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Arizona State Board of Accountancy

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These are frequently asked questions about continuing professional education (CPE):  
  What CPE is required?
How is CPE credited?
What programs qualify for CPE?
Are there any exemptions to the CPE requirement?
Can CPE in excess of the requirements be carried over from one renewal to the next?
What are the CPE reporting requirements?
What are the CPE record retention requirements?
What is a CPE Audit?
What could happen if my CPE is found to be deficient as part of the audit?
What constitutes the timeframe for a registration period?
What form do I fill out to report my CPE?
 What CPE is Required?  
  All holders of an Arizona CPA certificate are required every renewal period to:
  1. Complete 80 hours of CPE, regardless of whether employment is in public accounting, industry, business or government. Of the 80 hours of CPE, the following is required:

    1. A minimum of 16 hours of classroom or live/interactive webinar.

    2. A minimum of 40 hours must be in accounting, auditing, taxation, business law, or consulting services of which a minimum of 16 hours must be in the subject areas of accounting, auditing, or taxation.
    a helpful hint Helpful Hint – While half of CPE may be in other categories, it is recommended that they be in subjects that promote improvement of accounting and business skills.

  2. Complete four hours of Arizona-specific ethics which includes at a minimum one hour each of the following:

    1. Ethics related to the practice of accounting including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Professional Code of Conduct.

    2. The Arizona State Board of Accountancy statutes and administrative rules.
    a helpful hint Helpful Hint – If you are unable to locate a course in a classroom environment, to locate a webinar, simply conduct a web search for live or interactive webinar courses. You can narrow your web search to include any topic of interest for the webinar class you are seeking. You may also want to check with the various state society websites as many of the state societies offer interactive webinar classes. You may also find other CPE providers by searching "CPE" on the web.

 How is CPE credited?  
  Continuing professional education (CPE) is measured by the hour. A class hour shall consist of a minimum of 50 continuous minutes of instruction and a half class hour shall consist of a minimum of 25 continuous minutes of instruction. CPE credit shall be given in half‐hour increments for periods of not less than one class hour. Credit shall not be allowed for repeat participation in any seminar or course during the registration period.
  1. Correspondence Programs
    1. Each correspondence program hour is worth one CPE credit hour
  2. Instruction received at accredited colleges or universities
    1. Per semester system credit hour = 15 CPE hours
    2. Per quarter system credit hour = 10 CPE hours
    3. Per noncredit class hour = 1 CPE hour
  3. CPE Lecturer or Discussion Leader
    1. The Board shall determine the amount of credit on the basis of actual presentation hours, and up to one additional hour of actual preparation time for each hour of presentation. A registrant may only claim as much preparation time as is actually spent for a presentation.
    2. Credit is limited to only one presentation of any seminar or course with no credit for repeat teaching of that course.
    3. Total credit earned as a lecturer or discussion leader, including preparation time may not exceed 40 credit hours of the renewal period's requirement.
    4. Total credit earned for acting as a CPE Lecturer or Discussion Leader or Publishing Books or Articles may not exceed 40 hours per renewal cycle.
  4. Publishing Books or Articles
    1. Credit may be earned for writing accounting material not used in conjunction with a seminar if the material addresses an audience of certified public accountants, is at least 3,000 words in length, and is published by a recognized third-party publisher of accounting material or a sponsor. For each 3,000 words of original material written, the author may earn two credit hours. Multiple authors may share credit for material written.
    2. Writing and publishing articles or books that contribute to the accounting profession may be counted for a maximum of 20 hours of CPE credit during each renewal period.
    3. Total credit earned for acting as a CPE Lecturer or Discussion Leader or Publishing Books or Articles may not exceed 40 hours per renewal cycle
  5. Introductory computer courses
    1. A registrant may earn a maximum of 20 hours of CPE during each renewal period by completing introductory computer related courses.
 What programs qualify for CPE?  
  The Arizona State Board of Accountancy does not pre-approve CPE providers. Pursuant to A.A.C. R4-1-453(B), credit may be given for a program that provides a formal course of learning at a professional level and contributes directly to the professional competence of the participants and individual registrants are responsible for understanding whether the CPE they elect to take qualifies or not.
  1. A qualified program shall:
    1. Be developed by persons knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter
    2. Provide written outlines or full text
    3. Be administered by an instructor or organization knowledgeable in the program content
    4. Utilize teaching methods consistent with the study program

  2. Correspondence programs will qualify, if they meet the provisions above and if the sponsors maintain written records of each student's participation and records of the program outline for three years following the conclusion of the program.

