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Enforcement Newsletter

January 2017


NASBA and the AICPA approved the proposed revisions to the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs (Standards) as well as the NASBA Fields of Study document, during their respective July and August 2016 Board of Directors meetings.

Published jointly by NASBA and the AICPA, the CPE Standards provide a foundation for the development, presentation, measurement and reporting of CPE programs. The Standards reference the NASBA Fields of Study document, which was also reviewed and evaluated for currency and relevancy.

“These newly approved revisions to the Standards represent the collective efforts of the CPE Committee, the CPE Standards Working Group and the various individuals and organizations that participated in the exposure draft process,” said Maria Caldwell, Esq., NASBA’s chief legal officer and director of compliance services. “Boards of Accountancy, CPAs and CPE providers have recognized the need for CPE to continue to evolve to keep pace with current learning models and the addition of nano learning and blended learning delivery methods is representative of that effort.”

Among the most significant changes to the Standards is the addition of two new instructional delivery methods: nano learning and blended learning. The 2016 Standards now require that an element of participant engagement be included in group live programs for each CPE credit. The updated Standards will provide for one-fifth (0.2) of CPE credit for nano learning, and the ability to award one-fifth (0.2) CPE credit for programs using other delivery methods after a minimum amount of credit has been awarded. Additionally, the 2016 Standards revise the definitions of group live and group Internet-based programs to focus the definitions from how the content is delivered by the instructor to how the content is received by the participants.

The changes to the Fields of Study document focus on providing categories and descriptions that are more current and relevant than the previous version. The most significant change includes the revisions to the Specialized Knowledge field of study by separating computer science applications and information technology into their own categories, and allowing Specialized Knowledge to consist of topics that are particular to specialized industries or services.

The Standards are effective September 1, 2016, and CPE sponsors will have until December 31, 2016 to comply with the Standards for programs currently under development. The Standards must be implemented at the next CPE program review or revision date for all other programs. For the NASBA Fields of Study document, the effective date is September 1, 2016, but sponsors have until December 31, 2017 to fully implement the revisions.

Interested parties are encouraged to download the Standards and the Fields of Study documents, which can be found on this page.