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The CPE Credit: An Unsung Hero

Updated on January 8, 2012
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Keith Schroeder writes The Wealthy Accountant blog with 30 years experience in the tax field. He is the tax adviser of Mr. Money Mustache.

The loudest moan in the tax office starts about mid-summer. The boss can no longer deny the inevitable; it is time to sign everyone up to get their CPE credit. The cost of continuing professional education can be staggering. Not only is the cost of all the required courses expensive, they may require travel costs and time away from the office, billable time. The temptation is to apply for the cheapest course possible, preferably an online course that can be knocked out quickly so the accountants can get back to work. Easy, cheap, and fast is the mantra in some tax offices. But before you succumb to the temptation, ask yourself: Is this the kind of professional I want to hire?

Making CPE Credit Fun and Profitable

CPE Credits should not be viewed through the same lens as a root canal. A well thought out CPE program can be affordable for the boss, educating for the accountant, and enlightening to the client. What appears to be cheap at first glance could cost you thousands in billable services. High paying services are not run-of –the-mill or off the shelf. If you want the big bucks (boss), a growing and secure career (accountant employee), and happy clients that enjoy paying you for value-added service, you will need to prime the pump with powerful advice, gained from a variety of sources, including CPE courses.

The internet is plastered with promises of cheap CPE credits. It seems like there is a race to see who can put together the cheapest, watered-down program that will be counted toward CPE requirements. If you would be embarrassed if clients found out you are taking a shortcut, then you might want to focus on quality rather than cost.

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Super CPE Credit That Doesn’t Break the Bank

CPE courses can fit within the budget and grow your practice or career at the same time. Treasury Circular 230 is clear on what counts for continuing professional education: Federal tax issues. As a tax professional, you also want a CPE course that will at least discuss state tax issues as they relate to the Federal income tax return. A CPE course should also provide practical application of lessons taught.

There are two types of CPE providers today: those catering to the cheap and providing low quality and the value-added program that teaches tax strategy and application so attendees can bring the new learned skills back to the office to serve clients. You want the later. There is nothing cheap about a worthless CPE course. You want CPE credit that pays you back.

It is important to note: you must apply what you learn to experience a return on invested time and capital. Don’t succumb to temptation. Build a proactive CPE strategy. Your career, clients, and pocketbook will thank you.

More Articles for the Tax Professional


Online CPE Courses for CPAs: Use online CPE courses that are low-cost to build your bottom line.

Cheap CPE for EAs: Low-cost CPEs that help enrolled agents take it to the competition.

9 Best Tax Software Programs: Review who has the best and worst tax software on the market today.

5 Questions to Ask Your Tax Preparer: Five questions every taxpayer must ask her tax preparer; five questions every tax pro must be ready to answer.

CPE Credits That Pay You: Get paid to complete your CPE requirements.


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