How to meet required CPE hours in non-public?

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  • #201684

    So I busted my chops to get my CPA license. But my boss has now decided to retire and sell off his firm piece by piece, which leaves me up Schitt’s Creek without a paddle. So basically I’m job searching. I’m entertaining both public & private job openings. However, one thing that concerns me is keeping my CPA license active if I were to make the switch to private. How do other Ninjas keep up with their CPE while in private? My state requires 120 every 3 years, so if you break that down, it’s 40 hrs per year. That’s an entire workweek of CPE. It seems like no private company is going to allow you to do that, especially if a CPA wasn’t a requirement of the job. There’s the risk of them saying “do it with your vacation time.” Which would suck! But I’m not in a place where I can really play hardball and stick to my guns…

    So, to the point, for those in private, how do you keep up with your required CPE hours and how did you negotiate being able to perform CPE at work to keep your hard-earned license active?

    Licensed NH CPA as of July 2015

    AUD - 74 (Oct '13), 84 (Jan '14)
    FAR - 79 (Feb '14)
    REG - 61 (May '13), 81 (Aug '14)
    BEC - 79 (Nov '14)

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    I use online self-study courses to meet my CPE obligations, so can do my CPE on the weekends at home while sitting snuggled up in a fuzzy blanket with music on, if that's what I choose to do. It means my 40 hours a year turns into 8 hours a weekend 5 weeks a year, or 4 hours a weekend 10 weeks a year, or something like that, or 2 hours an evening 20 evenings a year, instead of requiring time taken out of a work day. I've used an unlimited CPE option that was a 1-year subscription. My state requires reporting of CPE once every 2 years, earned at any point within those 2 years; my goal was to break my 1-year subscription over 2 2-year periods so that I could get 4 years' CPE out of 1 1-year subscription. I've got about a month left in my subscription, though, and haven't done much for the second set of CPE…might wait till closer to when it's due and get another subscription. 🙂

    There's also opportunities that count for CPE within work obligations (for example, I get fliers all the time for sales tax seminars that offer CPE or something like that; my work location is about 2 hours away from the nearest big city that they're offered in, but if they were closer, I could make a work argument for attending them), so many people in private are able to get part of their CPE while gaining information that their employer wants or needs them to acquire.

    Webinars are also offered for CPE credit which can be done over a lunch break or with just an hour or two out of the work day, which is easier to negotiate with a boss. (Often in a salaried position, an hour or two doesn't require official prior approval, just something like “Hey, I've got a webinar for CPE this afternoon from 1- 3 – is that OK?” “Yeah sure, just keep an eye on your email in case we need you.”)

    Some states have limits on the amount of CPE that can be earned via self-study, so may require, for example, that only 1/2 the CPE be via self-study and the other 1/2 be via interactive webinars and/or face-to-face learning opportunities. Regardless of the requirements, earning the CPE in private isn't as difficult as you might think, if you're intentional about it. 40 hours is less than 4 a month, so especially if you can do half of it self-study (so online and at your convenience), that just means finding about 2 hours most months of webinars or something else, and if you can't find many webinars, then maybe once a year taking a day to go to a face-to-face seminar.


    40 CPE hours rarely translates to 40 actual hours, but even if it was hour for hour thats less than an hour a week, perfectly manageable.. I do mostly online CPE credits and about once every few weeks do a 3 hr CPE certificate or two. Its really not that big a deal and doesn't affect my work schedule at all I do it all on my own time just like I studied for the exam entirely on my own time.

    Old timer,  A71'er since 2010.

    Finance manager/HR manager



    Licensed Massachusetts Non Reporting CPA since 2012
    Finance/Admin/HR Manager


    I work for a not-for-profit so I take advantage of any tax seminars the company will pay for. I got 8 hours free so far this year. You can also do online webinars but they are so freaking boring I'd rather pay for a class. I use this vendor for my CPE:

    They have a large variety of classes and the prices are great. I did a 24 hour CPE on the Form 990 and it was around $128, which my not-for-profit actually paid for because they were impressed with the study materials. It was an open book test. Don'r worry- the CPE is not that tough to achieve if you stay on top of it.

