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Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

Pursuant to § 54.1-4409.2, and § 54.1-4413.2, Code of Virginia, an individual who applies for an initial license, holds a Virginia individual CPA license, or applies to have their license reinstated is required to obtain CPE. Requirements for CPE are found in Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-90. Requirements for attest or compilation services provided by individuals who release or authorize the release of reports are found in Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-140

CPE requirements

Licensure status
Calendar year (CY)
Total hours required
Minimum hours required
Virginia-Specific Ethics
(included in total hours)
Providing attest and/or compilation services
(included in total hours)
Applying for initial license
The candidate has passed CPA exam and applies for licensure CY of licensure 0 hours 0 hours N/A N/A
1st CY after exam 40 hours 40 hours 2 hours in CY of licensure N/A
2nd CY after exam 80 hours 80 hours 2 hours in CY of licensure N/A
3rd CY (or more) after exam 120 hours 120 hours 2 hours in CY of licensure N/A
Licensed
Licensee provides services to public Any 3-CY reporting cycle 120 hours in
3-CY reporting cycle
20 hours per CY 2 hours per CY 8 hours per CY
Licensee provides services to employer but does not provide services to public Any 3-CY reporting cycle 120 hours in
3-CY reporting cycle
20 hours per CY 2 hours per CY N/A
Reinstatement of license
The applicant submits reinstatement application Current CY 120 hours in 3-CY reporting cycle 120 hours in 3-CY reporting cycle 2 hours in CY of reinstatement N/A

 

The Board recognizes that 50 minutes of CPE participation equals 1 hour of CPE credit. One semester hour of credit for courses at an accredited institution constitutes 15 hours of CPE and 1 quarter-hour of credit constitutes 10 hours of CPE.

CPE requirements may be adjusted depending upon when a Virginia CPA begins or ceases to provide services to the public or to an employer in accordance with Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-90. Specific questions may be addressed to VBOA.

Licensees who do not provide services to the public or to an employer must apply for the Active – CPE Exempt status and if not approved, must still comply with CPE requirements.  Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-90 requires licensees who resume providing services to the public or to an employer must first obtain at least 120 hours of CPE prior to providing those services. The 120 hours must include a two-hour Virginia-Specific Ethics Course (an annual requirement).

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Virginia-Specific Ethics Course

The VBOA requires that all licensees (excluding those approved for the Active – CPE Exempt status) complete on an annual basis a Virginia-Specific Ethics Course that complies with Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-90. The two-hour Virginia-Specific Ethics Course is a separate and distinct annual requirement from the one-time American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) ethics course needed for initial licensure.

It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure that the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course taken complies with Board Regulations and Policy. The Virginia-Specific Ethics Course must be completed no later than January 31 to meet the requirement for the previous calendar-year. Licensees will not be granted CPE credit for completing a Virginia-Specific Ethics Course from a non-approved sponsor/provider.

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Virginia-Specific Ethics Course sponsors/providers

The Board has approved the Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) as the only provider of the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course content/material. The Board has also approved that all instructors of the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course must hold an Active Virginia CPA license which is in good standing.

Sponsors desiring to provide the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course must:

  • Obtain the course contents/materials from the VSCPA
  • Be pre-approved annually by Board staff as a provider of this course
  • Be listed on the Board’s website as an approved provider of this course
  • Submit all participant comments to the Board within 60 days of receipt

Sponsors will be required to demonstrate their compliance with the Board’s policy on content/material and instructor requirements prior to approval. Sponsors not pre-approved annually by Board staff will not be recognized by the Board as an acceptable Virginia-Specific Ethics Course provider.

Please complete and return the sponsor/provider application by email, fax or by mail.

