Want to save this page for later?


The Daily

NASBA/AICPA Release Revised Proposal on CPE Standards

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Feb 3, 2016
CPAExamThe National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the AICPA have released their revised proposal on proposed changes to continuing professional education standards, according to a story in the Journal of Accountancy. The salient feature of the original proposal, released May 19, 2015, was the introduction of "nano-learning" credits. Unlike traditional CPE sessions which are measured in hours, nano-learning would allow CPAs to get one-fifth of a credit through 10-minute self-directed lessons using electronic media. 

The NYSSCPA expressed reservations about this idea in its October comment letter, saying that while nano-learning has is becoming known as an educational format, such credits should only be used to supplement traditional CPE credits. The comment also called for limiting the number of credits that can be gained through them. 

"We believe that if true education is desired, too many credits earned exclusively through a 'nano' format may not meet the Joint Committee's ultimate objective, which is to education and maintain the professional competence of a CPA practitioner," said the Society in its letter. 

Another major change proposed by the NASBA and AICPA was the introduction of "blended learning" modules that allow credit to be awarded for programs incorporating multiple approaches, such as a workshop mixed with a series of lectures. The Society gave a nod to this.

Both features have been retained in this revised proposal. While blended learning programs have gone through some changes since the last exposure draft (partial credit cannot be awarded unless the program offers at least one full credit), the nano-learning aspect remains largely the same. Nano-learning modules retain their one-fifth credit value, and, despite the Society's suggestion, there is still no limit on how many can be taken. 

"The new nano-learning and blended learning delivery methods remain a part of the re-exposure draft and will help address the need for learning that is more personalized and on demand. We believe the revisions to the Standards have been enhanced by the most recent round of changes and will help keep CPE relevant and meaningful to CPAs," said Maria Caldwell, NASBA’s chief legal officer and director of compliance services.

Beyond these two parts, another difference between the last exposure draft and this one is that CPE sponsors have more discretion to determine how much credit their programs can offer. Under the proposed rules, CPE sponsors have the option to offer whole, half, or one-fifth credit for any program save for nano-learning, which must only be given in one-fifth increments. 

“Feedback from our stakeholders plays a valuable role in the CPE standards process and we encourage all interested parties to review the updated Exposure Draft and submit their comments,” said Clar Rosso, AICPA vice president of member learning and competency.

Comments on the new proposal are being accepted until April 30, 2016.