    FAR Passed 5/28/14
    AUD Passed 1/22/13
    BEC Passed 7/12/13
    REG Passed 5/9/14
    Virginia CPA license issued July 2014

    Participant offers a ton of free cpe

    ey puts out some free seminars that are very informative.


    All of the big 4 have free listservs you can sign up for by selecting topics you're interested in and those provide free CPE webinars.

    Check with your state's CPA society, or even the AICPA. I believe some of these come at a cost.

    Prior to my current public accounting job, I worked in industry at 4 different companies (full-time and internships) and they were all supportive about giving time to earn CPE. They also allowed us to expense it but this will vary from company to company depending upon their budget. I think if you can make an argument that it satisfies your CPE requirement but will benefit the company, they'll be willing to give you the time. For example, is there some AICPA lecture about new rev procs that affect your business? Sales tax, if you're a one-stop shop finance manager, etc.

    When applying to industry jobs that require the CPA license or list “CPA preferred,” that should signal they would be willing to provide time to earn CPE. You can't tell me you want someone to have a CPA but then not provide them with at least a few days here and there to get my hours in. Definitely just bring it up in the interview.


    I don't need to do CPE just yet, but I have already prepared myself for when it is required. I subscribe to the B4's weekly emails. Deloitte sends out one with free webinars and other informative learnings that also qualify for CPE so I would definitely check out an B4 website to sign up. Also, if you are a member of your state CPA society they give you access to all sorts of CPE trainings. Some are free and others you have to pay for, but it is also a good start. I was worried when I left B4 that it would be difficult to do on my own but like everyone has shown here, if you do the research for a few websites there really is a lot out there that you can do on your own. It just requires a little more leg work 🙂

    AUD - 77
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 75
    REG - 81
    Illinois Certified Public Accountant 2016

    AUD - 69, 77
    REG - 74, 81
    FAR - 75!
    BEC - 71, 82

    IL candidate!

    Finally done (5/24/16)!! Yahooooooo!


    Thanks all for the replies!

    I'm not too worried about finding cpe classes/vendors. I was more concerned about finding the time and the technique to request time during the year to complete CPE in a nonpublic environment. Obviously, in public, my boss lets me take time whenever to do webinars during the day. I worry that future employers won't be as cool with that. You all make great points though about staying on top of it and doing it a little at a time

    Licensed NH CPA as of July 2015

    AUD - 74 (Oct '13), 84 (Jan '14)
    FAR - 79 (Feb '14)
    REG - 61 (May '13), 81 (Aug '14)
    BEC - 79 (Nov '14)


    You can get your CPE credits from illumeo and meet the CPE obligations.


    CPE hours are a necessary requirement for many professions, but they can be difficult to complete if you work in a non-public setting. One way to meet the CPE hour requirements is to take courses offered by professional organizations or companies. Many of these organizations offer online courses that can be completed at your own pace. Another way to meet CPE hours is to attend conferences or workshops. These events typically offer a variety of sessions that can be attended over the course of several days. Finally, many CPE providers offer self-study materials that can be used to meet CPE requirements. These materials often include books, articles, and webinars. By taking advantage of all the resources available, you can easily meet the CPE hour requirements for your profession.

    AUD - 100
    BEC - 100
    FAR - 100
    REG - 100
    CPAbot - Your A.I. CPA

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    I made the transition to private aobut 6 years ago, at first it was super easy as I was taking masters courses at night. Since then I've used cpa academy or B4/RSM/BKD to get free CPEs. I strive for 1-2 hours of CPE a week. If I find a CPE that is relevant to my job then I do it during work hours. If it isn't relevant to my current work, then I use my lunch hour or just make up the time.



    AUD - 79
    BEC - 80
    FAR - 76
    REG - 92
    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    Jake Cahill

    Illumeo offers many different options for continuing education. They offer on demand classes, cpe webinars, and then additional long term certificate programs if needed.You can also track your cpe credits.

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