CPD Requirements & FAQs

CPD Requirements

What are the CPD membership requirements?

  1. A minimum of 20 CPD credits annually
  2. 80 CPD credits, including 3 ethics credits, during each 2-year reporting period

What is the current CPD reporting period?
 Jan. 1, 2018 — Dec. 31, 2019

What is the ethics requirement?
A minimum of 3 ethics credits must be completed during each 2-year reporting period. Ethics credits must be obtained through a formal CPD activity that includes verification of participation.

I joined in the middle of the year, do I still need to complete the full CPD requirement?
New members do not need to complete the CPD requirements for the join year. However, members must complete a minimum of 40 credits the following year (if it is the 2nd year of the reporting period) including 3 ethics credits, or the full 80 credits, including 3 ethics credits, if the start of a new 2-year reporting period.

Do I need to comply with the CPD membership requirement if I am a student or retired?
Students do not need to comply with the CPD membership requirement until they move to Affiliate or CPA status. Retired members (working less than 1,000 hours year) are not required to meet the CPD membership requirement.

What learning activities count toward CPD?
Creditable CPD activities continue to include attending, listening to or presenting in-person and online lectures as well as formal independent study programs.

Are CPD activities or providers required to be approved or accredited?
No, CPD activities or providers are not required to be approved or accredited by the WICPA or any other organization.

What are considered formal CPD activities?

  1. A learning activity will be recognized by the WICPA as formal if it meets the AICPA/NASBA Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education Programs, or if it 1) consists of a live lecture by a qualified instructor; 2) provides for the lecture sponsoring entity to register and retain a record of attendees; 3) includes a description of the content; and 4) provides for participant evaluation.
  2. A learning activity will also be recognized by the WICPA as formal if it meets the educational credit requirements of any other membership organization or regulatory body (e.g., a bar association, a licensing department of another state or the IRS).
  3. Formal learning activities may also include self-study, webinars and on-demand recordings with validation of participation (e.g. testing questions) and certificate of completion.
  4. Members may continue to fulfill their CPD requirements through formal learning activities sponsored by a wide variety of organizations, including but not limited to, the WICPA, the AICPA, other state CPA societies, other professional associations, colleges and universities, and their own firms.

What are considered informal CPD activities?
Informal learning activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading, listening to or writing books and articles
  • Performing independent research
  • Serving on boards, committees and task forces
  • Participating in mentor or coaching programs
  • Watching videos and listening to podcasts

Can I meet my CPD requirement with 100% formal or 100% informal credits?
At least half of required CPD credits must be completed through formal CPD activities. All credits can be acquired through formal learning.

Ethics credits must be obtained through a formal CPD activity that includes verification of participation.

How do I calculate CPD credits?
Time-based CPD activities must be recorded using a minimum of 5-minute increments; 50 minutes is equivalent to 1 CPD credit.

How do I calculate CPD credits for formal activities?
Many formal CPD activities already have a pre-determined amount of credits where no additional calculation is needed. However, in situations such as attending a college course or program not assigned with a CPD credit value, the following formulas can be used for calculating the amount of CPD credits:

  1. 1 credit semester courses = 15 CPD credits
  2. 1 credit quarter courses = 10 CPD credits
  3. 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) = 10 CPD credits
  4. Exam time does not count toward CPD credits

Additionally, instructors, discussion leaders or speakers who present a learning activity for the first time may receive CPD credit for actual preparation time up to two times the number of CPD credits to which participants would be entitled, in addition to the time for presentation, subject to regulations and maximums established by the state boards. For example, for learning activities in which participants could receive 8 CPD credits, instructors may receive up to 24 CPD credits (16 for preparation plus 8 for presentation). For repeat presentations, CPD credit can be claimed only if it can be demonstrated that the learning activity content was substantially changed, and such change required significant additional study or research.

How do I calculate CPD credits for informal activities?
For informal learning activities, rather than developing granular rules specifying CPD computation formulas to estimate competency enhancement achieved from every type of learning activity, the WICPA Board decided to adopt a principles-based approach requiring each member to apply professional judgment in computing CPD credits for learning activities.

What are the recordkeeping & reporting requirements?
Each member must keep records of their CPD credits earned. The WICPA verifies compliance with CPD requirements by conducting audits of the records of randomly selected members. To be prepared for an audit, members should maintain detailed supporting records for a period of 3 years following the completion of the learning activity as described below for all CPD credits completed.

