Almost Shipwrecked by CPE

By Dave Burt, CPA -
A few years ago I was scrambling for CPE. My license renewal was approaching faster than I could read. I was taking courses, one here, one there, that while they cost me more, I could grade them on-line and print out the certificates. I felt like a sailor with a girl in every port. Only, the girl was a different CPE provider and I didn’t know who that was tattoo on my arm! I finally had to renew inactive status for several months until I got enough credit under my belt.
And, because of all that jumping around, I had a hard time keeping track of where I got the CPE. I also worried what some of the stuff wasn’t topical considering all that was going on in the world of accounting these days, e.g., the IASB. Oh me, oh my, what’s a sailor to do?
Well, I was browsing the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) web site, actually their cpa2biz store (www.cpa2biz.com) when, I read: “Earn CPE credit by completing a self-study program [called CPE Direct] developed from topics covered in the Journal of Accountancy.” Well, I needed CPE credit, right? And I get the Journal of Accountancy every month, don’t I? And, I think the stuff in there is pretty current, right? So, what could be easier? I get credit for stuff I like to read anyways. As I read on, I found that I could earn up to 12 CPE credits each quarter for a full year subscription of only $211.25 for non members ($169.00 for members.) That works out to about $4.40 ($211.25/4 quarters x 12 units) per credit for non-members. I thought that was pretty darn cheap considering you can pay in the neighborhood of $17.00 per credit for some of the other courses on that site. At the same time, I found a site called CPE Depot. They charge $149.00 a year for all-you-can eat CPE. Since I need only 80 every two years, it would cost me only $1.86 ($149.00/80) per credit if I got it all done in one year. If I spread it over two years---which seems more likely--it would cost me $149.00 first year + $129.00 second year = $278.00 / 80 CPE = $3.47 per credit. But then, I thought, how current is their stuff? To me, that question would always be in the back of my mind.

Well, I’m just started the final quarter of CPE Direct and I think it’s worked out nicely for me. This quarter’s text book has a chapter on Tax Update, one on Tax Aspects of Home Ownership and the last chapter is on Lean Manufacturing. Stuff I think as being topical and interesting.
In addition, one of the nice things about of this program is that the articles are re-printed right in the text book, but you really don’t have to read them. The text book covers everything you need to know for taking the quiz located in the back of the text book. Thus, you don’t need an AICPA membership or even buy a subscription to the Journal of Accountancy. However, as usual, I still read the magazine because it offers a lot more than just CPE. But, now I can skip the articles that will be covered in the next CPE Direct. That way I have time to focus on the other material.

The Journal of Accountancy and CPE Direct are copyrighted by the AICPA

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by Dave Burt, CPA - Dave has held accounting management positions in both public accounting and private industry for such companies as Coldwell Banker and Maytag.

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