What Types of Continuing Education should an Accountant Pursue?

continuing edAs a professional who works with the finances of individuals or companies, continuing education for an accountant is a must. By studying for a degree in accounting, you learn the fundamentals and the practical skills you will need to know to practice as an accountant. In a field that has new and changing principles and standards, the need for training never goes away. To stay up-to-date and to learn the changes in legislation and principles, you will need to take continuing education courses. Thee are several different types of courses that you can take to develop your skills and expand your understanding. Here are continuing ed requirements and some of the options to consider:

What Are the Continuing Education Requirements?

If you are a Certified Public Accountant, you are required by the State Board of Accountancy to complete a certain number of continuing education units to keep your license active. These requirements can vary from state to state, and knowing the requirements in the state where you are licensed is critical to maintaining your CPA credential. Typically, the general requirements are to complete 120 hours every 3 years or 80 hours every other year. You need to learn how many hours to complete yearly, and which technical subjects you need to include in the hours. Most states will have a separate ethics requirement, around 4 to 6 hours.

Types of Courses that You Can Take

You should begin by taking at least the minimum amount of technical courses first to meet this requirement. You can choose from a variety of subject areas that will offer you knowledge that you can apply to your work. Some of these include: U.S. GAAP updates, Government, Taxation, Fraud, Audit risk assessments, Accounting for assets under IFRS, Management leadership, bankruptcy, business valuation, corporate tax, and more. While you can choose from hundreds of courses, for general education, you will be limited in your options for completing your ethics requirements.

Delivery Format for Continuing Education

You do not necessarily need to take time off to attend a course to complete your requirements. While that is an option, accountants who have busy schedules typically prefer different delivery formats that are more convenient. You will need to decide what type of format will keep you engaged and will cater with your learning preferences. You can attend seminars and conferences with other accountants if you like to be surrounded by professionals. You can also study online with text-based courses, webcasts, or downloaded content. At the end of any of the courses you will need to complete an exam and pass it to get your credit.

To ensure that a school has classes that meets the standards you should verify that the provider is on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. Only after you have done your homework and reviewed your options can you choose the best accounting classes and delivery format of continuing education for an accountant.

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