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Descriptions of CPE Subject Areas for Mandatory Continuing Education

Effective September, 2009

The Education Department registers sponsors who award CPA licensees Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit for participation in formal programs of learning that are in accordance with Section 7409 of New York State Education Law and Section 70.6 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. These statutes require that programs for which CPE credit is awarded: 1) contribute to the development or maintenance of a licensee’s professional competence, and 2) fall within one of the subject areas described below. Consistent with the statutory intent, CPE credit will not be given for participation in programs that focus on the marketing of professional services or improving the profitability of an accounting firm or practice.

Clearly some courses could fall into more than one of the prescribed subject areas (e.g. auditing and specialized industries). As a guide, however, a course will be categorized based on its primary focus and predominant subject matter. A ruling on the classification of a specific course may be obtained from the Board office by sending a written request and a detailed description of the course’s contents to:

NY State Education Department
Office of the Professions
State Board for Public Accountancy
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234-1000
Fax: 518-474-6375

Courses in this subject area focus on the development of professional knowledge and skills related to generally accepted accounting principles; comprehensive bases of accounting; and/or accounting processes and related financial reporting. Relevant subject matter includes authoritative pronouncements and accounting principles issued by the standard setting bodies as well as related subjects that are generally classified within the accounting discipline.

Individual programs in this subject area could cover newly promulgated financial reporting requirements/standards; accounting concepts and principles; preparation and compilation of financial statements; measurement; recognition and presentation of specific financial statement items; and internal controls for profit and nonprofit entities.
This subject area includes the body of knowledge that deals with the basic service of the public accounting profession examining and reporting on financial statements. It also includes the examination or review of internal and administrative controls, operations and/or government programs. Courses on professional conduct and ethics are appropriately categorized in the auditing category.

Individual programs classified in this area could cover audit theory and philosophy; generally accepted auditing standards; evaluation of internal controls; substantive audit procedures; audit sampling; reporting on financial statements; review services; computer and government audits; and Securities and Exchange Commission audit activities and requirements.
This subject area includes local, state, federal and international tax compliance and tax planning for individuals, businesses, estates and trusts. Compliance includes tax return preparation and review, as well as Internal Revenue Service examinations, ruling requests and protests. Tax planning focuses on applying tax rules to prospective transactions and understanding the tax implications of unusual or complex transactions. It also includes alternative tax treatments and advising clients on taxsaving opportunities.

Programs offered in this subject area could cover tax research and theory; application of tax rules to different forms and types of taxpayers; specialized taxes, return preparation; tax authorities' examinations; rulings and appeals; tax exempt organizations; tax accounting; and employee compensation and tax deferral plans.
This subject area encompasses the various advisory services provided by accountants to clients. Traditionally these services involve analyzing, evaluating, designing and, in some situations, implementing the systems that affect the planning, organizing and controlling of any phase of activity in a business or nonprofit enterprise. Less traditional advisory services include technology consulting, personal financial planning and small business consulting.

Relevant programs within this category could cover planning and control systems for business or Not-for-profit organizations. These systems could target specific business processes such as manufacturing, marketing, human resources, research and development, and information management.

Practice management courses would be eligible for CPE credit under this category IF the course content focuses on improving the delivery of services to clients. Such courses could cover organizational structure, human resources management, preparation for quality review and other Client-related administrative services. Courses that focus on marketing professional services or improving profitability for the accounting firm will not be eligible for CPE credit.
This subject area focuses on the development of professional skills and knowledge related to specialized industries and business entities. These industries are often identified by the title of an AICPA industry audit guide and employ specialized accounting principles and practices, encounter distinctive tax problems and audit issues, or require unique advisory services.

Individual programs that fall within this category could cover Industry-specific: accounting and auditing standards; terminology and technology; legislative or regulatory requirements; marketing or distribution systems and issues; economic structures; and sources of financing.
This field of study includes coursework which will increase the accountants’ knowledge of ethical standards for the profession. Coursework will focus on New York State Education Law, Rules of the Board of Regents and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The foundation course will cover topics including introduction to ethic concepts, the psychology of moral development, judgement and values, the sociology of professions, virtue and the role of rules of ethics, public expectations of CPA’s responsibilities, and ethical dilemmas. The role of the Board of Regents and the State Education Department, highlighting New York State law, rules, and regulations, including a comparison and contrast to AICPA and New York State Society of CPAs ethics rules, and enforcement of rules on ethics will also be covered.

Ethics coursework in the specific fields of accounting, auditing, and taxation will be acceptable and should include updates on New York State and AICPA ethics rules, ethical guidance in the specialty practice, information on recent litigation related to ethical concerns or issues in the area of specialization, and discussion of case studies in the field relating to ethical issues.