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An individual who applies for an initial license, holds a Virginia individual CPA license, or applies to have their license reinstated is required to obtain continuing professional education, or CPE. It is the intent of the VBOA that all CPE meet the requirements of VBOA regulations and assist the licensee in becoming a better professional.

Active CPAs must complete the required 120 CPE hours over a rolling three-year period, with a minimum of 20 hours annually. The CPE requirement also includes completing a two-hour VBOA-approved ethics course annually and eight hours of A&A courses, if applicable. The minimum hours needed for applicants who apply for licensure by the end of the first calendar-year after the calendar-year in which the CPA exam is passed is 40 hours.

Requirements for CPE are found in VBOA regulations 18VAC5-22-90 and 18VAC5-22-140

The VBOA uses a rolling three calendar-year period to determine CPE compliance. This period includes the three calendar-years prior to the current calendar-year. Licensees should not submit CPE documentation during the annual renewal process unless specifically asked to by the VBOA. However, CPE documentation must be retained for the four calendar-years preceding the current calendar-year.

The deadline for obtaining CPE for the previous year is January 31. Any questions regarding CPE can be sent to or call (804) 482-8757.


Status Calendar year (CY) Total hours required Minimum hours required VBOA-approved ethics (included in total hours) CPE related to attest, compilation, or financial statement preparation services
(included in total hours)
Applying for initial license
License applicant CY of passing exam 0 hours 0 hours N/A N/A
1st CY after exam 40 hours 40 hours 2 hours/CY N/A
2nd CY after exam 80 hours 80 hours 2 hours/CY N/A
3rd CY (or more) after exam 120 hours 120 hours 2 hours/CY N/A
Active licenseeCY of initial license0 hours0 hoursN/AN/A
Any 3-CY reporting cycle 120 hours/
3 years
20 hours/CY 2 hours/CY 8 hours (only if releasing or authorizing release of reports)
Reinstatement of license
Inactive / Expired / Voluntarily Surrender Current CY 120 hours 120 hours 2 hours/CY N/A

The VBOA recognizes that 50 minutes of CPE participation equals 1 hour of CPE credit.

CPE requirements may be adjusted depending upon when a Virginia CPA begins or ceases to provide services to the public or to or on behalf of an employer.

Licensees who do not work and/or volunteer in positions that require a substantial use of accounting, financial, tax or other skills deemed relevant by the VBOA may apply for the Inactive status. If not approved for this status, licensees must still comply with the CPE requirements.

Qualifying CPE

The VBOA accepts CPE obtained through a variety of forums, providing that the licensee is able to demonstrate that learning objectives were met. The VBOA does not currently require licensees to obtain CPE from specific or approved sponsors, except for the VBOA-approved ethics course.

All licensees, excluding those approved for the Inactive status, are required to obtain on an annual basis two hours of a VBOA-approved ethics course. In addition, individuals who release or authorize the release of reports on attest, compilation, or financial statement preparation services provided for persons or entities located in Virginia must obtain a minimum of eight hours annually of CPE related to attest, compilation, or financial statement preparation services.

A variety of CPE is acceptable, including:

  • Attending a seminar or educational conference. Instructors must have up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter and use appropriate teaching materials. Attendance should be monitored in a manner that can be verified by the VBOA.
  • Earning course credit at an accredited college or university. One semester-hour of credit for courses at an accredited college or university constitutes 15 hours of CPE and one quarter-hour of credit constitutes 10 hours of CPE.
  • Completing a course through nano-learning or incremental CPE. Nano-learning is known as learning and absorbing information in smaller increments of time. The VBOA accepts nano-learning CPE.
  • Completing a self-study course. Licensee must be able to demonstrate that learning objectives were met.
  • Making a presentation. The licensee may present at a professional seminar, educational conference or classroom setting, provided that up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter is demonstrated and appropriate teaching materials are used. Repeat presentations may not be counted as additional CPE. During each 3-year period, a maximum of 30 hours for preparing and making presentations is allowable.
  • Producing written materials. The topic must be relevant to providing services to the public or to or on behalf of an employer. The material is formally reviewed by an authoritative independent party and must be published in a book, magazine or similar publication.
  • CPE credit for certifications/exams/licensures. The VBOA has approved CPE hours for passing exams and obtaining additional certifications for the following designations. The CPE hours must not exceed a total of 60 hours over a three-year rolling period.

The VBOA will determine on a case-by-case basis the acceptability of other forms of CPE.

The VBOA has also approved that Continuing Education (CE), Continuing Education Units (CEU), Continuing Legal Education (CLE), Continuing Medical Education (CME), Quality Assurance Service (QAS) and semester and quarter-hour credits are acceptable as CPE credits.

Documentation requirements

Required CPE documentation includes:

  • Certificates of completion from the CPE sponsor including the sponsors’ name, participant’s name, course/content name, date taken and CPE hours earned.
  • Official transcript of the college or university for earning course credit at an accredited institution.
  • Syllabus/agenda and signed statement indicating the length of the presentation when making a presentation.
  • Copy of published article, book or written material (or proof of publication) when producing written material used by individuals who provide services to the public or to or on behalf of an employer.

The VBOA has restrictions on the types of documentation it regards as acceptable. The VBOA will not accept receipts, registration confirmations, cancelled checks, outlines, PowerPoint presentations or sign-in sheets, etc., as valid CPE documentation.

Sponsors providing CPE

The VBOA does not maintain agreements with sponsors, pre-qualify sponsors or individual courses, or require a licensee to obtain CPE from specific sponsors (except for the VBOA-approved ethics course). However, sponsors are encouraged to comply with the Statement on Standards for CPE Programs issued jointly by the AICPA and NASBA. All sponsors should be familiar with VBOA Policy #2.

CPE reciprocity

If a CPA holds an Active license in another state and their principal place of business is not located in Virginia, he or she is eligible for CPE reciprocity. If a CPA meets the CPE requirements in their home state, the VBOA will accept this as CPE compliant in Virginia. However, a CPA must take either an ethics course, of at least two hours, that conforms with the VBOA requirements or an ethics course acceptable to the board of accountancy of another state in which the CPA holds the license.

The CPA must select “CPE reciprocity” during the CPE audit process to be eligible for this exemption.

Substantial equivalency was developed to allow licensed CPAs to practice across jurisdictions more easily. Visit the NASBA website to view jurisdictions substantially equivalent to Virginia.

CPE deficiencies

A licensee may determine on their own of a CPE deficiency for a specific reporting period. The licensee should self-report and notify immediately when it is determined a deficiency has occurred.