Use Accounting CPE to Build Your Professional Toolbox

  • By Matthew Briggson
  • August 7th, 2018

Continuing professional education deadlines can sneak up on us in a stealth like manner. All of a sudden a reporting deadline is one week away and there are 20 more hours to go with nothing on the calendar. Usually this results in scrambling to find any and all upcoming webinars or self-study courses just to “check the box” and get over the finish line by the approaching deadline. We’ve all been there before. Although the last-minute CPE binge will keep you compliant, it won’t help you grow as a professional. Each year, you are required to invest time and money into CPE so instead of looking at it like a check box, why not leverage it for personal development? Outlined below, are some tips to help you use CPE courses to build your professional toolbox and advance your career.

Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning for your continuing education cannot be over emphasized. The finance and accounting world moves at a million miles a second so unless you plan time to take CPE in advance, you will find yourself in that “binge” scenario laid out above. At the beginning of each CPE reporting period, block off time on your calendar, weeks or even months in advance, to take courses. Be sure to also set aside some time to find and research the courses that spark your interest. Self-study courses can be taken any time while webinars and conferences are live so they will require a little extra planning and coordination.

Incorporate Skill Based CPE
While it is important to stay abreast of the FASB projects, you should also look for CPE that will add skills to your professional toolbox. Encoursa partners with many content providers who focus on skill-based and process improvement CPE. Whether you would like to learn about advanced tricks and formulas in Excel or how to better operate a specific cloud accounting system, these courses can broaden your skillset and help you bring more value to your clients.

Leverage CPE for Career Exploration
Are you currently a financial analyst but aspire to become a fraud expert? Instead of only taking CPE that is applicable to your current job, take courses that will help you on your path to your future job. Sometimes, all it takes is an informative webinar to light a fire and get you going in the right direction. What if you don’t know where you want to be in 10 years? The best thing you can do is take a buffet approach to CPE. At worse, you learn about new fields within your profession. If you come across a course that is intriguing to you, reach out to the instructor. They are usually more than happy to connect and share more insight.

CPE should be used as a tool, not a hindrance, on your career path. Do you have any suggestions for getting the most out of continuing education? Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected] – I would love to hear from you!

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About the author
Matthew Briggson
Matthew Briggson

Matthew is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan and a co-founder of, an industry leading CPE provider for accounting and finance professionals.

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