Reviewing concepts and keeping up with changes is important for maintaining high-quality services in almost any profession. Continuing Professional Education (CPE) studies are dedicated to supplying accountants, finance and tax professionals with an up-to-date flow of useful information. They are also required to maintain most finance-based certifications.

Developing a convenient and flexible way to learn is imperative. The first step in this new direction is to select the best online CPE courses. The unifying standard used to compile this list of the 7 best online CPE courses is online accessibility. Your list starts with some free options only to progress to courses which require a fee.

1. Accounting Standards and SEC Reporting

Gleim Exam Prep offers the first course in our list of the 7 best online CPE courses. The Accounting Standards and SEC Reporting is a 4-credit course which covers various aspects of accounting and auditing. It follows a self-study format using audiovisual presentations with multiple choice study questions. There’s also a final qualification assessment with 20 questions.

  • You will learn to assess specific needs related to financial statements and answer technical questions based on US accounting standards.
  • By learning International Financial Standards for reporting, you will be able to answer critical questions about SEC reporting.
  • When you’re finished with Accounting Standards and SEC Reporting, you will understand the concepts of external financial reporting and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

2. Self-Study CPE by has a number of continuing education courses for financial professionals. They offer an alternative with free credits for CPE certification. One nice feature of using the website is the number of appealing options available for additional study.

  • After you complete the free CPE study program, you can continue at your own pace. There are eBooks and PDF files you can use for an interactive study on various accounting-based studies.
  • There are certification exams that you can take at your own pace. Start and stop at your own convenience. When you are finished, these exams will be graded immediately. Grading of all their CPE exams is free.
  • If you feel there may be additional courses beneficial to your career, has a full CPE subscription available for $249. You’ll have access to over 250 courses approved in all 50 states.

3. Free CPE Credits by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

PwC carries a lofty reputation. Based in the United Kingdom, PricewaterhouseCoopers is the second largest professional service in the world. As a worldwide leader in world financial knowledge, they easily earn a spot on the best online CPE courses.

  • PwC offers a number of free CPE credit courses to help you maximize your CPE training.
  • You can also review a series of public seminars that are held in major cities around the world.
  • There is a convenient schedule of free CPE webcasts to help keep you updated on technical developments affecting your profession.

4. Becker Professional Education – CPE Course

Becker supplies flexible Continued Professional Education courses for accounting, tax and finance experts. The pricing structure at Becker is very useful if you want to earn CPE credits incrementally. The fee for a single credit is only $29. However, you can purchase a complete 4-credit package for $79.

  • Each course package includes access to all video presentations and text materials.
  • You can also purchase full subscriptions that offer unlimited access to a complete on-demand catalog of videos and webcasts. Subscriptions are available annually. You can also opt for a three-year Becker subscription for $989.
  • All Becker webcasts are current and relevant. They earn CPE credits and allow you to stay current on important financial concerns that apply to your profession.

5. Everything You Never Wanted to Know About GAAP 2017

woman with eyeglasses studying in library with tablet, notebook, open dictionary

This course is part of an extensive CPE course catalog offered by Ultimate CPE. This course focuses on a wide variety of issues related to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). You can register for the course using strictly the online PDF option for $129. The textbook and exam combination is slightly more costly.

  • You will be provided with examples of unusual reporting and financial disclosure issues. This will help individuals who deal with a variety of situations in their profession.
  • Everything You Never Wanted to Know About GAAP 2017 offers professional insight into life insurance issues, leases, environmental catastrophes, and other odd financial transactions.
  • The course meets requirements for auditing certification and awards 16 CPE credits.

6. AICPA – Annual Accounting and Auditing Workshop

No list of the best online CPE courses would be complete without a recommendation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is a non-profit organization which offers a wealth of knowledge for both accountants and finance professionals.

  • The Annual Accounting and Auditing Workshop costs $249 for the full video and text package. If you register with the AICPA, you will receive a discount for this and other CPE-related courses.
  • You will learn how to prepare private and public financial documents plus how to prepare for various stages of an audit.
  • The course materials include a text manual and 250 minutes of online video. The videos are broken into 11 segments that correlate with the chapters in the manual.

7. Financial Accounting Professional Certificate

The final course in the list of the best online CPE courses is the most expensive. Do not let the price be a deterrent. The Financial Accounting Professional Certificate is one of the hundreds of extensive financial courses offered by the world recognized New York Institute of Finance. This class can be purchased using timely discounts for $3,119.

  • This course is perfect for a financial professional or accountant hoping to pursue a corporate career in the financial world. It carries 35 CPE credits.
  • You will spend some intense 5 days starting out with a review of basic accounting principles. The course quickly moves through various financial terms. Therefore, you will need to be committed to staying focused.
  • Financial Accounting Professional Certificate requires knowledge of MS Excel and experience with accounting mathematics.

The Bottom Line

Hundreds of different websites and entities say they offer CPE study opportunities. Be aware that many do not carry the necessary accreditation. You will not only meet your professional CPE credit requirements, but you will waste your time and valuable money.

These are 7 of the best online CPE courses to earn official credits. If you’re simply trying to gain some knowledge, test out the free options first. If you need to earn official credits to improve your career standing, the list of those with subscriptions or tuition fees is probably the best choice in these circumstances.

Image source: 1, 2