Unlike your bachelors degree or most post secondary/certification programs, the Institute of Management Accountants requires that Certified Management Accountants log continuing professional education hours.
These additional hours are known as Continuing Professional Education hours – or CPE’s – and are required yearly.
CPE credits are enforced and regulated to ensure that Certified Management Accountants are continually educated and up to date in the profession.
It might seem like a lot of extra work, but what it basically means is that you always remain up to date on practices and procedures, which is a good thing. Fulfilling your CPE requirements is critical and we’ll go over how many hours are needed next:
How Many Hours Will I Need to Fulfill CPE Requirements?
Thirty hours of CPE’s are required by the end of each year. Luckily there are plenty of topic courses to choose from such as accounting, financial management, business applications of mathematics, computer science, economics, management, production, marketing, business law, organization etc.
Though you have plenty of topics to choose from, you will be required to complete a minimum of two hours in ethics courses.
Gleim has a fantastic catalog of CPE courses you can take. Don’t forget to check it out after reading this article.
Keeping Track of CPE Hours
There are several different ways you can go about logging your CPE hours. The IMA has allowed for a lot of flexibility in that aspect so you can keep things fresh.
College courses, webinars, workshops, seminars, technical meetings, examinations, take home study courses, speeches etc are all different ways in which you can get your hours in.
Registered CMA’s must be diligent when it comes to logging their hours. You will be required to keep documents such as records of attendance and certificates to support your progress.
The reason for this is simple, you could be randomly selected to submit your records, as the IMA performs regular audits.
It is highly recommended to keep all documents for at least three years, but just to play it safe it’s better to start a folder and the filing cabinet and keep them around for up to 5.
Ten CPE credits are awarded for each hour of the exam, so 40 hours for each exam part that you pass. These hours are not applicable CPE hours for your CMA, rather only beneficial to someone with another certification who is trying to earn applicable CPE hours.
Additionally, the CPE requirement does not start until the calendar year after you earn your CMA designation. For example, if you earn your CMA in November of 2016, the CPE requirement would not start until calendar year 2017. It is always the calendar year after earning the credential.
What Happens When You Don’t Complete Your Hours
In the event that you are unable or simply do not complete your required thirty CPE hours over the course of the year, you will fall out of good standing with the IMA.
Before you panic, you should know that it is more than possible to get back in their good graces. You can do this by completing sixty hours of CPE by the end of year two.
Any shortfalls in the year must be made up in the next year; however, if the hours are not made up, your account will become inactive.
Getting Extra Hours Carried Over
If you are a bit of an overachiever and make more than the standard thirty hours of continued professional education credits you are allowed to carry a maximum of ten extra hours over to the next year.
For those of you who like to plan ahead, this option is a great way to save you time in the future. Just remember, you can only carry over ten hours.
Continuing education can seem like a never ending cycle of study, but when you look at it as an opportunity to better yourself and your expertise, you will be setting yourself up for a much stronger future.
Thanks for reading this long overdue post and hope you’ve learned about the CPE requirements.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to post them below in the comments section. I reply to every single comment 🙂
Until next time,