Virginia Board of Accountancy
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 402
Henrico, VA 23233
Phone: (804) 367-8505
Fax: (804) 527-4409
Email: boa@boa.virginia.gov

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Qualifying CPE

It is the intent of the VBOA that all CPE (1) meet the requirements of Board Regulations 18VAC5-22-90 and 18VAC5-22-140; (2) Board Policy #4; (3) provide course content pertinent to the profession; and (4) assist the licensee in becoming a better accounting professional. The VBOA accepts CPE obtained through a variety of forums, providing that the licensee is able to demonstrate that learning objectives were met. The VBOA does not currently require licensees to obtain CPE from specific or approved sponsors (except for the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course). However, all licensees (excluding those approved for the Active – CPE Exempt status) are required to obtain on an annual basis two CPE hours of a Virginia-Specific Ethics Course. In addition, pursuant to Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-140, individuals who release or authorize the release of reports on attest or compilation services provided for persons or entities located in Virginia must obtain on an annual basis a minimum of eight hours of CPE related to attest or compilation services. A variety of continuing professional education is acceptable, including:

  • Attending a seminar or educational conference
    Instructors must have up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter and use appropriate teaching materials. Attendance should be monitored in a manner that can be verified by the VBOA.
  • Earning course credit at an accredited college or university
  • Completing a course through nano-learning or incremental CPE
    Nano-learning is known as learning and absorbing information in smaller increments of time. The VBOA accepts nano-learning CPE.
  • Completing a self-study course
    Licensee must be able to demonstrate that learning objectives were met.
  • Making a presentation. The licensee may present at a professional seminar, educational conference or classroom setting, provided that up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter is demonstrated and appropriate teaching materials are used.
  • Producing written materials. The topic must be relevant to providing services to the public or an employer using the CPA title. The material is formally reviewed by an independent party and must be published in a book, magazine or similar publication used by individuals who provide services to the public using the CPA title or to an employer using the CPA title.
  • Additional Board approved CPE.  The Board has approved the following CPE (without a certificate of completion indicating CPE hours earned) for passing the following exams (in the year passed), not to exceed a total of 60 hours over a 3-year rolling period:
    • 15 CPE hours for passing the CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) Exam
    • 15 CPE hours for passing the CISA (Certified Information System Auditor) Exam
    • 20 CPE hours for passing both the qualification and certification CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) Exam
    • 20 CPE hours for passing each section of the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) Exam
    • 20 CPE hours for passing the Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP) Exam
    • 20 CPE hours for passing the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination (Series 65) Exam
    • 25 hours for passing each section of the CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst) Exam
    • 30 CPE hours for passing each section of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Exam
    • 30 CPE hours for passing the Virginia Bar Exam (or a jurisdiction that has reciprocity with Virginia). A licensee may only receive CPE credit for passing one Bar Exam.

The Board will determine on a case-by-case basis the acceptability of other forms of CPE.

The VBOA has restrictions on the CPE hours a licensee may regard as valid:

  • Repeat presentations may not be counted as additional CPE.
  • During each 3-year period, a maximum of 30 hours for preparing and making presentations is allowable.
  • One semester-hour of credit for courses at an accredited college or university constitutes 15 hours of CPE and one quarter-hour of credit constitutes 10 hours of CPE.

The Board has also approved that Continuing Education (CE), Continuing Education Units (CEU), Continuing Legal Education (CLE), Continuing Medical Education (CME), Quality Assurance Service (QAS) and semester and quarter-hour credits are acceptable as CPE credits.

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CPE reciprocity/home state exemption

If a CPA holds an active license in another state and their principal place of business is located in that state, he or she is eligible for CPE reciprocity/home state exemption. Virginia will accept all CPE from any jurisdiction that is substantially equivalent to Virginia. The concept of substantial equivalency was developed to allow licensed CPAs to practice across jurisdictions more easily. Visit the NASBA website to view jurisdictions substantially equivalent to Virginia.

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Sponsors providing CPE (excluding the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course) guidelines

The Board does not maintain agreements with sponsors, pre-qualify sponsors or individual courses, or require a licensee to obtain CPE from specific sponsors (except for the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course). However, sponsors are encouraged to comply with the Statement on Standards for CPE Programs issued jointly by the AICPA and NASBA.

Virginia licensees (excluding those approved for the Active – CPE Exempt status) must complete the annual CPE requirements, including the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course, no later than January 31 of each year to meet the previous calendar-year requirement.

