The value of continuing education for accounting professionals
September 20, 2016

Accountants and bookkeepers operate at the mercy of their clients. These professionals often work with people in a variety of industries that are constantly changing with regard to the technologies they use, their business operations and their missions, so it makes sense accountants and bookkeepers need to be constantly honing their skills.

As the American Institute of CPAs explains, continuing professional education is required for CPAs to maintain their professional competence and provide excellent service. More importantly, CPE is required for accountants and bookkeepers to retain a license to practice.

In September 2016, the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy jointly released a revised version of "The Statement of Standards for Continuing Professional Education Programs," which is designed to serve as an evergreen document that outlines the expectations and required standards of CPE programs for accountants.

In the U.S., each state has different CPE requirements for accounting professionals to maintain their licenses. NASBA provides a helpful tool to compare the rules for each jurisdiction. For instance, Florida has an 80 hour general CPE requirement, while Wisconsin has no requirement at all.

The benefits of CPE
Navigating the standards and requirements for maintenance of licensure can be complex and often daunting, especially in the U.S., where each jurisdiction has its own unique set of rules. However, CPE isn't just mandatory in most cases, it is also advantageous for accounting professionals who hope to succeed and improve their competitive edge in the long term. Consider the following reasons:

1. Competitive advantage: It is important to invest in a CPE program that is intellectually stimulating and allows you to strengthen your skills. Continuing education enables professionals in all industries to sharpen their expertise and stay in tune with the knowledge of their competitors.

2. Professional organization membership: Some accounting organizations, like AICPA have their own specific requirements for accountants to become and remain members. These organizations are crucial to professional development and to a firm's business development, so compliance with these standards is crucial.

3. Technological Proficiency: Businesses across the country are leveraging technology like the cloud to streamline their processes and operations. CPE programs can also help accounting professionals become more tech-savvy and stay on the same page as their customers.

4. Networking: Believe it or not, CPE programs are great networking opportunities. The life of an accountant is stressful, and continuing education can easily add to your workload. However, these opportunities are a great chance to meet new people within your field.

Don't delay meeting your CPE requirements. Get started today with Sage Leadership Education for Accounting Professionals.

Nexus: G-WEBCD3