December 31, 2020
- CPE Requirement Changes Due to COVID-19
- Check Your Licensing State
- Check Your Completion Date Deadlines
- Check Self-study Hour Limitations
- Check Carryover Hours
- Rely on Resources
The continuing professional education (CPE) landscape has changed drastically since March 2020. It is likely that CPAs who planned out their 2020 CPE schedule in fall of 2019 had to make a significant number of changes to their continuing education plans. CPE coursework has quickly shifted from live, in-person classes and seminars to live and on-demand online classes and seminars.
Check Your Licensing State
Before scheduling CPE courses, CPAs should familiarize themselves with the CPE requirements of their licensing state. There are 55 state board of accountancy jurisdictions in the United States and the requirements vary by jurisdiction. Most jurisdictions have adjusted their continuing education requirements due to COVID-19. It is imperative that CPAs confirm the latest requirements of their licensing jurisdiction. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (www.nasba.org) is a fantastic resource for locating a jurisdiction’s licensing rules as well as any updates and changes being made for COVID-19. On the left side of the NASBA homepage there is a link for the boards of accountancy. Under this link, jurisdictions are listed alphabetically, along with board contact information, as well as links to the board websites and statutes.
Check Your Completion Date Deadlines
In general, most boards of accountancy are extending their CPE completion date deadlines, however, the details of the extension vary by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions are extending the deadline for all licensees while others are extending the deadline only for those requesting an extension and can attest to a COVID-19 hardship. For example, the state of Kansas initially extended the CPE completion deadline from June 30, 2020, to August 31, 2020, for all licensees. For the state of Mississippi, an across-the-board four-month extension was granted. In Delaware, licensees had to complete an online attestation acknowledging the inability to complete the required CPE due to COVID-19 and an extension was granted after completion of the attestation. It is also important to note that some states did not need to extend their deadlines because there was no need for the extension, based on their licensing guidelines and due dates.
Check Self-study Hour Limitations
Individual licensing jurisdictions are also in charge of mandating the rules regarding online CPE coursework. Each jurisdiction determines how many CPE hours a CPA can earn through online coursework. Of course, COVID-19 has upended these limits by canceling all non-online CPE training. Some boards are accepting requests for in-person CPE classes on a case-by-case basis for approval. Arizona’s board of accountancy issued an executive order allowing the suspension of any rule limiting the number of online and alternative learning hours allowed for maintaining licenses. Several states, including Alabama, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, lifted their self-study limitations, which previously capped the number of self-study hours allowed for CPE credit.
Check Carryover Hours
Some licensing jurisdictions allow for a maximum number of carry-over CPE hours. These hours can roll over to the next licensing period if a licensee has taken more than the required number of hours. For example, the state of Mississippi increased the number of allowed carry-over hours from 20 to 40.
Rely on Resources
COVID-19 certainly changed the CPE landscape for all CPAs. Licensees must stay abreast of their jurisdiction’s licensing updates and changes due to COVID-19. Fortunately, there are great resources available to assist CPAs in determining their CPE requirements.