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Continuing Education

Tennessee State Board of Accountancy

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) & Renewal Requirements

As a prerequisite to renewing a license with Active status, you are required to meet Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements as described in Accountancy Rule 0020-05. Failure to earn the required CPE will result in the assessment of penalty CPE hours.  Licensees subject to CPE requirements will be permitted to renew only if the CPE requirement has been met.

Please note that your license status will not automatically be changed to Inactive or Closed as a result of failure to meet these requirements at renewal.  To apply for a change to Inactive status, or to close your CPA license, please choose the appropriate application from your core.tn.gov home page prior to license expiration.

 Renewal CPE Requirements

  • 80 approved hours every two (2) years with a minimum of 20 hours in each year.
  • Of those 80 hours, at least 40 hours must be in technical subjects (see chart below).
  • If performing attest services (including compilations), at least 20 of the 40 technical hours must be in the Accounting and
    Auditing category.
  • If providing expert witness testimony, at least 20 hours must be in the general area in which the court deems you an expert, such as tax, auditing, etc.
  • The Ethics requirement for license renewal is two hours of Board-approved state specific ethics earned during every two- year licensing period. 
Technical Fields Non-Technical Fields
Accounting Behavioral Ethics
Accounting (Governmental) Business Management and Organization
Auditing Communications and Marketing
Auditing (Governmental) Computer Software and Applications
Business Law Personal Development
Economics Personnel/Human Resources
Finance Production
Information Technology  
Management Services  
Regulatory Ethics  
Specialized Knowledge  
Statistics  
Taxes  

First renewal exceptions:

  • New CPAs who have held a license for more than one year, but less than the full two-year reporting period, must earn at least 40 hours, including 20 technical hours for the first renewal. 
  •  New CPAs granted a license in the same year as the first renewal have no CPE requirement for the first renewal.

 CPE Sponsors

Approved CPE hours are earned through sponsors listed on the National Registry of sponsors or exempt sponsors such as:

  • Professional accounting organizations [e.g. AICPA, Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA), Tennessee
    Association of Accountants (TAA), Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), or other similar organizations approved by the Board;
  • Accredited universities or colleges;
  • Firms or other entities offering organized in-firm or in-house CPE programs for their employees and clients without
    charge;
  • Governmental entities

All self-study course providers, except those offered by the AICPA or state CPA societies, must have each course quality-assured by NASBA. NASBA’s Quality Assurance Service (QAS) Program has been designated by the Board to establish the registration process and enforcement of QAS.  Licensees may visit the National Registry to verify QAS providers and courses.

Please contact the Board if you are unsure about a sponsor’s status.

You may request pre-approval of CPE credits which are industry-specific or offered on a limited basis and provided
by a non-registered sponsor.  A request may be made once during each CPE reporting period, and for no more than sixteen (16) hours of credit. You must receive approval from the Board prior to attending the course.  You may submit your request and upload the associated course information through your account at core.tn.gov.

Carryover Rule

Having completed a renewal reporting period in which you earned more that the required hours, you may apply a portion of the overage to the next renewal.  CPE carried forward will help fulfill the requirement for 80 overall hours only and do not help meet the requirement for yearly minimums, technical CPE, or other benchmarks.

Two-year reporting period: 
If you have exceeded the requirement of 80 hours in a regular two-year reporting period, you may apply up to 24 hours to the subsequent reporting period.

First renewal: 
If you have exceeded the requirement of 40 hours in a shortened reporting period for new licensees, you may apply up to 12 hours to the subsequent reporting period.

Please note that you must have actually earned more than the required hours in a given reporting period in order to consider the excess hours for carryover.   Do not count previously carried hours in this assessment.

CPE Audit

The Tennessee Board of Accountancy annually selects 10% of renewing licenses at random for an audit of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.  If chosen for audit, you are required to submit documentation of CPE credits earned in the previous two-year reporting period.

If selected for audit, you will receive notification and instructions by mail and email.  Notifications for the 2019 audit were mailed on May 15, 2019.  Please click here to view an example of the 2019 notification.

All Audit responses must be submitted through core.tn.gov.

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