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    The People Have Spoken: Is It Time for NASBA To Revisit CPE?

    By | March 10, 2014

    Before we share the following our own Amber Setter wrote for our friends over at AccountingWEB, we're going to go ahead and make sure everyone realizes the delicious irony of this considering Amber will be chairing a free CPE webinar on March 20th.

    Now, GO!

    CPE rules are ultimately intended to protect consumers. I see the current standards for online learning as a disservice to both the advancement of the profession and to the public that we serve. We need to move away from the “how many clicks does it take to get the certificate” approach and toward a virtual environment that supports active learning.

    One might view this issue as substance over form. Solely looking to participation pop-ups is a legal form that indicates a person earned CPE credit, but it lacks the substance that presents a true and fair view of a person’s actual learning.

    During my tenure in learning and development for a public accounting firm, I saw many opportunities to improve accounting education. I see improvements to the virtual learning environment as a top priority. I presume this is something NASBA is working on, but much like release dates of CPA exam scores in 2010, it isn't sharing information in a timely manner. And to my knowledge, NASBA isn't asking the younger generations – who likely completed a university course online – how they want to learn.

    So now is your time, folks. How do you want to learn? What is working about the delivery of CPE in a virtual environment? What is missing? NASBA, are you listening?

    Assuming you have NASBA's ear, what would you want to tell them about how you learn and what you want out of your CPE?

    • Big4Veteran

      Most of my CPE I get online. I turn down the volume so I can work on other things (e.g. posting comments on GC). The important thing is to not get too distracted so that I miss the polling questions, which would of course cost me my much deserved CPE.

      Live seminars are fun too because there’s usually free food, and I can just dick around on my smart phone (e.g. posting comments on GC) during the presentations. Also, there’s no need to worry about missing polling questions during the live seminars, so that’s another plus.

      • advisorynerd

        Perfectly said.

    • CPA

      This is already addressed by CPA ethics. Actually paying attention and learning is part of our commitment to the profession. People who waste the time screwing around are doing themselves a disservice. In my experience, CPE makes me do my job better! I only pick the ones that will benefit me and/or my job. My time is valuable.

      • Big4Veteran


      • PwC Guy

        He leaps tall spreadsheets with a single bound. Stronger than an audit opinion. Faster than a speeding intern on a coffee run! He is…. Super-CPA!!… Dude. Put the Kool-aid down. You make the rest of us look bad.

      • JD,CPA

        Adrienne – Please strike this from the record.

    • Amber Setter

      It is deliciously ironic that I question the integrity of the current CPE standards while being a provider. 😀 It is a little scary for me too, considering delivering CPE is part of my livelihood and puts kibble on the table for my furbaby. Alas, there is no reward without some risk.

      What I see is to continuously improve what we are doing by learning how other industries, in this case academia, do it better. NASBA is listening and we are talking on Friday. While I am bummed that I don’t have the input of GC readers to share, I am not all that surprised. You don’t know what you don’t know.

      Or maybe you prefer to keep things the way they are. Learn on the job and click a few pop-ups now and again. Yawn.