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Minnesota Board of Accountancy

Regulation • Licensure • Enforcement • Public Service

 

Continuing Professional Education


What You Need to Know About the Implementation of the Revised CPE Standards and Rules

The newly adoption Board rules—and, with them, the 2016 Statement on CPE Standards and 2016 NASBA Fields of Study—are effective as of January 9, 2017. Neither the revised Board rules nor the revised standards are retroactive.

NOTE: How CPE is described, delivered, and recorded will sound significantly different; however, in reality, the underlying requirements remain fundamentally the same. If you have met your CPE requirements in the past, following a similar CPE plan in terms of subject matter, source, and delivery method of CPE during this transitional year makes it likely you will meet your FY2018 CPE requirements.

The Board's plan to implement the new CPE rules and standards was measured and guided by the Board's mission, which includes protecting the public by requiring professional competency:

  • CPE reporting will be unavailable through Online Services beginning January 1, 2018.

  • After the Online Services upgrade, licensees will see their existing CPE hours displayed and classified according to the new rules.

  • All existing CPE hours except "Personal Development"  will have been categorized as "Technical."
    As you review the new requirements, you will see that the fields of study eligible for CPE are categorized as either "Technical" or "Non-Technical." The new rules require that you earn a minimum of 60 technical hours every rolling three-year period. Technical fields, as described in the 2016 Standards and the NASBA Fields of Study document, are roughly similar to what the Board previously referred to as "General." However, the two are not completely identical.

    By classifying all previously earned hours, with the sole exception of personal development hours, as technical, the Board intends to avoid complications in the transition that do not serve the public interest. Analysis by the Board of existing licensee CPE data shows that grandfathering in these hours as technical should place anyone who was already on the path to CPE compliance for the 2015-2018 three-year cycle in good stead under the new rules.

    In future, you will classify ethics hours as either technical (regulatory) or non-technical (behavioral). However, as noted above, for the transition all previously earned Ethics hours will be classed as technical, as will all writing and teaching hours. In future, the CPE delivery methods of writing and teaching may be technical or nontechical, depending upon their field of study. Most courses previously categorized as "Personal Development" become non-technical; but some may now be technical. Always refer to the NASBA Fields of Study or check the documentation from the CPE sponsors before deciding whether CPE earned after the new rules went into effect should be categorized as technical or nontechnical.

  • Paper reporting forms will also be updated to reflect the new requirements.

  • Once CPE in Online Services is again visible, licensees should check their information and evaluate their CPE needs for the CPE year that ends June 30, 2018, and the 3-year reporting cycle.
    If, upon reviewing the information, you have concerns that the transitional re-classifications described above have negatively impacted your ability to meet the CPE requirements or that you yourself previously misclassified hours, you can submit your CPE documentation to the Board for evaluation. (Note: This is not a waiver request, as you are not seeking exemption from rule but rather a re-examination of your hours as they apply to rule.)

    In the unlikely circumstance that someone seeking status change, licensure, or renewal, or who is undergoing CPE audit would qualify/be in compliance under the old rules but not the new, any CPE earned prior to the rule implementation date of January 9, 2018, would be evaluated for compliance with the old rules. So, although CPE from periods prior to the rules effective date of January 9, 2018, will be displayed according the new rules, compliance with the new rules is not retroactive.

 

Click the graphic below to enlarge it and see additional information.  Or download it as a PDF.

Old/New CPE Table and Summary graphic

Tools to Understand the New CPE Rules

Please avail yourself of these resources. Remember that it is your responsibility as a licensee to understand and comply with the rules as written.


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The Ledger delivers periodic updates by email*, such as CPE reporting and renewal notices, Board meeting times, and also an electronic version of The Board Report, official newsletter of the Board of Accountancy.

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CPE to Maintain Professional Competency

For those holding an Active status CPA license or a RAP license, statutes require that you participate in a program of learning designed to maintain professional competency. The program must meet the minimum standards of quality of development, presentation, measurement, and reporting of credits in the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs (Revised August 2016) jointly approved by NASBA and AICPA or other standards acceptable to the Board.

 


CPE Reporting

The CPE reporting (or "fiscal") year runs from July 1 to June 30. CPE must be earned by June 30 and reported by December 31 each year. Nonresidents seeking exemption from Minnesota CPE requirements must claim that exemption every year by December 31.

You do not need to wait until December 31 to report your CPE (or claim exemption). Once you have completed all your CPE, report it through Online Services.

