Continuing professional education (CPE) sponsors have developed many courses to assist in educating certified public accountants on the many COVID-19 accounting issues.  This blog post will cover some of the types of courses that could be beneficial to those professionals seeking out information on how to account for the changes resulting from the pandemic.

Financial Reporting and the COVID-19 Implications

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant reporting implications for virtually all business entities.  Companies that have been profitable for many years may be facing different accounting considerations that have not been thought of in the past.  Professionals may want to consider CPE courses covering the impact of COVID-19 on the following financial reporting areas:

  • Contract Modifications
  • Accounting for Financial Assets
  • Inventory Adjustments
  • A/R Write-downs and Write-offs
  • Debt Restructuring and Modifications
  • Fixed Asset Impairment
  • Subsequent Events
  • Going Concern
  • Disclosure Changes and Updates

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Stimulus Act)

Preparing taxes for individuals affected by the Stimulus Act will require additional learning on the part of tax professionals.  Fortunately, CPE sponsors have developed CPE courses that address the key implications of the Stimulus Act on individual filers.  CPE sponsors are offering courses covering the following issues:

  • Stimulus Checks
  • Unemployment Checks
  • Employee and Self-Employed Tax Credits
  • Retirement Plan Distributions
  • Other Significant Tax Law Changes
  • New Tax Developments
  • Deadline Updates and Extensions
  • Delayed Payroll
  • Self-Employment Tax Payments
  • IRA, Retirement and HSA Contributions

There are many government-sponsored provisions, credits, and forgiveness programs that affect businesses and require education for CPAs performing tax services for businesses also.  CPE courses covering the different government provisions are also available through many CPE sponsors.

Fraudulent Activities

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened up new areas for fraudulent activities to occur and wreak havoc for individuals and businesses. To stay up-to-date on the latest fraudulent schemes, professionals should consider courses that discuss the most prevalent scams, including online shopping, travel and vacation planning, medical testing, the Payroll Protection Program and the CARES Act, internet services, robocalls and identity theft.  Whether a CPA is working with businesses or individuals, these types of courses bring to light the ever-changing ‘business’ of COVID-19-related fraud. 

Working Remotely During COVID-19

The pandemic continues to make it difficult for CPAs and other professionals to return to their own offices as well as work at client offices.  CPE sponsors have developed courses that address the challenges of working remotely.  For auditors who are no longer able to work in client offices, there are classes available that cover topics such as requesting and accessing client information, conducting interviews, and reviewing documentation.  There are also classes that examine the processes and procedures over internal controls assessments and testing and the shifts needed to perform adequate testing and complete the proper documentation to provide the level of assurance required by the audit.  

Professional development-type classes provide professionals with information on how to develop their own best practices for working efficiently and effectively from their homes when they cannot return to their offices.

Planning for the Future

The pandemic has caused many organizations to think about disaster planning.  Few businesses escaped the wrath of the pandemic.  There are CPE classes covering disaster planning including the importance of developing a plan and the basics of what should be covered in the plan, how to assess operating risks, how to manage liquidity during a crisis and how to shift to a remote work environment with the fewest complications.