Washington State CPE Requirements for CPAs

  • By Matthew Briggson
  • July 31st, 2018

You’ve just signed on the dotted line to be the newest senior financial analyst at a booming technology company in Seattle. Congrats! You found a new apartment, packed everything up, and feel ready to make the move to an awesome new city. As you make your trek across the country, you get that sobering feeling that you forgot something. No, you didn’t leave anything at home but you are now entering a new state with new CPE requirements. When starting a job in a new state, the last thing you want to deal with is the changing CPE requirements for your CPA license.  You’ve worked so hard to achieve it, letting it go inactive or obsolete is not an option. This is an all too familiar feeling CPAs experience when they relocate to a different state.

Every state has a board of accountancy and each has unique CPE requirements and reporting periods. The first step you must take is to contact the new state board and ask them about transfering your CPA license to their state. The CPA exam is standardized, so most states have reciprocity as long as you meet the educational requirements. Next, you must quickly get up to speed on the reporting deadlines and CPE requirements in your new state. In this post, we’ll highlight the continuing education requirements for the State of Washington.

General Requirements
Certified Public Accountants in the State of Washington are required to complete 120 hours of continuing professional education every three years. As part of those requirements, CPAs must take 4 CPE hours of a Washington Board approved ethics course. It is also important to note that Washington limits the number of "non-technical" subject hours to 24 for each reporting period. 

Subject Area Requirements
As noted above, the Washington State Board of Accountancy limits CPAs to 24 hours of “non-technical” CPE for each three year reporting period. The board defines non-technical course subjects as:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. Interpersonal Management Skills
  3. Leadership and Personal Development Skills
  4. Client and Public Relations
  5. Practice Development
  6. Motivational and Behavior Courses
  7. Speed Reading
  8. Memory Building

CPA License Reporting Periods
The Washington Board implements calendar reporting periods (January 1st to December 31st) but the three year period depends on when your license expires. Licenses always expire on June 30th in the year following your reporting period. For example, if your license says it will expire on June 30th, 2018, then your reporting period would be January 1st 2015 to December 31st, 2017.

Note on CPE Providers
Washington is less rule based than most other state boards when it comes to choosing CPE providers and courses. The board requires CPAs to “participate in formal CPE that maintains or increases their professional competence.” The board goes on to list a summary of the minimum sponsor requirements, but if these are met then there is definitely some discretion for the CPA to decide whether a sponsor and course meets the standard for qualifying as continuing professional education. The board is much more strict on the 4 hours of ethics CPE that every CPA has to take during their reporting period. As noted above, each ethics course must be pre-approved and state specific.

For more detail, please see the Washington Board of Accountancy website at: http://cpaboard.wa.gov/individual-licensing/continuing-professional-education-cpe

Finding High Quality CPE
When it comes time to find top quality CPE that will meet the Washington State Board requirements, look no further than Encoursa. We partner with the top thought leaders in the industry to bring you CPE courses that will not only ensure you meet your continuing education requirements, but also help you advance in your career.

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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 Encoursa.com, an industry leading CPE provider for accounting and finance professionals.

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