Online Services

You are only able to enter your CPE for the year once via Online Services. Have all your information gathered prior to beginning. Should you subsequently need to modify your hours, contact the Board office for assistance.

 

Note: If you did not complete your required CPE by June 30 of the reporting year, you'll need to complete the necessary CPE and send the associated certificates of completion along with all accrued noncompliance fees to the Board office as soon as possible. There is no required Board form; simply send the items requested above. Fees continue to accrue until you submit the certificates of completion and correct fees to the Board office. See "CPE Non-Compliance" section below. If, upon review, you have further questions, contact the Board office.

 

Newly licensed and wondering when you start reporting CPE?

If you are newly licensed, when you must begin reporting depends upon when in the year you were licensed.

  • Licensed between January 1-June 30? You begin earning CPE that July 1-June 30 and you first report that December. Example: Licensed June 30, 2018; begin earning July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019; first report by no later than December 31, 2019.
  • Licensed between July 1-December 31? You don't need to begin earning CPE until the following year July 1-June 30 and you first report that December. Example: Licensed July 1, 2018; begin earning July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020; first report by no later than December 31, 2020.

CPE Requirements

RAPs: See MN Rules 1105.7000 for differences in your requirements and limitations.

CPAs: See below. For additional information, see MN Rules 1105.3000-1105.3350.

  • There are both single reporting year and rolling three-year CPE requirements.
  • The CPE reporting (or "fiscal") year runs from July 1 to June 30.
  • CPE for any given year must be earned within that July 1 to June 30 period and reported by no later than December 31.
  • Nonresidents seeking exemption from Minnesota CPE requirements must claim that exemption every year by December 31.
  • Each reporting year you must earn a minimum of 20 hours.
  • In any given three-year reporting period, you must have a minimum of 120 hours, with 8 of those hours being in regulatory (technical) or behavioral (nontechnical) ethics.
  • Carry forward of hours is not allowed.
  • Carry back of hours is allowed, provided the CPE noncompliance fees are paid as required by MN Rules 1105.3000 E.
  • Recordkeeping: Licensees are required to retain CPE coursework documentation for five years following completion of each program. What that documentation must consist of is described below and in MN Rules 1105.3200 B.
  • When a new CPA must begin reporting depends upon when in the reporting year they were licensed. Please see the sidebar above and MN Rules 1105.3000 G for details.

CPE Limitations

The following hour limitations apply during the rolling three-year CPE period:

  • A maximum of 60 hours may be claimed for presenting or instructing qualifying courses or seminars (see "Teaching/Speaking Credits" below for more details);
  • A maximum of 60 hours may be claimed for authoring articles, books, or CPE courses for publication (see "Authoring/Writing Credits" below for information on how to calculate and report);
  • At least 24 hours must be obtained from attending group or blended learning programs.
  • A mimimum of 60 hours must be obtained from technical learning activities (as defined in NASBA Fields of Study); and
  • At least 72 hours must be obtained through approved CPE sponsors (those meeting the requirements under MN Rules 1105.3100, subpart 1.
  • Partial-hour credits are allowed as specified in the 2016 Statement on Standards for CPE. These vary by delivery method. Consult Standard 16 for details.

 

Teaching/Speaking Credits

Instructors, discussion leaders, or speakers who present a learning activity for the first time may receive CPE credit for actual preparation time up to two times the number of CPE credits to which participants would be entitled, in addition to the time for presentation, subject to regulations and maximums established by the Board.

For example, for learning activities in which participants could receive 8 CPE credits, instructors may receive up to 24 CPE credits (16 for preparation plus 8 for presentation). For repeat presentations, CPE credit can be claimed only if it can be demonstrated that the learning activity content was substantially changed and such change required significant additional study or research. See Standard 20.

Documentation for teaching/presenting credits must include the following:

  • the name and contact information of the sponsor,
  • the title and description of the content of the program, its date and location and the number of CPE hours those attending were awarded;
  • a copy of the detailed timed agenda for the program;
  • a statement by the licensee describing how the program contributes to the licensee's professional knowledge and competence; and
  • the total hours (preparation and presentation) the licensee is claiming.

If you submit teaching/speaking credits as "Approved," be sure to include the NASBA registry number or otherwise note the approved sponsor (see list of approved CPE sponsors below) in your records.

