Ohio Society of CPAs Starts Offering 'Micro CPE' Courses

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The Ohio Society of CPAs has begun providing a series of “micro” learning courses for CPAs packaged in 10-minute modules.

Called Quick Byte, the courses are the first micro learning resources developed by a state CPA association, and the first programs under one hour to qualify for CPA continuing education in Ohio after a landmark rule change last year.

Last year, the Ohio Society of CPAs 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 First State to Allow 10-Minute Incremental CPE for Accountants). Last week, Maryland followed suit by adopting new CPE regulations for the shorter format the Maryland Association of CPAs has dubbed ‘nano learning’ (see Learning to Love New Ways of Learning).

Quick Byte consists of 42 courses that are 10 minutes each and can be accessed on laptops, tablets and other mobile devices. CPAs can earn 0.2 hours of credit for each Quick Byte course, which is available now.

The new learning method is supposed to be more responsive to the changing dynamics of today’s business environment. CPAs operate in a complex world of rapid-flow information and technology, the OSCPA noted, pointing out that time is at a premium, yet CPAs need quality learning resources they can quickly absorb and immediately apply to real-life business challenges.

“The nature of professional education is changing,” said OSCPA president and CEO Scott D. Wiley in a statement. “Studies show micro learning can provide the quick, focused education that CPAs need to stay current in the market place.”

The shorter video format is intended to be more convenient for an increasingly digital audience to digest. It can mean higher retention rates, according to the OSCPA, since the topics are pared down and targeted on concepts the learner needs to know right away.

Wiley, who also served on the 2013 American Institute of CPAs’ Future of Learning Task Force, a profession-wide initiative to advance the CPE model, said micro learning is highly flexible. It can be used as a quick update to a longer program, or as a niche component in a broader learning curriculum.

The Quick Byte series is grouped into three topic areas. Tax, accounting and auditing cover recent technical updates while the specialized knowledge courses offer essential skills and management topics CPAs increasingly need as they advance in their careers.

To make tracking continuing education easier, the OSCPA has also synchronized its CPE transcript tool with the Accountancy Board of Ohio’s online reporting system. Credit for courses taken through the OSCPA is automatically uploaded into the ABO reporting system in real time to help Ohio CPAs who must report continuing education credit every three years.

“We’re providing important peace of mind to CPAs by removing the administrative work of reporting their CPE,” Wiley said. “It’s one more way that we are reducing the compliance focus of CPE and putting it squarely back on learning to increase knowledge and competency.”

The OSCPA pointed out that it has innovated in other areas over the years, and said it was the first state CPA association to develop on-demand courses designed specifically for an online learning market. The society also webcasts many live learning events each year from an in-house training studio.

Wiley noted these are strategic investments the OSCPA is making to move CPA learning to a higher level and provide resources that the more than 20,000 CPAs and accounting professionals who are members need to prepare for challenges on the horizon.

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