California CPE Ethics Requirements

  • By Matthew Briggson
  • November 20th, 2020

­­­The State of California has approximately 144,000 CPAs, which is more than any other state in the U.S. With so many CPAs residing in the State, it should be no surprise that we get a lot of questions about California’s continuing education rules and requirements, especially for ethics. 

Renewal Date
Unlike most states that have a specific renewal date, California CPAs renew their license on the last day of their birth month in odd or even years (once every two years). If their birth year is an odd number, they renew in odd years and if their birth year is an even number, they renew in even years. For example, if a CPA was born on 7/21/1979, their renewal date would be 7/21/2021, 7/21/2023, etc. 

General Requirements
For each two-year renewal, CPAs are required to complete 80 hours of CPE credit with a minimum of 20 hours in each of the two years. That means you can’t take one year off and then cram all 80 hours into year two. Of the 80 hours, 40 must be in technical subjects, and a minimum of 12 hours of technical training must be completed in each of the two years. 

Ethics Requirement, Including Regulatory Review
4 hours of ethics training must be completed in each renewal period. In addition to the 4 hours of ethics training, a 2-hour California Board-approved Regulatory Review course must be completed once every 6 years. Encoursa offers a CA Board-approved Regulatory Review course as an on-demand option. 

Other Subject Rules

  • Governmental Auditing: 
    If a CPA works in the field of governmental auditing (planning, directing, field work, compliance audits), they are required to complete 24 hours of governmental CPE each reporting period. This is often referred to as “Yellow Book” CPE. Encoursa offers many different governmental course options that meet this criteria. 
  • Accounting and Auditing: 
    24 hours of “Accounting & Auditing” CPE is required during each reporting period if the CPA engages in planning, directing, or attestation services on a non-governmental client. If the CPA only works on preparation engagements, they are required to obtain 8 hours of accounting and auditing CPE. 
  • Fraud: 
    If the CPA is subject to the governmental or A&A CPE requirements above, they are also required to obtain 4 hours of fraud training during each reporting period. The 4 hours of fraud training does not count toward the 24 hours of A&A, but does count toward the overall 80 hour requirement.

As you can see, California has many stringent requirements for CPE. Rest assured, Encoursa offers all of the courses you would need to meet these requirements. If you have any questions about the CA CPE ethics requirements or any of our courses, please don’t hesitate to contact us! 

  • Encoursa
  • california cpe ethics
  • ethics cpe
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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