 

Authoring/Writing Credits

Writers of published articles, books, or CPE programs may receive CPE credit for their research and writing time to the extent it maintains or improves their professional competence. For the writer to receive CPE credit, the article, book, or CPE program must be formally reviewed by an independent party. CPE credits can be claimed only upon publication. CPE credits cannot be claimed for both authoring and presenting the same program. See Standard 21.

Documentation for author/writing credits must include the following:

  • a copy of the publication (or in the case of a CPE program, course development documentation) that names the CPA as author or contributor
  • a statement from the writer supporting the number of CPE hours claimed, and
  • the name and contact information of the independent reviewer(s) or publisher.

If you submit writing credits as "Approved," be sure to include the NASBA registry number or otherwise note the approved sponsor (see list of approved CPE sponsors below) in your records.


Approved CPE Sponsors

  • NASBA Registry of CPE Sponsors
    • NOTE: Not all NASBA Registry sponsors are approved for all methods (group live, self study, nano, etc) of CPE delivery. Check the detail for a particular sponsor on the Registry to confirm its approved delivery method(s). No self-study, nano learning or blended learning courses may be taken from any sponsor other than one approved for that method on the NASBA Registry. (MN Rule 1105.3100 Subp.2)
  • The office of the Legislative Auditor or State Auditor, if a peer review has been completed in the last three years and an unmodified report on such a review has been filed with the Board. This peer review must be similar in scope to a system review level peer review conducted on a CPA firm.
  • CPA firms who have had a system review level peer review completed in the last three-years and an unmodified report on such review has been filed with the Board.
  • Colleges and Universities whose academic programs qualify an applicant to sit for the CPA examination. (To convert college credits to CPE credits - one semester credit is equal to 15 CPE credits; one quarter credit is equal to 10 CPE credits.)
  • CPE programs sponsored by professional organizations recognized by the Board as Report Acceptance Bodies pursuant to part 1105.5300.
  • CPE programs sponsored by professional organizations recognized by another state's board of accountancy.

Note to CPE providers not listed above: In order to be considered an approved CPE provider, you must be registered with NASBA's CPE Registry. Please visit NASBA's website for more information.

Non-Approved CPE

CPAs are allowed to take group internet-based and group live programs from non-NASBA CPE Registry/non-approved sponsors, provided the program contributes to the professional knowledge and competence of the individual CPA (keeping in mind that at least 72 CPE hours must be obtained through approved CPE sponsors). The program must meet the minimum standards of quality of development, presentation, measurement, and reporting of credits in the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs jointly approved by NASBA and AICPA or such other standards acceptable to the board.

Note: Self-study, nano learning and blended learning courses cannot be taken from non-approved sponsors. Those courses must be provided by a sponsor listed on the NASBA Registry as approved for the specific delivery method.

Documentation for non-registry programs must consist of the following:

  • a certificate of attendance from the program sponsor containing the name and contact information of the sponsor, the title and description of the content of the program, its date and location and the number of CPE hours for which the licensee attended;
  • a copy of the detailed timed agenda for the program; and
  • a statement by the licensee describing how the program contributes to the licensee's professional knowledge and competence.

 


CPE Noncompliance

MN Rules 1105.3000 states, "Failure to report CPE, failure to obtain CPE required by this part, reporting of an amount less than that required, or fraudulently reporting CPE is a basis for disciplinary action under MN Statutes326A.08. A licensee not in compliance with this part shall be assessed a late processing fee of $50 for the first month, or partial month, of noncompliance and $25 per month, or partial month, of noncompliance thereafter until the date the licensee is in compliance with this part and provides documentation of compliance in writing to the board."

Current CPE Fees Chart

Remember: If you are not in compliance with the CPE requirements by June 30th and you need to use "carryback" hours from the subsequent fiscal year, the CPE non-compliance fees continue to accrue until the date you submit your certificates of completion for carryback hours along with payment of the CPE non-compliance fees to the Board.


Random CPE Compliance Audit

Each year a percentage of CPAs will be contacted by the Board and required to submit a complete record of CPE for the previous three-year reporting period as part of an ongoing audit process. In cases where the board determines that the hour information supplied by the licensee is not supported by the documentation supplied by the licensee or the hours do not meet the requirements of this chapter, the board may grant an additional period of time in which the deficiencies can be cured or the board may take disciplinary action. Licensees determined not in compliance must pay a late processing fee (see MN Rule 1105.3000(E). Fraudulent reporting is a basis for disciplinary action.


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