Mandatory CPE Requirements

The following charts highlight the mandatory CPE requirements for New Jersey, the AICPA, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as the specific requirements for CPAs in government. To view CPE requirements for other states, click here.

Virtual versus In-Person CPE: Pros and Cons

By Christina M. White, CPA, MS, Traphagen CPAs & Wealth Advisors  – October 19, 2022
Virtual versus In-Person CPE: Pros and Cons

Over the past few years, the recurring theme that we have all been faced with is change. As CPAs and accounting professionals, we’ve also seen this change through our continuing professional education opportunities. In the beginning of the pandemic, we were limited to learning programs that were hosted virtually. This was a huge change for many CPAs who had previously attended mostly in-person CPE events. Now, as we head back towards a sense of normalcy and decide how to schedule out those 40 CPE hours for the year, let’s take a step back and look at some pros and cons of in-person and virtual education.

In-Person Learning

Pros:

  • Avoids distractions. While you’re away from your office, computer and phone, you are less likely to be facing distractions, allowing yourself to fully devote your attention to learning and understanding the materials or topics presented.
  • Change of scenery. Sometimes just getting out of the usual routine can help to clear your head or increase enthusiasm. Generally, in-person events allow for a more fun experience, too.
  • Networking and socializing with other attendees. In-person events are a great opportunity to meet new people, build relationships and catch up with friends and colleagues. These events bring together accounting professionals with sponsors and other valuable connections.
  • Asking questions. Attending an in-person event generally offers more opportunities for Q&A time and raising your hand to interact with the speaker in real time. You may even have the chance to further the discussion with the speaker after the event. With your questions answered, the takeaway will be a better understanding of the subject.

Cons:

  • Travel time. If the event is too far away, you’ll be using up additional time for transportation or may be deterred from even registering.
  • More expensive. There are the travel costs incurred for gas, flights and hotel stays, and the fees to register for the event may be higher too, due to the costs of hosting the event.
  • Constraints due to the venue. There may be a limited number of spots or a waiting list due to limited seats available at the venue. The event could also be cancelled or rescheduled due to weather or other unexpected circumstances.

Virtual Learning

Pros:

  • No travel time. Forgoing travel time not only means less money spent on gas, but not having to allocate additional time from your day to travel back and forth to the venue.
  • Fits into your schedule. More people may be encouraged attend a virtual event since there is a smaller time commitment, especially when you are working with a busy schedule. This applies even more so to programs that are pre-recorded and can be watched at your convenience.
  • Increased accessibility. New opportunities have become available, allowing you to attend programs being held all over the state, or even the country, without worry of travel costs or the extra time commitment.
  • Reliability. The event won’t be canceled due to inclement weather or other unexpected circumstances at the venue.

Cons:

  • Technology issues. Technology can be detrimental to the effectiveness of the session. This could impact the host from being able to reach all of the attendees, or for attendees to be unable to access the program. If the application won’t work, it can be a huge waste of time and cause of frustration for all.
  • More chances for distractions. While sitting in your office or at your computer, emails, calls or a knock on the door can easily take away your focus.
  • Less interaction. Attendees may feel discouraged from asking questions, or questions submitted electronically can be missed. Also communicating with other attendees and sponsors is often not supported. Some platforms don’t allow you to even view the attendee list.

While change is always a challenging obstacle to overcome, it is clear that both learning formats have their benefits as well as reasons you may be hesitant to attend. There will always be a demand for in-person events, but virtual events are likely here to stay, too. There’s so much that can be done with both formats to help make the expe­rience memorable and positive for all. So, whether you’re all in on heading back into classroom learning, ready to log on from your couch, or mixing it up and having it both ways — take a moment to maximize your time and schedule your CPE in the method that works best for you.


Christina M. White

Christina M. White

Christina M. White, CPA, MS, is a manager at Traphagen CPAs & Wealth Advisors. She is a member of several NJCPA interest groups and is active in the Bergen Chapter.

More content by Christina M. White:

This article appeared in the fall 2022 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.

New Jersey

For further information, contact the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy at 973-504-6380. For the full text of the State Board's Regulations on Continuing Professional Education, click here and go to Subchapter 6 on page 39. 

Area of Practice Period Total Credit Hours Minimum Per Year Specific Requirements
CPAs in Public Practice

See definition below: NJSA Chapter 45:2B-44)1
1/1/21-
12/31/23
120 20 60 credits in technical subject areas, 24 of which must be in Accounting & Auditing

4 in NJ Law & Ethics
All other CPAs 1/1/21-
12/31/23
120 20 60 credits in technical subject areas

4 in NJ Law & Ethics

1. 45:2B-44. Definitions; accountancy act of 1997: “Practice of public accountancy” means the performance or the offering to perform attest services for a client or potential client, by a licensee, registered firm or individual qualifying for practice privileges under section 6 of P.L.2008, c. 45 (C.45:2B-50.1). The “practice of public accountancy” also means the performance or the offering to perform by a licensee or individual qualifying for practice privileges under section 6 of P.L.2008, c. 45 (C.45:2B-50.1) of one or more of the following: a compilation of a financial statement to be performed in accordance with SSARS, management advisory, financial advisory or consulting services, or the preparation of tax returns or the furnishing of advice on tax matters.

AICPA

For further information, click here or contact the AICPA at 201-938-3500.

Area of Practice Period Total Credit Hours Every 3 Years Minimum Per Year
Members in Public Practice & Private Industry As of Jan. 1, 2001, forward and for each three-year reporting period thereafter all AICPA members shall complete 120 hours or its equivalent, of continuing professional education. 120 0

New York

For further information, contact the New York State Board of Accountancy at 518-474-3836.

Area of Practice Period Minimum Credit Hours Per Year Total Credit Hours Every 3 Years Notes
OPTION #1 Every three years, based on license date 40 contact hours in a combination of any recognized subject area
120 You must complete 4 contact hours of acceptable professional ethics during every 3 calendar years. Reporting can be done every three years, but CPA must attest to completing the requirements each of the three years.
OPTION #2 Every three years, based on license date
24 contact hours concentrated in one of the recognized subject areas 76 You must complete 4 contact hours of acceptable professional ethics during every 3 calendar years. Reporting can be done every three years, but CPA must attest to completing the requirements each of the three years.

Pennsylvania

For further information, contact the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy at 717-783-1404.

Area of Practice Period Total Credit Hours Over 2 Years Annual Minimum Subject Minimum
All licensees 1/1/20-12/31/21 80 20

All PA CPAs - 4 credit hours Ethics

If you provide attest services:

24 credit hours - A&A
52 credit hours - Professional Development

If you do not provide attest services:

76 credit hours - Professional Development

Government

The GAGAS CPE requirements must be satisfied every two years. To simplify administration of the CPE requirements, an audit organization may establish a standard two-year period for all its auditors, which can be on either a fixed-year or rolling-year basis.

For more information on Yellow Book requirements, please go to gao.gov/govaud/ybk01.htm or email your questions to yellowbook@gao.gov.

 

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