NASBA, AICPA PROPOSE CHANGES IN CPE STANDARDS

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs have proposed revising the standards for continuing professional education to provide greater flexibility for online learning and self-study.

The proposed revisions would be the first update to the CPE standards since 2002. The updated Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education Programs would offer more flexibility for innovations in learning techniques and allow for future considerations around outcome-based learning.

Other significant revisions involve group Internet-based learning and self-study programs; issuance requirements for half credits under self-study programs; promotional and course announcement information for in-house training programs; and alternate methods for calculating credits for self-study programs.

Changes to the standards first came under discussion during a meeting of NASBA's CPE Advisory Committee in May of last year, and a 13-member task force was formed. It included CPE program sponsors, CPE Advisory Committee members, AICPA representatives, state board of accountancy members, state society members, and educators. Together, they reviewed and analyzed the suggested changes they had received. A joint AICPA and NASBA CPE standards Committee then reviewed the work of the task force and finalized its recommendations for the revised CPE standards.

AICPA vice president for examinations and continuing professional education Craig Mills was a member of the task force and said that the revised standards would provide a significant improvement. "They provide protection to the public, clear guidance to CPE sponsors, and anticipate and allow for changes in CPE as technology and learning theory evolve," he said. "We are looking forward to getting the profession's feedback."

An exposure draft of the proposed revisions is available for download at www.nasba.org or www.aicpa.org. Comments are due on the exposure draft by Oct. 13, 2011. More information about the standards is available at www.learningmarket.org.

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