How to earn those last-minute CPE credits

Professionals nearing the end of their reporting period, who still need to accumulate a few CPE credits or fulfill their state's requirements, should check their state society Web sites for course listings and discounts.

Course providers that partner with CPA societies are continuing to produce live webcasts and interactive self-study programs for some of the most in-demand courses. And for those professionals who are just getting started on their CPE requirements and need a lot of credits in a hurry, local chapters are scheduling half-day or all-day conferences in December and early January.

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) has a convenient tool for checking CPE requirements by state at CPEmarket.com. NASBA also lists all approved online and self-study providers here.

Webcasts and webinars

Many state societies run live, interactive webinars of scheduled seminars through the Accounting CPE Network (ACPEN), the largest source of live CPE in video format in the United States. Courses are rebroadcast with live interaction. State societies also partner with CPELink and Surgent McCoy's CPE Now to produce webinars and webcasts.

Other online and/or audio seminar providers that partner with state societies include:

  • e-CPE: Online CPE from FAE, produced by the New York State Society of CPAs’ Foundation for Accounting Education
  • CPA Crossings, LLC, which provides an extensive catalog of CPA Technology Best Practiceswebinars
  • CCH – Live audio seminars, available to groups. Only one telephone connection at one location is required.
  • The Business Learning Institute

Yet another option is AccountingWEB's Earn CPE Your Way, which is produced in partnership with CPELink.

State societies also share educational resources. Arizona Society of CPAs members may register for CalCPA Education Foundation webcasts at CalCPA member prices.

Most course providers that partner with CPA societies also offer continuing education for enrolled agents (EAs). CPELink offers a special pass to EAs, Welcome Enrolled Agents.

Self-study

AICPA members can access more than 1,200 hours of self-study courses through CPExpress for an annual subscription that costs $180. Some states limit the number of self-study hours that can be used to meet annual CPE requirements. AICPA members also may be entitled to special discounts on CPExpress from their state societies.

Other self-study courses for accounting professionals are available through:

  • CCH Learning Center
  • Pass Online from Thomson Reuters
  • Bisk Education CPEasy.com
  • Surgent McCoy, LLC, Self Study CPE
  • BestCPE - BestCPE reaches out to CPAs and EAs who need course credits in a hurry. Its Web site states that its ethics courses for EAs are suitable for all states.

Conferences

Conferences are scheduled in most states in November, December, and January. The Illinois Society of CPAs' conference schedule for November and December, for example, includes a fraud conference on November 11 in Chicago, a not-for-profit conference in Springfield on December 8, accounting and auditing on December 15 in two locations, and the state and local tax conference on January 18, 2011.

California CPAs who need eight or more credits may attend one of the CalCPA Education Foundation's six one-day conferences, or one two-day conference to be held in December.

And for those who can get away and really need the credits, Western CPE is sponsoring three five-day conferences in December: one in Phoenix and two in Las Vegas.

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