Continuing Professional Education Standards Updated
Part of our responsibilities as CPA’s include continued professional education. It is required of us, not only to maintain our competence, but to be able to provide more quality professional services. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) changed the standards for CPE providers as well as NASBA’s Fields of Study document. Under new standards that took effect September 1, 2016, CPAs will now be able to receive continuing professional education (CPE) credit for instruction received in methods that are popular with students: nano-learning and blended learning platforms. Nano-learning is delivery of information in short, 10-minute increments that cover topics specific to a certain task. An example of this could include videos that help CPAs master certain specific, technical tasks. Blended learning combines multiple delivery methods, such as live instruction and on-demand self-study.
CPAs should note that not all states accept all delivery methods allowed by the standards. Before claiming credit, CPAs should make certain that the new delivery methods are allowed for CPE credit in their state. Under the updated Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs, an element of participant engagement must be included in group live programs for each CPE credit. In addition, CPE credit now can be awarded in increments of one-fifth (0.2) of a CPE credit for nano-learning. One-fifth credit also may be awarded for CPE using other delivery methods after a minimum amount of credit has been awarded.
The updated standards also revise the definitions of “group live” and “group internet-based” programs. The focus of these classifications now is on how content is received by the participants, rather than on how it is delivered by the instructor. The most significant change revises the Specialized Knowledge field of study by separating computer science application and information technology into their own categories. This allows Specialized Knowledge to consist of topics that are particular to specialized industries or services. These changes reflect a desire by the AICPA and NASBA to embrace new ways of learning that students enjoy and instructors find effective—while guarding the public interest to make sure CPAs receive the training they need to provide excellent service.
More information about the standards is available at www.learningmarket.org.
Article by: Erica Brown, Audit Senior Manager