The updated Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs, or Standards, has been approved and is effective as of July 1, 2012.
The process included both the addition of new standards, as well as modifications and clarifications to previously included standards. The work was undertaken by NASBA’s CPE Committee, which created a task force made up of individuals from all areas of the CPA community, including CPE program sponsors, CPE Committee members, state board of accountancy members, state society members, educators and the AICPA.
After developing their recommended revisions, the CPE Committee presented those to the Joint CPE Standards Committee, which is composed of members from NASBA and the AICPA. It, in turn, presented its recommendations to the boards of both bodies in August 2011. The boards approved an exposure draft of the proposed revisions and posted them for public comment through December 2011.
Members of NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors , state boards of accountancy and the general public were able to review the Standards in draft form and offer commentary during that period. The task force and the Joint NASBA-AICPA committee reviewed all of the comments received and made final changes in response. Those comments also were taken into consideration by the boards of NASBA and the AICPA, both of which were charged with final approval.
After review and final revisions, both boards approved the new Standards in January 2012, with an effective date of July 1, 2012. Specific implementation dates for programs are:
Rolling out revised Standards that govern an already existing set of providers and programs takes some thought and planning. “We received many questions from self-study sponsors who wanted to start using the alternative word-count formula for determining the recommended CPE credits per course,” says Jessica Luttrull, CPA, Manager of the National Registry. “We also had calls from sponsors who were concerned about the timing of the effectiveness of the new Standards with regard to programs they are publishing in the near future.”
We also received numerous comments about whether the initial March 1 effective date would provide enough time for providers to ensure that programs that were under development, and being published for the first time, were truly compliant. In response to these concerns, the effective date was moved to July 1, 2012.
In addition, NASBA has recently announced that new Initial and ADM applications will be available as of May 1, 2012. Any application submitted after May 1st will be reviewed in accordance with the revised Standards with the earliest approval date being July 1, 2012. To accommodate this transition, all Initial and ADM applications currently in process must be submitted by April 15th and will be reviewed in light of the current Standards. Any applications outstanding after April 15th will need to be resubmitted using the new form available May 1st.
“We believe this process will allow courses that were previously developed to be approved under the current Standards, while also allowing sponsors who want to comply with the new revisions the opportunity to do so in a timely fashion,”says Luttrull.
The process of revising the Standards was a complicated one and reflects a changing industry. Educators and providers are always working to adapt, and so the Standards will follow suit. Approval of a timeline for future review and evaluation of the Standards was included in this revision process.
“We wanted to put a firm revision process in place for the future, because there really wasn’t a set system before,” Luttrull explains. “Now the Standards will be reviewed, in their entirety, every two years. They will be challenged, and if there are changes warranted, those will be implemented in accordance with the established process.”