Indiana Allows Competency-Based CPE for CPA License

News_7.15The Indiana Board of Accountancy has unanimously approved competency-based education to count toward CPA license renewal. It marks the first time in U.S. CPA profession history that competency-based, and not hours-based, education has been permanently approved.

“July 15 is a watershed occasion for the CPA profession not only in Indiana, but nationally as well,” says Indiana CPA Society President & CEO Gary Bolinger. “While this is a significant first step in reforming the CPA license renewal process, we still have a lot to learn as we go forward to ensure relevant education options for CPAs and protection of the public. And make that education more useful, valuable and relevant not only for the CPAs themselves, but in serving their clients and employers.”

The rule proposal adds two new options for obtaining the required ethics education that all CPAs licensed in Indiana must get every three years. The first new option is to take a competency-based course, with completion measured by participation, not the length of time it takes to complete. The second new option is to earn credit for experience serving in a non-compensated ethics capacity for a professional or trade organization. The traditional, four-hour classroom course will remain as the third option.

Competency-based learning is a method of education in which participants receive credit by demonstrating the mastery of subject material, instead of by counting hours spent in a classroom. This method also offers other benefits such as flexibility, ability to work at one’s own pace, and personalization. It is learner-focused and viewed as a more effective means of skill development.

Continuing professional education in the CPA profession nationwide has been hours-based since becoming required nearly 50 years ago, meaning that education is measured by the number of hours spent in a classroom or webinar.

Indiana’s rule proposal was originally introduced in August 2015. It was approved by the Indiana Board of Accountancy in November 2015. After going through the rule promulgation process, it was adopted July 15, 2016. The final steps in the process are approval by the Attorney General’s Office and signing by Gov. Mike Pence, which are likely to occur within the next 30 to 45 days.

“Using a competency-based approach to ethics education, CPAs will demonstrate that they have both acquired and applied the knowledge they have learned,” says John Kane, chair of the Indiana Board of Accountancy.

The CPA Center of Excellence®, which is powered by the Indiana CPA Society, has developed a competency-based, online interactive course on ethics. The course will soon be available to CPAs who want to take advantage of this new option for ethics education in Indiana.

“The course we’ve developed is both unique and innovative,” says CPA Center of Excellence® strategist Jess Halverson Bowyer. “It was created by experts in ethics education and has been tested and very favorably reviewed by several leading Indiana CPAs. We are excited and proud to offer this product to the CPA profession, and for it to be recognized as the first competency-based course in the history of the CPA profession to officially count for credit.”

Although the CPA Center of Excellence® specializes in competency-based learning, both the CPA Center of Excellence® and the Indiana CPA Society also strongly support experience in the forms of hands-on work, on-the-job training and mentoring as an effective form of education. Experience of this nature has also never counted as credit toward CPA license renewal in Indiana.