Did you believe that once you finished college with your degree in accounting you’d be done with homework forever? Or maybe you took your education further and received a post graduate degree. Surely the endless nights of studying and the ever-present stressful tests are things of the past. Aren’t they?
This is not the case if you become a CPA. In order to stay on top of an ever-changing industry, accountants are in for a lot of studying for the rest of their professional careers. This is because the industry is constantly evolving, and in order to provide a good service, continuing professional education (CPE) is absolutely necessary.
CPE courses ensure that CPAs are always on top of the latest developments in the industry. If there are new techniques or new regulations (which there commonly are), a qualified accountant needs to be aware of them and incorporate them in his or her business. A continuing professional education is the only way to keep up with everything that is happening around them.
But then you say: isn’t that true of any business? Isn’t it simply good practice to try to stay on top of the changes in the industry? The simple answer is: yes. But there is more to it for accountants. The accounting industry is highly regulated because so many people depend on CPAs to help them with their taxes or business transactions. By requiring a certain amount of continued learning, any client can be confident their CPA is qualified to do the work.
Continuing professional education should start by making sure your coursework is technically accurate and current with modern practices. Whether you are doing the program online or in a classroom, your instructors should be able to provide you with the learning activities you need to fully grasp the material.
Take the time to find the program that will fill your individual needs. Many providers offer coursework in accounting, auditing, computer applications, estate planning, professional ethics, taxation, and more. Consider what you need for your continuing professional education and register for classes accordingly.
As a student, you should expect a quality education from your program. Make sure that your provider can deliver the necessary materials in a timely and efficient manner, and that they are very clear about their learning methodologies. Do they clearly define the lesson objectives? Will they guide you through the process? Do they provide evidence of satisfactory completion?
By taking the time to participate in continuing professional education, you will be able to provide a much better service to your clients. Word will spread and you will continue to bring in new clients a build a strong accounting business.
Professional education has evolved dramatically since its inception. For more information on CPE, read my articles. I write professionally about continuing professional education for accountants and am happy to share my years of experience.