Thursday, January 26, 2012

CPE and Me

I had a birthday this month. Now, I am not going to tell you how old I am, but it did remind me that, in addition to being one year older, my annual Continuing Professional Education (CPE) reporting deadline had arrived. I am licensed in a state that requires CPAs to report the number of hours of CPE completed in the twelve-month period ending on the last day of the month in which they were born. The requirement is usually stated in terms of minimum required number of hours of credit and specific requirements such as number of hours earned from technical and non-technical topics and ethics. Failure to complete the minimum hour requirement as well as the specific course requirements can result in suspension of your license to practice.

A summary of CPE reporting deadlines for the 50 states and 4 territories are as follows:
• 28 – December 31st.
• 12 – June 30th.
• 8 – Other
• 5 – Birth Month
• 1 - None

The Wisconsin state board does not require its CPAs to obtain CPE: however, most Wisconsin CPAs voluntarily take CPE in order to stay current with the ever changing accounting and tax rules and regulations.

Five states have birth month reporting periods. These are mainly the large states; California, New York, and Texas. Arizona and New Mexico have also adopted reporting based on the month you were born.

The majority of the states-(74%) have either June 30th or December 31st-as their reporting date.

Often reporting periods do not correspond to the license renewal date, so you need to be careful to complete the required number of hours of CPE within the renewal period. Also, limits on the number of hours of credit you may report for a specific type of CPE (self-study vs. instructor led or technical vs. non-technical) need to be carefully monitored so you do not run afoul of the requirements.

If you are licensed in only one state, keeping up with your CPE requirements may not be that challenging. However, if you are licensed in multiple states, it can become a daunting task. The good news is that there is help available. Thomson Reuters CE Tracking, available on Checkpoint Learning©, tracks over 70 organizations that regulate licensing and certification requirements, including all 50 states. Just follow the link for more information.

Features of CE Tracking include:

• Automatic determination of compliance periods.
• Enforcement of limits/prohibitions on credits earned.
• Notification of rule updates and changes.
• Monthly e-mail reminders to keep you informed of your CE compliance status.

Check it out for yourself. It can save you time and ensure that you meet all of the continuing education requirements mandated by each of your licensing bodies.