Virginia CPA CPE requirements differ depending upon the "status" of the CPA and the number of years which have passed since successful completion of the CPA exam.
The Virginia Board of Accountancy is the governing body overseeing the requirements for the number and the type of CPE hours which a CPA must complete in order to renew his or her Virginia CPA license.
Please refer to these clarifications when reading the requirements that follow:
- Referring to one's self as a Certified Public Accountant or CPA, includes the use of the "CPA" title on individual business cards, letterhead and all other documents (excluding a CPA wall certificate).
- The performance of professional services to the public for purposes of CPE requirements include: accounting or auditing skills, issuing reports on financial advisory or consulting services, preparing tax returns, or giving tax advice.
For the purposes of this article, the terms "CPE credits" and "CPE hours" are used interchangeably.
CPE requirements for Virginia CPA's who use the CPA designation and perform services for the public.
- Any person referring to himself or herself as a Certified Public Accountant or "CPA," and who is performing or offering to perform the professional services as listed above for the public must complete 120 CPE credits during each CPE reporting cycle with a minimum of 20 CPE hours per CPE reporting year. The CPA licensee may choose the specific courses and areas of study.
Timing of application for Virginia CPA license:
- Any person applying for a CPA certificate three or more years after successful completion of the CPA exam, who intends to provide any of the professional services described above, must complete the 120 CPE hour requirement as though it had been applicable during the three years prior to the date of his application.
- Any CPA certificate holder whose original application for CPA certification was received by the board less than three years after completion of the CPA exam, and who provides any of the professional services described above (after December 31, 2000), must have obtained 40 CPE credits within the 12 months preceding the date such services are first offered to the public. The CPA must complete the remaining 80 CPE hours by the end of the second CPE reporting year following the date of providing the indicated professional services. A minimum of 20 CPE hours must be completed in each of these two CPE reporting years.
CPE requirements for Virginia CPA's who use the CPA designation and perform services other than for the public.
- Any person referring to himself or herself as a Certified Public Accountant or "CPA," and who is performing or offering to perform any professional services as listed above for an employer or other organization or as an educator in the field of accounting, and not for the public, must meet the following CPE requirements to renew a CPA certificate:
- For the three-year reporting period beginning January 1, 2006, a minimum of 90 CPE credits with a minimum of 15 CPE hours per year
- For the three-year reporting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2009, a minimum of 120 CPE credits with a minimum of 20 CPE hours per year.
- Any person applying for a CPA certificate three or more years after successful completion of the CPA exam, who intends to provide any of the professional services described above, must complete the 120 CPE credit requirement as though it had been applicable during the three years prior to the date of his application.
- If the CPA obtained his CPA certificate at a time when he did not intend to provide services for the public and later decides to provide for the public the services, then he or she must, prior to performing such services, meet the 120 CPE credit requirement.
Requirements for retaining records of continuing education.
- It is the responsibility of the CPA to keep all evidence of completion of CPE credits for a period of three years. The documentation must be in the form of a sponsor provided certificate of completion or other verification or written statement from the provider of the CPE course.
- The CPA certificate holder has the responsibility to provide documentation of completed CPE to the board only if requested.
Granting of continuing professional education credit.
The Virginia Board of Accountancy permits credit hours for CPE courses as follows:
- One credit hour for each 50-minute period of classroom instruction.
- CPE Credit for College Courses: One semester hour of college credit is worth 15 CPE credits. One quarter hour of college credit is worth 10 CPE credits.
- CPE Credit for Instructors: A CPA certificate holder can also gain CPE credit for instructing courses that qualify for CPE credit. Instructors. The instructor must keep evidence to support the request for CPE credit and will be awarded two additional CPE credits for each CPE credit hour of instruction. The instructor will not be given CPE credit for "substantially identical" subject matter in subsequent sessions of the course. The CPE credit given for instructing is limited to 30 CPE credits per CPE reporting cycle.
- Interactive vs Non-interactive Self study CPE: CPE hours for self-study courses should be established by the sponsor. Interactive self-study programs receive CPE hours equal to the average completion time. Non-interactive self-study programs receive CPE hours equal to one-half of the average completion time.
Comparing CPE Providers
Because the Virginia Board of Accountancy does not require registration of CPE providers, the following are some things to look for when selecting a CPE course.
* Does the provider specify written learning objectives for each course?
* Does the provider require a final exam with a minimum passing score at the conclusion of the course?
* Does the provider issue certificates of completion for each course?
The Virginia Board of Accountancy does not require that CPE providers be pre-approved or registered with the state board. Therefore, Virginia CPA's should be diligent in selecting a quality provider of CPA CPE.