At a minimum, sponsors must provide licensees documentation in the form of a certificate of completion that includes the sponsor’s name, participant’s name, course/content name, date taken and CPE hours earned.

All sponsors should be familiar with Board Policy #2, sponsors providing CPE.

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CPE reporting period

The VBOA uses a rolling three calendar-year period to determine CPE compliance. This period includes the three calendar-years prior to the current calendar-year. For example, if asked by VBOA to produce evidence of CPE compliance, submit such evidence for the three calendar-years prior to the current calendar-year.

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CPE compliance reviews

On a monthly basis the VBOA randomly selects licensed CPAs in Virginia for CPE compliance. The VBOA will notify licensees selected for a CPE compliance review. If selected, licensees will be required to visit the NASBA-sponsored VBOA CPE Tracking System to complete the CPE audit process. A user account has already been created for you. You will need your Virginia CPA license number and password to log in to your account. Once you have logged into your account you will need to enter your completed CPE credit information, attaching any supporting documentation and clicking “Submit to Board” to file your CPE records with the Board electronically. As a function of this CPE review process, licensees may be required to provide additional documentation as requested by the VBOA to support compliance.

In addition to the random selection process, licensed CPAs in Virginia will also be selected for a CPE compliance review as a component of any open investigation (enforcement case), or in situations where the VBOA believes that a CPE compliance review is warranted.

Licensees should not submit CPE documentation during the annual renewal process unless specifically asked to by the VBOA. However, CPE documentation must be retained for the three calendar years preceding the current calendar year.

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CPE documentation requirements

Required documentation can generally be satisfied by providing:

  • Certificates of completion from the CPE sponsor(s) including the sponsor(s)’ name, participant’s name, course/content name, date taken, and CPE hours earned when attending a seminar, educational conference or completing a self-study course.
  • Official transcript of the college or university for earning course credit at an accredited institution.
  • Syllabus/agenda and signed statement indicating the length of the presentation when making a presentation.
  • Copy of published article, book or written material (or proof of publication) when producing written material used by individuals who provide services to the public using the CPA title or to an employer using the CPA title.

The VBOA has restrictions on the types of documentation it regards as acceptable. The VBOA will not accept receipts, registration confirmations, cancelled checks, outlines, PowerPoint presentations or sign-in sheets, etc., as valid CPE documentation.

The VBOA will determine on a case-by-case basis whether other forums are acceptable for CPE credit. The VBOA may also request additional documentation to support compliance. For a complete summary of CPE accepted by the VBOA, see Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-90F.

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Retention requirements for CPE documentation

Licensees must retain CPE documentation for the three calendar-years preceding the current calendar-year.

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CPE Tracking System

The VBOA, in cooperation with NASBA, is now offering a CPE Tracking System for all active Virginia CPAs. This system is available for your use at no charge and allows you to keep track of and store all of your CPE records in one location.

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CPE violations

As the result of a CPE compliance review, the VBOA may find that a licensee has violated the CPE requirements during the reporting period. In such cases enforcement action will be taken and the licensee will generally be offered a consent agreement and be subject to disciplinary action.
A licensee may also determine on their own (outside of the CPE compliance review program) that they are CPE deficient for a specific reporting period. The licensee should notify Christine Rappe, CPE Coordinator immediately when it is determined that a CPE deficiency has occurred. Please login to the CPE Tracking System to enter your completed CPE credit information, attaching any supporting documentation and clicking “Submit to Board” to file your CPE records with the Board electronically.
In accordance with Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-90H, depending on the facts and circumstances, the VBOA may waive all or part of the CPE requirement for one or more calendar-years or grant additional time for complying with the CPE requirement, provided that the waiver or deferral is in the public interest. However, requests for a waiver or a deferral must generally be received in advance of the deadline for CPE completion. It is the policy of the VBOA that such waivers or deferrals be considered only in situations resulting from extreme medical hardship or active military deployment. Requests for a waiver or deferral made under this section will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Such approvals are rare.

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CPE FAQs

Please review the frequently asked questions regarding CPE.

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