The National Association of Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) offers many types of services to individual boards of accountancy located in each state.  One of the services provided by NASBA is the National Registry of CPE Sponsors (National Registry).

What is the National Registry?

The National Registry recognizes continuing professional education (CPE) program sponsors who provide CPE programs in accordance with nationally recognized standards.   The CPE sponsors listed in the National Registry are considered approved CPE sponsors and many state boards of accountancy use the National Registry’s approval as the requirement for the CPE selected by licensees to meet their CPE requirements.  NASBA operates the website,  State boards and licensees can access this site to find a listing of NASBA approved plan sponsors.

How does a Sponsor Join the National Registry?

NASBA has a set application process for sponsors wanting to have their courses listed on the National Registry.  An organization or individual is required to have offered at least one course in the past, but this course does not have to be for the CPA profession or for CPE credit.  Sponsors must submit an application after submitting an initial interest form indicating the type of CPE the sponsor is wanting to offer through the National Registry (group live, group internet-based, QAS self study, blended learning and nano learning).  Along with submitting an application, documentation must be submitted by the plan sponsor.  The following list details the supporting documentation that is required:

  • Program content development
  • Administrative policies
  • Program list
  • Promotional materials
  • Evaluation form
  • Certificate of completion
  • Instructor and reviewer biographies, as applicable
  • Program materials

Fortunately NASBA includes templates for these items on the National Registry website.  The templates are sectioned out by type of CPE.  The National Registry website emphasizes that prospective sponsors have to be knowledgeable about the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education Programs (Statement).  This document spells out the requirement framework for all CPE programs.  It was last updated in December 2019 and it was issued by NASBA and the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

How does a Sponsor Maintain its Place on the National Registry?

The work of joining the National Registry does not stop once a sponsor’s program or course is accepted by the National Registry.  Plan sponsors are required to renew their membership annually.  A sponsor’s application is due by a certain date and the sponsor must be following the Statement for renewal.  Applications not received by the due date face a stiff 50% penalty.  Sponsors may go inactive but they can be reactivated by filing a reinstatement application and pay the associated fee.

In addition to the renewal application, the National Registry performs compliance audits on its registered plan sponsors.  The audit’s purpose is to confirm the sponsor is meeting the Standards.  NASBA works with program sponsors to correct their offerings instead of removing the sponsor from the National Registry.  Only a significant audit finding curing the compliance audit would cause a plan sponsor to be removed from the National Registry.  A compliance audit will test one program per each delivery method/type of program offered.  Plan sponsors are selected randomly for compliance audits.