Last minute CPE credits: Where to find them

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For those certified public accountants and others who are nearing the end of their reporting period and need to accumulate a few CPE credits, or professionals who have been preoccupied with other matters and are looking for tax or audit updates, state society web sites offer the best sources of information about continuing education available over the next two weeks. Some of the same online course providers that partner with the CPA societies also offer courses for enrolled agents.

Webcasts are convenient and easy to access at this time of year. The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) features courses that are rebroadcasts of earlier webcasts but will offer the same interactive features. The Accounting Continuing Professional Education Network (ACPEN) 2007 Annual Tax Update will be rebroadcast on December 26, for example, and again in January. Attendees pay $175 and earn 8 credits.

The Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants also partners with ACPEN and Society Insight for webcasts.

Online course providers that partner with these societies like CCH Learning Center, PassONLINE, Bisk CPEasy, and BestCPE offer a range of programs. PassONLINE has some two-credit courses but BestCPE reaches out to CPAs and EAs who need course credits in a hurry. For example, their web site says that ethics courses for Enrolled Agents are suitable for EAs in all states. It's as easy as accessing the document online and completing the exam.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) CPExpress provides access to 900 one- and two-hour online courses. A subscription to CPExpress is $150 for AICPA members and the first two credit hours are free.

If you need to fulfill a requirement in a specific area, try the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy's (NASBA) Web site, which also has a very convenient tool for checking CPE requirements by state. SmartPros' Professional Education Center offers individual non-subscription courses, including ethics courses developed to meet state requirements. Courses range in price from $45.90 for Oklahoma to $183.60 for Minnesota.

For those who need a lot of credits in a hurry, state societies and local chapters are scheduling half-day or all-day conferences in late December and early January in various locations. Typical programs are those like the Arizona Society of CPAs' Advanced Tax Update for Experienced Practitioners scheduled for December 21, 2007 and Federal and Arizona Tax Update Forms 1040 and 140 scheduled for Thursday, December 27, 2007. Check your state society Web site for last minute class information.

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