  3. Notwithstanding the foregoing, an ethics program taught or developed by an employer or co-worker of a registrant does not qualify for the ethics requirements.

 Are there any exemptions to the CPE requirement?  
  Good Cause
A.R.S. § 32-730(C) allows the Board to grant a partial or complete exemption on a demonstration of good cause. A.A.C. R4-1-453(H) allows the Board to grant a full or partial exemption from CPE requirements on demonstration of good cause for a disability for only one registration period. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 32-701(15) good cause includes a disability, an illness, a physical or mental condition, military service, financial hardship, a natural disaster, or any condition or circumstance that the Board deems relevant.
 Can CPE in excess of the requirements be carried over from one renewal to the next?  
  A.A.C. R-4-453(C)(5) requires that a registrant report total CPE hours completed during the registration renewal period. Hours that exceed the number required for the current registration renewal period may not be carried forward to a subsequent registration renewal period. top
 What are the CPE reporting requirements?  
  A.C.C. R4-1-453(D) requires that an applicant for reinstatement or renewal or a registrant who is subject to an audit may provide a signed statement, certifying under penalty of perjury, that the applicant or registrant has completed the CPE requirements. This statement shall list:
  1. Sponsoring organization;
  2. Location of program;
  3. Title of program or description of content; and
  4. Dates attended.
a helpful hint Helpful Hint – Effective September 12, 2013, the Board will no longer require the location of CPE to be reported. This operational change will be subsequently updated in the Arizona Administrative Code to remove the requirement in rule so the rule will be consistent with the operational practice.

 What are the CPE record retention requirements?  
  A.C.C. R4-1-453(F) requires that a registrant maintain for three years from the date their registration application was dated as received by the Board and provide the Board upon request the following documents: course outlines and certificates of completion that include registrant's name, course provider or sponsor, course title, credit hours, and date of completion. top
 What is a CPE Audit?  
  A CPE audit is an examination of the records required to be retained by registrants pursuant to (A.A.C R4-1-453(F)) that demonstrate that they completed the required CPE. On a random, computer-selected basis, registrants are asked to provide the Board, within 30 days, this information for CPE listed on their latest renewal registration. These records are reviewed by a Board-appointed CPE Advisory Committee. If you should be selected for an audit, you will find the attached article published by the Arizona Society of CPA's to be very helpful. (Business Article). top
 What could happen if my CPE is found to be deficient as part of the audit?  
  The following are the most common statutes violated during a CPE audit and discipline can range from administrative penalties to suspension until CPE deficit is cured, or any combination thereof.

A.R.S. § 32-741(A)(15)
Failing to respond or furnish information in a timely manner to the board or its designated agent, if the information is legally requested by the board and is in the registrant's possession or control.

A.R.S. § 32-741.02
The board shall, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, suspend the certificate of any certified public accountant or public accountant who fails to show proof, in accordance with A.R.S. § 32-730, subsection C, of compliance with the continuing professional education requirements established by the board. If the board determines that the failure was for reasonable cause or excusable neglect, the board may require compliance as expeditiously as possible. If the certified public accountant or public accountant fails to reinstate the certificate within twelve months after the date of suspension, the certificate expires. The board shall not reinstate a certificate that has expired pursuant to this subsection unless the certified public accountant or public accountant complies with section A.R.S. § 32-730.03.
 What constitutes the timeframe for a registration period?  
  The registration period includes the time from the first day of the month after your birth or registration month to the last day of your birth or registration month, two years later (i.e. July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015). Your registration month is the month of your birth for your individual registration or the month in which your firm was established for your firm registration. Individuals register in the odd or even year of their birth (born 1960, registration year is even year such as 2012, 2014, etc.). top
 What form do I fill out to report my CPE?  
  Please log in to your personal account on the Board’s portal and click on CPE List menu option. You may log your CPE at any time between renewals and your coursework is saved to your account and will be seamlessly integrated with your biennial renewal when it’s time for you to register. If needed, further instructions can be found in the CPE List and printed for reference to aid in your completion of the web-based form.