NASBA and AICPA Propose New Learning Methods for CPE

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The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs are proposing to revise the standards for continuing professional education for accountants, adding new methods for “blended learning” combining live classes and online study, and “nano-learning” in short 10-minute segments.

NASBA and the AICPA issued the proposed revisions Tuesday to the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education Programs and are asking for public comment.

The last time the CPE standards were revised was in 2012. In addition to making provision for nano-learning and blended learning, the proposed revisions would also require CPE providers to maintain the license information and status of CPAs, tax attorneys and enrolled agents who helped develop their accounting, auditing and tax programs. On top of that, the program descriptive materials would now need to be maintained for all programs, regardless of the field of study classification.

“The proposed revisions to the CPE Standards will continue to expand and enhance the opportunities available to CPAs and underscore the profession’s commitment to lifelong learning,” said AICPA vice president of member learning and competency Clar Rosso. “The new learning options are in line with the findings of the AICPA’s Future of Learning Task Force and reflect the realities of the shifting workplace dynamics. We encourage all stakeholders to review the updated standards and provide their feedback.”

In March, the Ohio Society of CPAs began providing “micro learning” courses for CPAs in 10-minute modules called “Quick Bytes” after the OSCPA worked with the Accountancy Board of Ohio to adopt new rules making Ohio the first state where CPAs can earn credit for micro CPE beginning in 10-minute increments (see Ohio Society of CPAs Starts Offering ‘Micro CPE’ Courses). Maryland also adopted new CPE regulations to allow what the Maryland Association of CPAs refers to as “nano learning.”

NASBA and the AICPA began reviewing the 2012 standards last April with an eye to updating them, working on revising them through a joint committee and working group. The board of directors of both NASBA and the AICPA approved the proposed revisions for an exposure draft during meetings last month.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the hard work of the CPE Committee and CPE Working Group on this endeavor and the additive approach taken to these revisions,” said NASBA’s chief legal officer and director of compliance services Maria Caldwell in a statement. “The currently available delivery methods have remained, but the new nano-learning and blended learning delivery methods reflect the need for learning that is more personalized and on demand. More and more students and professionals are learning this way and expect continuing professional education to keep pace. We believe the changes included in these revised standards will help keep CPE relevant and meaningful to CPAs.”

The exposure draft is available for download on both the NASBA and AICPA sites. NASBA and the AICPA are asking for comments to be submitted by Oct. 1, 2015.

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