What Is CPE?

Posted by BeaconLive

Why CPE Is Crucial For Any CPA

In the ever-changing financial, accounting, and technological landscape, staying caught up on your professional knowledge can benefit your career. 


You must continuously hone your skill set to stay at the top of your industry and do your job effectively. This will allow you to remain competitive, productive, and relevant. 


So what’s the best way for professionals like you to stay at the top of your industry? 


CPE is the answer to your professional education needs. It allows you to receive specialized training in your field and stay current on the latest best practices and industry developments. 


A person writing notes in a notebook while using a laptop to take a CPE course


What Is CPE? 

CPE stands for continuing professional education. It’s a pathway to learn additional knowledge and skills in a professional setting. 


The most common professions requiring CPE training are technology, auditing, accounting, and finance. So certified public accountants, tax preparers, and other accounting professionals need these courses to build upon the fundamentals they need to practice their role and stay current on changes to the industry, such as IRS law updates. 


CPE training allows professionals from various fields to further their careers and stay current with industry best practices. This fills in any knowledge gaps and better prepares them for success in their current role. 


There are two types of CPE credits: group A and group B. Let’s look at the key differences between the two. 


Group A CPE Credits

Group A credits include activities that focus directly on the required credential domains. Here are some examples:

  • Publishing an article, book, or white paper 

  • Attending a conference or live webinar on a required topic

  • Viewing video courses 

  • Reading related materials on a required certification topic 

  • Participating in an educational course 

  • Taking ethics courses


Group B CPE Credits

This category of CPE credits refers to any activity that does not fit group A's criteria. Here are some examples: 

  • Preparing and delivering a presentation 

  • Self-study courses

  • Preparing for a certification test 

  • Taking higher-level academic courses not related to a required topic


Professionals can attend a series of seminars in person or participate in an eLearning course. In some fields, participants must carry out field-specific work to complete their CPE hours and earn the credits to get them fully licensed or fulfill renewal requirements. 


Employers and governing bodies require CPE credits to ensure these industry professionals are qualified to do their jobs. The number of credits needed depends on the state or professional association requirements. 


What is The Difference Between CPD and CPE Courses? 

CPE is typically a professional educational opportunity for employees who must stay current on updates to their field and use the earned credit hours to renew their licenses. 


Continuing professional development, or CPD, is meant to increase the participants’ understanding, knowledge, and experiences of a particular subject within their profession. 


CPE and CPD often need clarification. However, some key differences set the two types of continuing education opportunities apart. 


The main difference is how these activities are tracked. CPE tracks using credits, while CPD uses hours as a measurement tool. One CPE credit equals 50 minutes of training, while CPD hours reflect 60 minutes of development. 


Additionally, CPD covers more general topics and enhances the professional’s existing skills. So participants enter the training with the base knowledge they need to build upon during the training. 


CPE focuses on specific practices, skills, and updates that are new to the participants. This means they learn about new topics or information needed to update their professional knowledge and practices.


So continuing professional education credits are critical because they allow employees in these fields to stay up-to-date in fast-paced, ever-changing industries like accounting and IT. 


What Qualifies as CPE? 

Several factors determine the number of CPE credits earned and what activities qualify as CPE activities. Continuing professional education offerings can take a variety of formats, including: 

  • In-person conferences

  • Webinars and webcasts

  • Self-study

  • Training workshops 

  • Online CPE courses

  • Volunteer Work

  • Submitting an article 

  • Serving on industry boards 


These activities will focus on different topics, such as financial planning, retirement planning, or a specific tax update relevant to your role. It’s vital to ensure you choose the right topics for the unique recertification criteria in your state. 


The length of CPE programs varies. Some are relatively short and focus on refreshing professional competencies or giving an overview of new tech, practices, or skills. You can collect CPE credits in some IT sectors by taking online quizzes in relevant areas. 


Other programs require multiple sessions and award more credits since they take longer to complete. These extended programs offer a deep dive into new topics and will ensure you fully understand how to incorporate these skills or practices into your current position.


However, for CPE to count towards initial certification or a renewal application, it must be accredited by the appropriate organization. If you want to continue professional education opportunities, you can get your CPE accredited to ensure it provides your participants the correct amount of value. 


Where To Find High-Quality CPE 

Whether you’re an employee looking for the right CPE for recertification or an employer who wants to offer your team the best continuing professional education opportunities for your team, the easiest way to find high-quality, accessible CPE is on a virtual platform like an eLearning platform


Also known as a learning management system or LMS, online learning platforms allow participants to track their CPE activities and access educational opportunities that providers may not offer locally. This means financial, accounting, and tax professionals have access to an array of unlimited CPE topics. 


It also allows employers to monitor employee participation and manage which topics they complete to ensure they receive the most relevant CPE. 


When looking for the right CPE platform, you should look for the following features: 

  • An intuitive dashboard with built-in reporting 

  • CPE activity tracking 

  • Live CPE webinars 

  • Access to eLearning libraries, Excel templates, and educational materials databases

  • Engaging, interactive features like discussion boards and live polling 

  • Automated certificate delivery 

  • 24/7 technical support


Online continuing professional education opportunities allow professionals like you to access essential training materials to further your knowledge. 


Because they occur in a virtual environment, you can easily fit these activities into your busy schedule, making it easier to meet your CPE requirements and further your career. 


BeaconLive Can Help You With All Your CPE Needs 

If you work in the finance, accounting, or IT industries, you know that you need CPE credits to stay licensed and relevant in your field. 


The best way to earn these credits is to participate in accredited online courses and activities that will provide you with the new practices, skills, and technological knowledge to help you perform at the top of your industry. 


BeaconLive offers a fully customizable LMS for all your CPE needs. Our system provides an all-in-one solution that assists with designing, creating, and implementing continuing professional education courses. 


It also offers on-demand access to learning materials, live event capabilities, and automated certificate delivery and tracking. 

Contact us today for more information on how our eLearning platform can help take your CPE to the next level.


Topics: Accounting, Certificates, Continuing Education, Financial

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