  1. Formal learning activities
    1. Date and description of the creditable activity
    2. Sponsoring organization's name
    3. Name(s) of presenter(s)
    4. Course title and topic
    5. Number of credits recommended by CPD sponsor
    6. Any available certificate of participation
    7. Activity duration
  2. Reading activities
    1. Book/Publication (and, if appropriate, article) title
    2. Author(s)
    3. Number of credits claimed
    4. Explanation of credit computation
    5. Copy of book table of contents, or copy of article
  3. Independent Research
    1. Subject of research
    2. Time spent researching, documenting, communicating and executing research/conclusions/recommendations
    3. Research sources consulted (including available hyperlinks)
    4. Dates of research activity and communicating/publishing results to others
    5. Purpose of research (e.g., personal development or responding to employer or client request)
    6. Research conclusions and recommendations
    7. Explanation of credit computation
    8. Copy of written summary/letter/memo/work product (redacted for confidentiality is acceptable)
  4. Serving on a committee/board/task force
    1. Name and description of organization/committee/board/task force
    2. Position (e.g., member, chair, officer, etc.)
    3. Meeting dates, times and duration
    4. Description of learning activities (e.g., read materials, attend meeting, lead discussion, take minutes, etc.)
    5. Explanation of credit computation
    6. Copy of any related printed materials that are available
  5. Participating in a business coaching or mentoring process
    1. Name(s) of organization and/or other individual(s) participating in the activity
    2. Date(s) of activities
    3. Duration of activities
    4. Description of activities (e.g., meetings, reading, classes, research, projects, etc.)
    5. Explanation of credit computation
    6. Copy of any related printed materials that are available
  6. Listening to a podcast or viewing a video
    1. Description of the podcast or video
    2. Name of organization and/or individual who created or published the podcast or video
    3. Date of listening to a podcast or viewing a video
    4. Explanation of credit computation
    5. Available link to recording
  7. Other types of learning activities not described above
    1. Description of the activity
    2. Dates of activity
    3. Duration of activity
    4. Explanation of how the activity enhanced competency
    5. Explanation of credit computation
    6. Available documentation or link
    7. Copy of any related printed materials that are available

Ultimately, the CPD credit claimed is the responsibility of the individual member. Each member may claim credit only for the learning activities he or she fully completed that increased his or her professional competence. Members may, and are encouraged to use the WICPA's CPD Tracker to record both formal and informal CPD activities since this will simplify the process of recording for members and assist during a member compliance audit. Additionally, formal and informal learning activities held by the WICPA will be automatically added.

How should members report their CPD credits?
By paying dues, members are verifying that:

  • CPD requirements have been met
  • Records and documents have been maintained that support the CPD compliance and
  • An audit of such records and documents may be audited and
  • Misrepresenting CPD compliance may result in publication of noncompliance and misrepresentation, as well as classification as a member not in good standing, and may also result in termination of WICPA membership as well as reporting of misrepresentation to licensing authorities as an "act discreditable to the profession" which could result in revocation of CPA certificate and license.

Members may, and are encouraged to, use the WICPA's CPD Tracker to record both formal and informal CPD activities since this will simplify the process of recording for members and assist during a member compliance audit. Additionally, formal learning activities held by the WICPA will be automatically added and certain qualifying informal (e.g., committee attendance and board service) activities will automatically be added.

Do I have to track this information every year?
Yes, WICPA members are selected at random for an audit of CPD membership requirements and must submit a report of continuing professional development for the specified CPD reporting period. It is recommended to maintain records for 3 years.

What happens if I do not meet my CPD membership requirements?
In the event CPD membership requirements are not met by the end of the CPD reporting period, please contact the WICPA CPD Department to request an extension. If an extension is not requested or membership CPD requirements are not met with an approved extension period, it will result in a loss of membership with the WICPA.

Extension Period
Any member who has not completed the required number of credits during a reporting period may request an extension for up to an additional two months. Credits applied toward a deficiency during this two-month period may not be counted toward the annual minimum requirement of the CPD year in which they are taken. Furthermore, any CPD credit claimed during the two-month period to make up any deficiency for the preceding reporting period may not be counted toward the requirement for the reporting period in which they are taken.

