New California CPA CPE Requirements

New California CPA CPE Requirements

The California Board of Accountancy sets the rules and requirements for the number and type of CPE hours which a CPA must complete to renew his or her CPA license. The California Board of Accountancy does not, however, require that CPE providers be pre-approved or registered with the state board (other than the Professional Conduct and Ethics course and the Regulatory Review course). The following information pertains to The California Board requirements for CPE other Professional Conduct and Ethics and Regulatory Review courses.

The California Board of Accountancy adopted changes to CPE requirements which took effect on January 1, 2010. Under the new requirements, California CPA licensees will be required to complete a minimum amount of continuing education each year. Additional changes regarding the timing of when CPE must be completed, will take effect on January 1, 2012.

The following CPE requirements took effect on January 1, 2010:

* License renewal: A total of 80 hours of continuing education is required to renew a license from an inactive status to an active status. Of the total 80 hours, a minimum of 20 hours of CPE (including a minimum of 12 hours in technical subject matter) must be in the one-year period immediately preceding the time of license renewal.

* Converting inactive status to active: A total 80 hours of continuing education is required to convert a license from an inactive status to an active status. Of the total 80 hours, a minimum of 20 hours of CPE (including a minimum of 12 hours in technical subject matter) must be completed in the one-year period immediately preceding the time of status converting the license from inactive to active status.

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The following CPE requirement takes effect on January 1, 2012:

* A total 80 hours of continuing education will be required to renew a license in an active status. Of the 80 total hours, a minimum of 20 hours (including a minimum of 12 hours in technical subject matter) of CPE must be completed in each year of the two-year license renewal period.

Comparing CPE Providers

Because the California Board of Accountancy does not require registration of CPE providers, the following are some good questions to look for on the website of a CPE provider when selecting a CPE course or program.

* Does the provider specify written learning objectives for each course?

* Does the provider retain records for a minimum period of time? (California requires 6 years)

* Does the provider require a final exam with a minimum passing score at the conclusion of the course?

* Does the provider issue certificates of completion for each course?

* Is the course interactive?

Interactive CPE

Many states, including California, only accept self-study courses which are “interactive”. The following criteria are generally used to determine if a course or program can be considered “interactive”:

* Require frequent responses from students using questions that test for accurate understanding of the coursework.

* Provide feedback to correctly answered questions.

* Provide feedback to incorrectly answered questions.

The California Board of Accountancy does not require that CPE providers be pre-approved or registered with the state board (other than the Professional Conduct and Ethics course and the Regulatory Review course). Therefore, California CPA’s should be diligent in selecting a quality CPA CPE provider.