One day not long ago, a question popped into my head: Do blogs count towards CPE? With so many CPAs writing blogs these days, surely this must be considered a qualifying item for CPE! To find out, I went to the Georgia State Board of Accountancy’s website to look at their CPE qualification guidelines. (Keep in mind that every state’s rules are different, so double check with your state board.) Lo and behold, in section 20-11-.0(6), it states:
Credit may be awarded for published articles and books provided they contribute to the professional competence of the applicant. Credit for preparation of such publications may be given on a self-declaration basis up to 25% of the total hours required. In exceptional circumstances an applicant may request additional credit by submitting the article(s) or book(s) to the Board with an explanation of the circumstances which he feels justify a greater credit.
That little chunk didn’t give me enough info though. Does the copy have to be a certain length? Did the author need to spend a minimum amount of time researching? Do blog posts count as long as the topic is a legitimate one, as these are technically published like any other content on the web? There weren’t too many specifics to direct me and “published articles” is a bit vague, so I called up the state board and asked these questions. I won’t rehash the full call, and I got the impression no one had ever asked about this before, but here is what I was able to glean:
- A “published article” is any accounting profession-relevant copy that is published through what is considered an official publication, i.e. in the printed version or on an established website for a known periodical, newspaper, magazine, etc. Think reputable publications where you have to be invited to post or jump through hoops to be an author, not just any ol’ place that allows people to just register and post whatever and whenever.
- Self-publishing an article on your own site alone does not count, so assuming the content is legit, it boils down to the backing publication.
- No dictates on specific content topic or length, though I imagine if you only wrote two paragraphs of an opinion piece, that wouldn’t count. Common sense still needs to be applied.
Self-publishing a blog post on your own blog or firm website does not count toward CPE. HOWEVER, this content could still count in a different way. How so? Let’s say I write a blog post about “Exciting Audit Stuff” and put it on my own site, and then AccountingToday.com approaches me and requests to post “Exciting Audit Stuff” on their site with attribution. Once that blog post is live on that reputable site, it’s now theoretically a published article under the guidelines of the Georgia State Board of Accountancy. I say “theoretically” because when I posited that example, I couldn’t get a solid answer from the person I spoke with at the Board. But as long as the content meets all the requirements of a published article in the end, it shouldn’t matter where it started out in the beginning.
If you’ve not yet had a post picked up by a reputable site, that doesn’t mean the opportunity isn’t there. Go back through posts you’ve created recently to identify those you think would make good articles and try pitching them to different publications. Some may ask that you flesh the copy out more or tweak this or that, but that’s not too demanding. By finessing something you’ve already put time into you can not only earn a byline on a respected website but also apply that same content to your required CPE, killing multiple birds with one stone.
Have you ever submitted a blog-turned-published article successfully (or unsuccessfully) for CPE? Comment below and let us know what your experience has been and in which states.