If an unusual circumstance or unforeseen hardship has prevented meeting CPD requirements, you may request a waiver for the current reporting year. Each waiver request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Can I request a waiver for my CPD requirements?
Members may request a waiver if they have been prohibited from fulfilling the CPD requirements for such reasons detailed below. Requests must be submitted in writing to the CFOO of the WICPA. Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If a waiver request is approved, one-half (40 CPD credits) of the CPD requirement for that reporting period will be waived. Members will still be responsible for completing the remaining 40 CPD credits required for that reporting period, including 3 ethics credits.

Foreign Residency
The request should include the country of residence, the name of the employer, your principal duties and responsibilities, and the reasons foreign residency prohibited fulfilling the CPD requirement.

The request should include the nature of the illness and the reason the illness prohibited fulfilling the CPD requirement.

Military Service
The request should include the principal duties performed, where stationed and the reason military service prohibited fulfilling the CPD requirement.

Other Similar Reasons
The request should include the nature of the hardship and the reason why it prohibited fulfilling the CPD requirement.

How does this compare to the AICPA and other licensing jurisdictions requirements for CPD?
The updated WICPA CPD membership requirements may differ from the AICPA CPD and other licensing jurisdictions in varying ways.

The AICPA continues to follow the 1970's learning models that are still primarily lecture-based, 50-minute increments (with a few exceptions permitting 10-minute and 25-minute increments in some cases), as well as requiring independent verification and certification of participation, signed contracts for independent learning activities, requirements for courses to specify learning objectives and program level, formal course evaluation by participants, formal examinations for online programs, and more.

In addition, each of the 55 U.S. CPA licensing jurisdictions has its own unique CPD requirements, and many have adopted the AICPA/NASBA standards to varying degrees. The only similarity among the jurisdictions is that they all reference the general CPD requirement of 40 CPD credits per year (although reporting periods vary from 1-3 years), and one CPD credit being equal to 50 minutes for time-based learning activities. In addition, CPAs performing attest services or government audits may be subject to separate Peer Review or Yellow Book CPD requirements.

Is CPD required to renew a Wisconsin CPA license with the Department of Safety and Professional Services?
As of March 1, 2018, regulations providing details of Wisconsin’s mandatory CPD requirements for license renewal beginning in 2021 have not been.

Is the WICPA a registered sponsor with the IRS to receive credit related to PTIN (enrolled agent)?
No, the WICPA is not an approved sponsor for CPD for enrolled agents.

CPD Registrations

How do I register for a CPD program?
There are three easy ways to register: online, fax, or mail. An email, phone number and full payment must accompany all registrations. American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa are accepted.

Is there an advantage to registering early?
Yes! Most seminars are limited in size and registering early will guarantee you the seminars of your choice. Also, the WICPA can avoid having to cancel a course due to insufficient early registrations. Plus, there’s early bird discounts!

How does the early bird discount work?
To receive the early bird pricing, the following must be met: Each seminar or conference must be registered for, or postmarked and paid for, by the early bird advertised date. Please see individual programs for the early bird date. The early bird discount applies only to full-day seminars and conferences.

Is there a discount on registrations if I am a WICPA member?
Yes! WICPA members can receive additional registration discounts of up to $50, while nonmembers pay a higher registration fee.

What happens if I have to cancel my registration?
For a full refund, the WICPA CPD Department must receive a notification of cancellation or a request to transfer to a different program at least 14 days before the program presentation date. Cancellations or program transfer requests received between 13-7 days prior to the presentation date will be subject to a cancellation fee of 50% per person, per program. No refund or program transfer request will be granted for cancellations less than 7 days of the program presentation. Substitute registrants are allowed. No refund or program transfer request will be granted if electronic materials have been downloaded that have been provided for the program from which you are canceling. 

Can I send a substitute?
Yes, a registration can be transferred to another person if you are unable to attend a program. CPD credit will be given to the person who attends the program. Substitutions may be requested by contacting the WICPA CPD Department at 262-785-0445.

What happens if a program is canceled?
If a program is cancelled fewer than 14 days prior to the presentation date, registrants will receive a full refund and will be notified directly by email and receive a follow-up notification by phone. Early registration can help the WICPA from cancelling a program. The WICPA is not responsible for any personal expenses incurred if a program is cancelled.

Additional Questions

If you have a question not answered above, please contact us at 262-785-0445 or comments@wicpa.org.