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) are 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 (including CPE) 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 ongoing CPD 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 of unstructured learning as small as 10 minutes providing you with greater flexibility.
No. You can continue to obtain credential-specific CPE like you have done in the past. The change allows you to consider other professional learning opportunities that might not have previously qualified.
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?
Credential renewal occurs in July of each year. Credential holders must meet the recertification requirements in the calendar year prior to renewal. If credential holder is newly credentialed, CPD does not need to be completed until the year following receipt of credential.
If selected for audit and you have unstructured learning to report, you will be asked to submit these activities in a log provided to you by AICPA staff. This form will request the name of your unstructured learning activity such as coaching, mentoring, on the job training, etc., dates of activity, format and length, and you will be asked to briefly describe how this activity directly applies to one or more of the bullets in the question above.
Since recertification audit selection is random and reporting requests are for the prior year ending Dec 31st, we suggest that you record your unstructured learning as it occurs and retain these records along with your structured learning for the reporting period.
CFF, CITP and PFS credential holders must complete a minimum 10 hours of structured learning to meet the professional development renewal requirements. ABV changed recertification requirements beginning January 1, 2019 and now require 60 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every 3 years with a minimum of 10 hours annually. Since requirements can vary by credential, you should familiarize yourself by reviewing the pertinent credential handbook(s) available on our website.
If you have questions about the different types of learning opportunities, please 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.
Credential holders will continue to attest to meeting their renewal requirements when paying their annual dues. The link to the actual attestation you are making is included on the dues bill. To learn more details about your annual renewal requirements, please visit your credential recertification webpage.
Yes. 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. And if it is CPE, it may also be used to meet your CPA license requirements.