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Continuing Education vs Continuing Professional Education (CE vs CPE)

ce-vs-cpe-1Accounting professionals are required or encouraged to get continuing education credits each year. These courses keep the busy accountant up-to-date on changes in all areas of accounting such as Federal Tax Law, Auditing and Financial Reporting. The designation(s) held by an accountant will determine what type and how much continuing education is needed. One question we get often is what the difference is between IRS CE credit and CPE credit. The main differences are seen in how many credits are needed, who reports them, and whether they are voluntary or required.

IRS Continuing Education (CE) is voluntary for PTIN holders who are participating in the Annual Filing Season Program. This voluntary program administered by the IRS requires each participant to take between 15-18 hours of CE credit. The exact number of credits needed depend on whether the tax preparer is exempt. For questions regarding the correct number of CE credit needed call the Lambers Customer Support Line, a Lambers Representative will guide you through the requirements. Enrolled Agents are also required to get CE credits, 72 hours every three years.   Your Lambers Representative can help with course options. CE credits are reported to the IRS by the continuing education provider.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is required of CPAs in most states. The number of credits and reporting periods are different for each state. CPE is reported by the CPA to board of accountancy of their individual state. It is important for the CPA to visit their state board of accountancy website to get the exact information needed for CPE credit. Your Lambers Representative can help with course options and keep you on track for the needed number of credit hours.