August 2010

Continuing Professional Education courses are delivered in a variety of formats including seminars, conferences, resort events (even on cruises!), webcasts, and self-study. As in all things CPE related, each state Board of Accountancy sets the rules for what format they will accept from licensees.

And of course, each professional has a personal preference on how they like to learn. For many CPAs, self-study has long been a favorite way to earn credit hours. It’s convenient. You can study anytime, at your own pace and there are many providers offering self-study products at relatively low prices. In many states CPAs are allowed to earn 100% of their required hours using the self-study format.

Recently, however there has been a movement by state Boards of Accountancy to require at least a portion of the hours earned to involve live instruction.

• The Arizona Board of Accountancy now requires licenses to complete a minimum of 16 hours “in a classroom setting or through an interactive webinar.”

• New Jersey requires licensees to take a minimum of 60 credit hours of through “didactic instruction,” Meaning? By their definition: “in-person instruction including interactive telephone or electronic instruction.”

• South Carolina now allows: “Not more than fifty (50%) percent (20 hours) of the required hours may be in self study programs.”

When these states’ regulations changed, CPE Link started receiving calls from practitioners who had been used to taking all their hours using self-study and were now forced to find live CPE.

For this group of learners who prefer to stay home and get their education, webcasts can be a good alternative to self-study. They can meet the new “live” CPE requirement, while still enjoying the convenience of being at home (or the office). Webcasts qualify as live CPE because participants can interact with the instructor, ask and answer questions and their attendance is verified throughout the program.

And the good news is, with live webcasting, there is no test required as there is with a self-study course!


Excel is the accountant’s tool of choice for creating financial statements, budgets, and other financial reports, yet many accountants have never received any formal Excel training. As a result, they are spending more time than necessary to get their work done and maybe even opening themselves up to potential errors.

Looking to right the wrongs of being self-taught, accountants are now seeking Excel training in droves. CPE Link has seen participation grow substantially in both its live webcasts and self-study programs covering Excel. Some popular topics include speed tips, pivot tables, macros, advanced formulas, and creating charts.

Taking Excel training in webcast format allows participants to see the instructor demonstrating directly in Excel. This allows the learner to see up close the click-by-click steps needed to perform each function. In addition, the webcast format has the added benefit of enabling attendees to review the material again after the live presentation as they have access to the recorded presentation.

CPAs are learning how to use some of the more powerful features in Excel and are on their way to becoming power users. They are excited to be discovering new shortcuts that will really save them time. Some CPE Link webcast attendees have commented about their Excel training:

    “Probably the best class I’ve taken in Excel. Very practical tips…many I wish I’d known about years ago!”
    “Some of the best Excel info I’ve ever gotten!”
    “I was very pleased with the course. Excellent time-saving tips.”
    “This was an excellent presentation. I learned a lot that can be applied immediately. Very worthwhile.”

Due to the popularity of its Excel programs, CPE Link is beefing up the Excel curriculum and now offers Excel training year round.

Isn’t it time you learned some tips and tricks that can help you work faster, with fewer errors and add real value to your practice?