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Hours Don't Equal Knowledge

Over the course of the past decade, the Society - and it's partner, the CPA Center of Excellence® - have been kicking around a radical idea. What if we're looking at education, CPE, all wrong? Are we sure the century-old, hours-based model is the right model? Is there room for something else? Something more?

We think so. 

Enter competency-based education. Competency-based education is a learning format that gives students flexibility to learn where, how and when they want to. It is about demonstrating the mastery of content vs. the completion of a semester, or regulated time period. It's about measuring all of the ways in which you acquire content.


Why CPAs Should Care:

  1. Future professionals will be increasingly disinterested in sitting in a classroom for eight hours at a time to earn CPE. Digital natives, they are accustomed to acquiring knowledge in non-traditional ways. It’s not about moving it online. Sitting at a computer and staring at a screen with little interaction might be even less tolerable. The type of education you offer may be a differentiator for young people when choosing an employer. The type of education you offer may be a differentiator for your clients
  2. The way you understand someone's education is going to change. Learning is accessible in so many ways, and with the complexity of our day-to-day workloads, we’ll be looking for people who can get the job done — not necessarily people with a specific GPA or a degree that took X number of years to attain. What do they know and how will you know they know it? We will begin to look to things like digital badges to tell us where someone has an expertise.
  3. You, or your organization, spend a lot of time and money on continuing education per regulatory requirements to meet an arbitrary number of hours to say you’ve maintained your competency as a CPA. Are you always getting bang for your buck in the current hours-based system? Does learning really only happen if it’s done in 50-minute increments? Or, is learning continuous and can it be earned and documented in different ways? Education is a critical area for the CPA profession. For the reasons stated, and many others, the CPA Center of Excellence® and the Indiana CPA Society continue to ask questions and study the future of learning and competency.