CPE Requirements

In order to maintain the credibility of the ACAT certification programs, the Board of Directors requires all certificants to earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) annually and certify to meeting this requirement annually upon renewal. All certificants are subject to audit and may need to provide additional proof that they meet the requirements.

CPE Standards

Acceptable CPE are programs that contribute directly to the professional competence of a certificant. Acceptable programs include:

  • Any credential-related CPE that is accepted by any state board of accountancy, by any NSA-affiliated state organization, or by the Internal Revenue Service
  • University or College Courses: each semester hour credit equals 10 CPE hours
  • Speaker, Instructor or Discussion Leader: two hours for subject preparation and one hour for each hour of teaching provided the session meets CPE requirements. Speakers may not claim CPE for a repeat presentation unless it has substantially changed. The maximum credit will not exceed 50 percent of the requirement
  • Published Articles and Books: up to 25 percent of the renewal period requirement

Certificants must maintain a log of their continuing education as it may be necessary to submit it to the ACAT National Office upon a review.

Courses Meeting Multiple Requirements

Courses can meet multiple certificate requirements. For example, for a 16 hour CPE program on trusts which includes trust accounting, tax preparation for trusts, and fiduciary responsibilities, the course will meet 16 hours of the total CPE requirement. The CPE can also be applied to meet 16 hours of the accounting requirement for the ABA, 16 hours of the taxation requirement for the ATA and/or ATP, and 16 hours of the eldercare requirement for the ARA. The section of the course on fiduciary responsibility could be applied to the ethics requirement. Please review the fields of study for each course and if you’re claiming credit beyond those fields of study, make sure to keep supporting documentation from the course in the event you are selected for a review.

Failure to Complete or Report CPE

If you have not earned the required CPE by June 30 each year, you may apply for a 6-month extension of time. If you do not complete and report your CPE hours, your credential will be suspended. Once your credential is suspended, you will have a limited amount of time to meet the qualifications for reinstatement before being required to retake the exam.

If you earned your credential during the current cycle (July 1 – June 30), your CPE requirement for the first year is pro-rated based on the date you’re accredited. Your CPE is pro-rated based on the date your credential is activated. 

Requirements by Certificate

The number and type of courses required for each certification vary. Both the ABA and ATP are exempt from the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). In order to ensure compliance with the exemption, the minimum number of credits in taxation is 13 hours. 

Prorated CPE Schedule

If you earn a credential during the year, the required CPE that must be met is pro-rated based on the month earned. Please use this schedule to determine how many CPE must be earned.

July 40 30 24
August 37 28 22
September 33 25 20
October 30 23 18
November 27 20 18
December 23 18 14
January 20 15 12
February 17 13 10
March 13 10 8
April 10 8 6
May 7 5 4
June 3 3 2