Continuing education is getting better

By Scott D. Wiley, CAE
President & CEO
The Ohio Society of CPAs

Providing quality continuing education has always been a top priority for The Ohio Society of CPAs. As some of the state’s leading business and financial executives, CPAs must remain knowledgeable and competent in a wide range of tax, accounting and business topics. And it’s a requirement of maintaining a CPA license in Ohio.

That’s where OSCPA believes there’s a potential disconnect and a huge opportunity for the Society to provide more value in education delivery.

In our discussions with the Accountancy Board of Ohio and with our own members, it’s clear that some in the profession are far too focused on simply meeting the 120-hour CPE reporting requirement rather than viewing it as an opportunity for ongoing learning that makes them a better professional. This is in direct contrast to the intent of the rule and a point of concern for the ABO and the Society’s Executive Board and staff.

Some CPAs now think of CPE as a commodity and a chore. The proliferation of ‘all you can consume’ CPE for very low prices is feeding this trend but is not, in our opinion, a model that best serves the future of the CPA profession even if it satisfies a short-term need.

We must move beyond the mindset that easy-to-earn CPE is sufficient for maintaining a strong professional competency and edge.

Consider this fact: over the past three years, Ohio CPAs who are not members of OSCPA were nine times more likely to receive disciplinary action ranging from fines to revocation of their CPA license from the ABO. We believe there is a direct correlation between these findings and the continuing education CPAs choose to take.

As your professional society, we understand that education needs are changing. Every year, CPAs are asked to absorb and master a long list of new and complex tax laws, standards and government regulations. And taking time away from your everyday responsibilities to attend a full or two-day class to get up to speed on these changes isn’t always possible.

That’s why OSCPA continues to evolve our educational products, giving CPAs more choices for what they take and how it’s delivered – all while ensuring that it meets higher standards for content, quality and learning.

So what does that mean for you?

The Ohio Society of CPAs is committed to providing an optimal learning experience, recognizing that every CPA’s needs are unique and preferences for learning styles and formats vary from person to person.

For those who learn best in face-to face environments, we will continue to offer many live, in-person seminars and conferences each year. Many sessions from these events are available afterward in the OSCPA online store.

We’re expanding online learning opportunities to accommodate busy schedules and tighter budgets. OSCPA’s video classroom increases the variety of programs we can offer to more CPAs through webcast. High definition video and an interactive chat feature for remote participants ensures those tuning in have a quality experience similar to those sitting in the video classroom. These programs are taped and available on demand afterwards for the convenience of those who can’t participate in the live broadcast.

Finally, OSCPA will soon introduce a new series of on-demand educational courses that move beyond our traditional online CPE models. They are developed by a panel of recognized subject experts and designed to develop core competencies in key areas like tax, A&A, technology and professional development. The content is in-depth and robust, and delivered in a curriculum-based format. Successive courses will allow CPAs to define a clear cut educational plan for achieving higher competency and professional success in specific areas depending on career goals.

Best of all, you can take these courses on your own time, not just when and where they might be offered.

OSCPA is confident this direction will encourage more CPAs to embrace CPE as an opportunity for lifelong learning and building the knowledge base needed to address today’s business challenges. And we’ll continue to keep our ear to the ground so that we are continually responsive to members’ needs. What do you think?

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