The Future of Learning for the profession

Written on Jan 28, 2015

By Laura Hay, CPA, CAE

New Ohio CPE rules position the profession for changing education models

The future belongs to those who are prepared to lead in a period of change. The environment for business is changing faster now than at any point in history, and CPAs and accounting professionals are the trusted business advisors preparing employers and clients to thrive in this environment.

How the profession can best stay on the forefront to ensure quality services and anticipate changes in the marketplace has been the subject of study by both The AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Both have spent significant time studying how the profession can best stay on the forefront to ensure quality services and anticipate changes in the marketplace with their focus being the evolution of adult learning and how CPAs will obtain and measure the achievement of learning objectives and competency development for the future.

Ohio is leading the charge for change in professional development models, with Ohio representatives on both AICPA and NASBA exploring these topics. The Accountancy Board of Ohio (ABO) has recently adopted CPE rule changes that will prepare the profession for continuing education of the future.

Ohio CPE rule changes
The ABO this past June approved changes to Ohio Administrative Rule 4701-15, Continuing Education. As part of the ABO’s five-year rule review process, the board considered and had lengthy discussion on the many recommendations from constituents, including OSCPA representatives and board committees about the relevance and effectiveness of regulatory models in achieving learning objectives for professional competence.

“The goal of the Accountancy Board is to maintain the CPA designation in Ohio as the gold standard,” said John Patterson, ABO executive director. “The question isn’t whether learning is going to change, it’s when. When new learning models hit, Ohio will be ready.”

Significant updates to Ohio CPE rules include:
Professional competence
The introduction to the revised rules renews a focus on activities that maintain or improve professional competence, as guided by the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education that AICPA and NASBA joinly issued. [OAC 4701-15-01]

Annual minimum CPE requirement
Ohio permit holders will be required to obtain a minimum of 20 CPE credits annually. Failure to complete 20 credits annually will result in a fine of $10 for every deficient CPE credit. [OAC 4701-15-02]

CPE documentation
Ohio permit holders will be required to maintain supporting documentation for CPE credits reported until the end of the subsequent reporting period. [OAC 4701-15-03]

Under both the current and revised rules, 50 minutes of live group study equates to one CPE credit. Under current Ohio Administrative Rule, eight credits are given for a classroom program offered during one day that is at least 300 minutes in length. Effective Dec. 31, 2015, eight credits may be given for live group study during one day provided the session is at least 400 minutes in length. [OAC 4701-15-04]

For self-study programs, CPE credit may be earned at a minimum of 10-minute increments (.2 credits). For live group study, 10-minute increments may be accrued once a first full credit is earned. [OAC 4701-15-04]

Discussion leader
Under both the current and revised rules, an instructor or discussion leader of a continuing education program may be awarded CPE credit up to three times the credit a program participant receives. Under the revised rules, credit for teaching a particular classroom program may be claimed only once each three-year reporting period. A maximum of 90 credits is allowed each reporting period for teaching. [OAC 4701-15-04]

Effective dates
20 hours minimum per year—Discussion leader (teaching) 90 credit maximum - Calendar year following next reporting date:
Group 2         2016
Group 3         2017
Group 1         2018
Microlearning (credit for 10 minute self-study programs, and 10 minute increments after the first hour for live group study) - Immediately
400 minutes for 8 hours of credit in one day - Dec. 31, 2015

Future of Learning
A task force of the AICPA has begun development of a profession-wide global learning vision that focuses on lifelong learning and competency. The report, available at, discusses the need for evolution of the learning model and how the profession can respond to demands for new skills and knowledge.

“As the marketplace changes, CPAs are being asked to develop new skills and embrace new methods of learning to meet these demands,” said Scott D. Wiley, CAE, OSCPA President and CEO, and member of the Future of Learning Task Force. “The Future of Learning site not only gives professionals an opportunity to learn more about future success strategies, but also helps us all move forward together.” 

NASBA has appointed a CPE Standards Working Group and Continuing Professional Education Model Rule Task Force to consider how innovations in delivery methods of CPE and microlearning should be reflected in CPE standards and model rules adopted by accountancy boards. Learn more at

“We appreciate that the Ohio state board has again taken a leadership role in piloting model accountancy rules,” Wiley said. “Ohio CPAs can take pride that its leaders are establishing a framework for innovations to strengthen the profession for the future.”

Laura Hay, CPA, CAE is executive vice president of The Ohio Society of CPAs and staff liaison to the Accounting & Auditing Committee. She can be reached at or (800) 686-2727, ext. 322.


► The ABO this past June made significant updates to Ohio CPE rules. These include:

  • A renewed focus on professional competence.
  • Ohio permit holders will be required to obtain a minimum of 20 CPE credits annually.
  • Ohio permit holders will be required to maintain supporting documentation for CPE credits reported until the end of the subsequent reporting period.

► Beginning in January 2015, CPAs may take self-study CPE in blocks as short as 10 minutes and accrue it toward the 120-hour CPE requirement.
► Learn about the AICPA’s profession-wide global learning vision at
► NASBA groups are considering the implications of new delivery methods of CPE and microlearning on CPE standards. Learn more at

Learn more: A new dawn in learning


Leave a comment
  1. Bob | Jan 31, 2015
    I think the 20 hour rule makes a lot of sense. I do, however, feel these called Micro-learning parts are totally unnecessary. Most courses spend 5 minutes just introducing speakers and mentioning what they will talk about.
  2. J D Satink, C P A | Jan 29, 2015
  3. sunita | Jan 29, 2015
    is there any limit on CPE obtain through webinars. i do almost all  my CPE by Webinar from one company.
  4. Lee Palmer | Jan 29, 2015
    It should be possible to obtain credit for the daily reading of IRS, CCH, OSCPA, AICPA, Thomson Reuters, etc e-mails, new letters, magazine articles.  Or perhaps a way to test out to confirm such study was done.  I spend a lot of time at seminars that teach me very little I did not already pick up by my own self study.

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