As of January 1, 2017, these are the requirements to maintain a credential:
- Maintain membership in good standing in the AICPA.
- Pay an annual credential renewal fee (with your AICPA dues).
- Maintain an active CPA permit*, certificate, or license issued by a legally constituted state authority.
- Complete 20 hours of continuing professional development within the credential’s body of knowledge annually.
- Agree that if these requirements are not satisfied, the credential will be rescinded and the reinstatement requirements must be met to regain the credential.
*If you are a CFF or ABV credential holder, you must have a valid and unrevoked CPA certificate issued by a legally constituted state authority and meet other prescribed requirements, but you do not need an active CPA license.
The new requirements provide expanded opportunities for you to develop the professional competencies necessary to support continued success in your area of specialization. These changes are designed to reflect best practices in education and align with the strategies outlined in the AICPA Future of Learning — an AICPA initiative to help CPAs maintain relevancy in a rapidly evolving global marketplace. The competency-based model focuses on building relevant skills and real-world learning as the primary metrics of success.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is the set of learning activities approved by NASBA or a legally constituted state authority that enables CPAs to maintain and improve their professional competence.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the learning activities approved by NASBA, a legally constituted state authority, or other professional body; or unstructured learning activities as outlined by the AICPA that enable credential holders to maintain and improve their professional competence.
Like CPE, CPD is designed to help CPAs achieve and maintain quality in professional services. In contrast to CPE, CPD includes both structured and unstructured learning activities, opening up new possibilities for growth as you work toward your immediate and future career goals.
The AICPA credential renewal requirements now encompass expanded ways to meet the annual 20-hour commitment, including work-based learning, learning from other professional bodies, mentoring and coaching. The AICPA recognizes that learning and development can take place in different ways and in a variety of environments. The new requirements also allow for the recording of increments as small as 10 minutes providing you with greater flexibility.
This went into effect in January 2017. You will attest to meeting the new professional development requirements on your 2018 dues bill. Audits under the new guidelines will begin in August 2018.
Structured activities may include self-study text or online courses, webcasts, live or virtual conferences or courses with a formal structure and an explicit, expected outcome.
Unstructured activities may include coaching, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, on-the-job training and taskforces. When considering whether or not you should include an activity, we recommend you consider the following:
- How is what I am learning relevant to the credential body of knowledge?
- Is what I’m learning related to current or future standards, guidelines or best practices?
- How are the learning outcomes of this activity relevant to my competency development?
- What benefits does the activity offer toward my current or future credential-related career goals?
You must complete a minimum 10 hours of structured learning to meet the professional development renewal requirements. If you have questions about the different types of learning opportunities, please review the glossary or call Member Service at 1.888.777.7077.
No, you are not required to have unstructured learning hours, but we encourage you to check out the glossary and discover what types of learning and professional development activities qualify toward meeting the new professional development requirement.
The minimum time allotment that can be recorded is 10 minutes.
Many unstructured learning and professional development activities may already exist within your organization or within professional associations to which you already belong. The AICPA began offering unstructured learning and professional development activities designed specifically for credential holders in 2017.
Yes, unstructured learning and professional development activities are available through the AICPA in 2017.
Recording your learning and professional development throughout the year is encouraged, but not required. If you are selected for an audit, you will be required to record and submit your learning and professional development activities through the AICPA | CIMA Competency and Learning website.
Learning activities should be recorded in the “My Learning” section of the AICPA |CIMA Competency and Learning website.
The audit process will be similar; however, now credential holders who are audited will be able to submit their learning and professional development records directly through the AICPA | CIMA Competency and Learning website.
No, the changes to the requirements do not increase the likelihood of an audit. Up to 10% of credential holders will still be audited each year.
Credential holders will continue to attest to meeting their renewal requirements when paying their annual dues.
If a learning or professional development activity is relevant to more than one credential, an activity may be used to meet both credential renewal requirements.