For every CPE credit, there is a related field of study. These CPE fields of study cover a broad range of topics that equip CPAs with the skills and knowledge needed to maintain and improve their professional competence – both in technical and non-technical capacities.
For CPE purposes, identifying fields of study can come into play in certain states that provide CPAs with options on how to fulfill their CPE requirement. New York, for instance, requires either:
- A minimum of 40 CPE hours in any recognized subject area, or
- A minimum of 24 CPE hours concentrated in one subject area
Here at the CPE Planner, you’ll find free webinar opportunities in all of these fields of study.
Technical Fields of Study that Qualify for CPE
Technical fields of study directly support CPAs in their profession. CPE opportunities in technical fields of study are available in, but not limited to, the following categories:
The accounting field of study equips CPAs with the knowledge and tools necessary to prepare, maintain, report on and analyze an entity’s financial records. This category can cover everything from accounting for small businesses to forensic accounting to SEC regulations.
The governmental accounting field of study focuses on much of the same aspects as the accounting field of study, but is specifically concentrated around governmental entities and contracts. Topics related to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) are commonly covered in this category, in addition to federal, state and local government accounting.
The auditing field of study prepares CPAs to perform a systemic and independent examination of an entity, such as on the entity’s data, records or performance. Common topics covered in this field are auditing standards and procedures, research, internal controls, and employee benefit plan auditing.
The governmental auditing field of study offers similar learning objectives as the auditing field of study, but is specifically concentrated around governmental entities and contracts. Federal, state and local government auditing subjects are often covered in this category, as well as government auditing standards governed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The business law field of study revolves around the legal system with a focus on business and accounting. Common topics covered in this field are legal practices and tax issues related to business, collections and employment.
The economics field of study focuses on topics related to microeconomics, macroeconomics, money and banking, and public finance. Principles on supply and demand, economic growth, and the international economy are frequently covered in this category.
The finance field of study emphasizes financial management of an organization. Regularly covered topics include financial planning and analysis, budgeting, and asset management.
The information technology field of study focuses on opportunities and risks of information technology in the accounting industry. Common topics covered in this category include cyber security, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and database management.
The management services field of study incorporates a variety of topics (such as achieving efficiencies and maintaining profitability) pertaining to managing the business processes of an entity. Subjects often covered in this category include cash management, project management and performance management.
The regulatory ethics field of study provides CPAs with an ethical framework to sort through dilemmas in the accounting profession. These rules and regulations are governed by governmental entities like state licensing bodies and professional organizations like membership associations. Common topics covered in this field include confidential client information, independence, conflicts of interest and malpractice.
The specialized knowledge field of study consists of topics for specialized industries or services, such as for non-profit organizations or the oil and gas industry. Subjects like valuations services and personal financial planning are included in this category.
The statistics field of study focuses on business statistics, quantitative analysis, and probability. Common topics covered in this category include variance analysis, linear models and hypothesis testing.
The taxes field of study revolves around tax compliance (such as tax return preparation and review) and tax planning (such as understanding the tax implications of complex transactions). Common topics covered in this category include individual income taxation, special tax matters, state and local taxes, and tax-exempt organizations.
Non-Technical Fields of Study that Qualify for CPE
Non-technical fields of study indirectly support CPAs in their profession. CPE opportunities in non-technical fields of study are available in, but not limited to, the following categories:
The behavioral ethics field of study provides guidance on ethical situations and dilemmas CPAs may encounter. Common topics covered in this category are ethical decision-making, personal ethics, and inclusion and diversity training and awareness.
The business management and organization field of study focuses on managing, improving and accomplishing organizational goals. Subject areas often covered in this field include organizational structures (such as the organization of a public accounting practice), management planning, and administrative practices (such as time and billing procedures and collections).
The communications and marketing field of study equips CPAs with tactics to market organizations and CPA firms, as well as tools to communicate effectively. Some areas of focus within this category include business writing, interviewing techniques, public relations and business presentations.
The computer software and applications field of study focuses on computer software and applications used by CPAs. General how-to courses on accounting-related software (such as how to use Excel or Quickbooks) are often covered in this category.
The personal development field of study centers on equipping CPAs with the soft skills needed for self-improvement in a professional setting. This category provides guidance on career planning, leadership and time management by teaching CPAs skills such as business writing, personal branding, and public speaking.
The personnel/human resources field of study concentrates on functional areas of human resource management. Common topics covered in this category include inclusion and diversity initiatives in recruiting talent, attracting and retaining employees, and integrating human resources management systems.
The production field of study focuses on production management, which includes skills like scheduling, inventory control, and quality control. Subjects commonly covered in this category include operations management and supply operations.
Searching the CPE Planner Calendar by Fields of Study
The CPE Planner offers a calendar of free CPE webinars that is searchable by field of study. If you’re looking for credits in a specific field of study, hover over the “CPE Calendar” heading in the menu and click on the “Search By Category” option.
Please note that webinars that do not have an associated field of study are listed under the “Unspecified” category. While you’ll be awarded credits in a specific category after you complete the webinar, the organizer has not made that information readily available.