The primary purpose of the Board of Public Accountancy is to protect and preserve the interest and welfare of the public. It is believed that this purpose is achieved by requiring public accountants to participate in a program of continuing education so that they will be able to provide competent service in all areas of their practice. Wherever in the Regulations and in these interpretations reference is made to the registrant's professional competence it is limited to the practice of public accountancy.

It is intended that formal state board rules be specific enough to provide appropriate guidance to licensees, yet be broad enough to provide the Board with sufficient discretionary powers to make interpretations and exceptions for the fair and equitable administration of the Regulation pertaining to mandatory continuing professional education for the practice of public accountancy (hereinafter referred to as CPE).

In addition to and in supplement of the provisions enunciated in the Regulation adopted by the Board, the following rules and interpretations are herewith adopted:


  1. The committee may look to recognized state or national accounting organizations, or to others it deems qualified, for assistance in evaluating the acceptability of and credit to be allowed for individual courses or programs.
  2. The committee will not publish any list of specific courses or programs which qualify. It recommends that registrants obtain a statement of compliance with CPE from sponsoring organizations for programs which may not be specifically covered in Rule 15D (2) of the Regulations. That statement should read a follows: "We have adopted and complied with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy Rules and Regulations of Mandatory Professional Education for the Practice of Public Accountancy, and that the program is designed to qualify for _____ hours of CPE credit".
  3. It is anticipated that registrants will maintain the high standards of the profession in selecting quality educational programs to fulfill the continuing education requirement. The following general subject matters are acceptable so long as they contribute to the registrant's professional competence to practice public accounting:

    Courses Which Qualify

    • Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Financial Reporting
    • Taxation
    • Management Service
    • Computer Science
    • Communication Arts
    • Mathematics, Statistics, Probability and Quantitative Applications in Business
    • Economics
    • Business Law
    • Administrative Practice; e.g., Engagement Letters, Fee Structures, Personnel, etc.
    • Functional Fields of Business, such as:
      • Finance
      • Production
      • Marketing
      • Personnel Relations
      • Business Management and Organization
      • Social Environment of Business
      • Specialized Areas of Industry: e.g.
      • Real Estate, Farming, Film Industry, etc.

    Areas other than those listed above may be acceptable if the registrant can demonstrate that they contribute to the registrant's professional competence. The responsibility for substantiating that a particular program is acceptable and meets the requirements rests solely upon the registrant.

  4. Law school courses qualify if in the area of business or commercial subjects, or otherwise add directly to the professional competence of the registrant.
  5. Programs in private industry are acceptable only if they add to the professional competence of the registrant to practice public accountancy.
  6. A CPA review course taken by a licensed public accountant would qualify if it met the appropriate requirements.

Credits Allowed

  1. Continuing education credit will be given for whole hours only, with a minimum of 50 minutes constituting one hour. As an example, 100 of continuous instruction would count for two hours; however, more than 50 minutes but less than 100 minutes of continuous instruction would count for only one hour. For continuous conferences and conventions, when individual segments are less than 50 minutes, the sum of the segments should be considered one total program. For example, five 30 minute presentations would equal 150 minutes and should be counted as three contact hours.
  2. In determining the hours of credit to be allowed for specific correspondence and individual study programs (including taped study programs), the committee will determine the equivalency of the program to a comparable seminar or a comparable course for credit in an accredited educational organization. However, the committee reserves the right to require the sponsoring organization to provide adequate evidence to support the recommended credit hours. Registrants claiming credit for such courses will be required to obtain evidence of satisfactory completion of the course from the program sponsor Credit will be allowed in the renewal period in which the course is completed.
  3. The credit allowed an instructor, discussion leader or a speaker, to the extent that the particular activity contributes to the professional competence of the registrant, will be on the basis of two hours for subject preparation for each hour of presentation. If a course is rated as eight (8) contact hours, the instructor, discussion leader or speaker could receive up to 24 contact hours of credit (16 hours for preparation and 8 hours for presentation). The maximum credit for such preparation and teaching will not exceed 50% of the renewal period requirement. Credit for registrants attending not as instructors, discussion leaders or speakers is limited to actual meeting time.
  4. Repeated teaching or taking a particular course will not qualify unless the registrant can demonstrate that the subject matter has changed sufficiently to provide additional information which would add to the individual's competence.
  5. Credit may be allowed for published articles and books provided they contribute to the professional competence of the registrant. Credit for preparation of such publications may be given on a self-declaration basis up to 25% of the renewal period requirement. In exceptional circumstances a registrant may request additional credit by submitting the article(s) or book(s) to the committee with an explanation of the circumstances which the registrant feels justifies a greater credit.
  6. Participation in committee meetings of recognized professional societies, which are structured as educational programs, can qualify if they meet the appropriate requirements.
  7. Dinner, luncheon and breakfast meetings of recognized accounting related organizations may qualify if they meet the appropriate requirements.
  8. Firm meetings for staff or for management groups may qualify if they meet the appropriate requirements. Portions of such meeting devoted to administrative and firm matters cannot be included.
  9. A qualified instructor or discussion leader is anyone whose background, training, education or experience makes it appropriate for that person to lead a discussion on the subject matter of the particular program.

Evidence of Completion

  1. Primary responsibility for documenting the requirements rests with the registrant and evidence to support fulfillment of the requirements must be retained for a period of two years after the biennial permit renewal date.
  2. In the case of courses taken for scholastic credit in universities and colleges, evidence of satisfactory completion of the course will be sufficient to satisfy the requirements.
  3. In the case of courses not taken for credit universities and colleges, a signed statement of the hours of attendance must be obtained from the instructor or institution in order to satisfy the requirements.
  4. In all other instances, including correspondence courses, taped programs, and group or self-study programs, participants should document and retain for four years their participation showing (a) sponsor and discussion leader, (b) title and/or description of content., (c) dates of attendance or study, (d) location, (e) evidence of examination or workbook review, and (f) number of CPE contacthours.

License Renewal

  1. An individual who holds a valid and unrevoked certificate as a certified public accountant or as a public accountant and/or license by any other state or other political subdivision of the United States, and who received a license to practice in this Commonwealth will be required to comply with the continuing education requirement on a pro-rata basis when the license is next renewed and each succeeding two year period thereafter.
  2. If an applicant's license has not been renewed for at least two renewal periods, before the Board will issue a license, subject of Section 87B (b) of Chapter 112 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth, such applicant will be required to complete at least 160 hours of qualified education within 24 months prior to issue, of which at least 80 hours must be in the attest function or financial statement preparation. On the subsequent renewal of the biennial permit, said applicant will be given no credit for the prior 160 hours set forth above.
  3. With the application for the renewal of a biennial permit a registrant shall submit, with a form setting forth compliance with the rules and regulations of CPE, such documentation and substantiation as the Board may require.