of online courses, read the course descriptions to see how many hours of CPE a particular course awards. Most courses will award 4-8 hours.

    An online course usually includes some reading material, an audio presentation, study questions, and a quiz. Successful completion of a quiz is required in order to obtain credit. In the past, the only type of CPE courses that weren't live seminars were in the form of workbooks with a test you mailed in to be graded. Now the entire course can be completed online. Accountants should check with NASBA to ensure that the course provider meets quality standards. If a CPE provider does not meet quality standards, the credit earned may not count towards annual education requirements for accountants.

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    Sources

    • CPE Training Solutions, Thomson Reuters: http://www.trainingcpe.thomson.com/cpebrands/webinar.asp
    • North Carolina Accountancy Laws - CPE: http://www.nccpaboard.gov/clients/ncboa/public/static/subchapter8g.htm
    • NASBA CPE Certification: http://www.nasbatools.com/display_page?id=6
    • Bisk Education: http://www.cpeasy.com/Home.aspx
    • AICPA: http://www.cpa2biz.com/search/results.jsp?N=4294967148+4294966629