UPDATE: The South Carolina Board of Accountancy has released its announcement on this development. It is re-printed at the bottom of this post. The BOA’s announcement includes a reminder and link regarding new Board of Accountancy regulations that became effective June 26.

Be on the lookout for social media updates from the SC Board of Accountancy regarding COVID-related modifications to CPE in 2020. You can find all their announcements on the BOA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SCAccountancy.

SCACPA applauds the Board of Accountancy in understanding the specific needs of South Carolina CPAs.

“These are unusual circumstances. It’s definitely more difficult to participate in educational classes, especially if you enjoy the live CPE,” BOA Chairman Michael R. Putich, CPA, said at the Aug. 19 Board meeting. “But live CPE is not available, for the most part. We did discuss the possibility of making some changes” based on NASBA recommendations.

Board Member Ellen K. Adkins, CPA, with the support of the Board, then made a motion to modify rules surrounding attendance of live stream CPE as well as a modification as to how CPAs can report hardships.

“Motion we allow the rebroadcast of pre-recorded webinars to count as live CPE, provided that questions are to be answered by a subject matter expert within 48 hours, and those questions and answers should be provided to all attendees after that period. Also, those with a verifiable hardship who cannot meet the CPE deadline or requirements can make a request to staff for special accommodations. Approval would be determined in consultation with the Board Chair and brought before the full Board if deemed necessary. We would request those special accommodations requests be done before year-end.”

This is important relief, because CPE providers across all states have had to adjust their schedule this year to offer a full slate of online education. Speaker schedules have become complex in meeting their commitments, and these elite educators can’t be in all places at all times. This often requires speakers to be on double duty: to first record a video presentation on their topic and then follow that by blocking off time on their schedule to present their learning for real-time attendees while it is being broadcast.

This should help clarify the fact that live stream events scheduled for a specific date and time and which are monitored by an expert who answers questions counts toward a CPA’s annual 40-hour CPE obligation. When a CPA is taking an online course at a time of his or her convenience that offers no expert monitoring the material, that is considered self-study, and those hours are capped at 20 per year.

“Some people are confused on what self-study is,” Board member Brian Johnson said during the meeting. “By following NASBA’s lead and changing it so that live webinars do not have to be ‘live,’ but can be pre-recorded based on Miss Adkins’ motion, I think that will help licensees a lot to do this on a more flexible basis. I think that’s a move in the right direction to help the licensees out.”

SCACPA is looking forward to the BOA’s announcement of this measure and all upcoming guidance on this matter. We thank the BOA for taking this under consideration.

In the meantime, to ensure that you get the CPE that you need, SCACPA’s volunteer leaders are working hard to make sure you have a quality schedule.

SCACPA continues to offer our full schedule of quality CPE along with “just-in-time” learning through the convenience and security of our online classroom. Look to www.scacpa.org/events for upcoming events.

SCACPA’s offerings are developed with your specific needs in mind and span many topics. Some CPE is offered live through our monitored online classroom at a set schedule (which counts toward your 40-hour CPE requirement), and others are self-paced self-study where hours are capped at 20 per year.

While we have a volunteer committee that works specifically with our CPE calendar, we are always open to your feedback. If there is a subject area you would like to see covered by SCACPA’s speakers, or if you have suggestions from other CPE experiences, please contact SCACPA CEO at cjenkins@scacpa.org or 803.791.4181 to carve out time to discuss your ideas.

From: South Carolina Board of Accountancy <donotreply@llr.sc.gov>
Date: September 11, 2020 at 6:37:50 PM EDT
Subject: Update from the SC Board of Accountancy

In response to concerns about CPE compliance issues resulting from the public health state of emergency, the Board voted at its August 19, 2020, meeting to modify the CPE requirements under regulation 1-08(C)(1)(a) for Online Live Instruction programs for the 2020 calendar year. The modification temporarily removes the requirement for interaction of a real-time instructor or discussion leader during an Online Live Instruction Program. This will allow instructors/discussion leaders to record their presentations, and replay them at a later time without having to be present in real-time during the replay. However, to be accepted as an Online Live Instruction provider, questions submitted by attendees must be answered by the instructor/discussion leader within 48 hours of the presentation. The instructor/discussion leader is required to provide all of the questions received and corresponding responses to all of the program participants.

The second modification the Board made to accommodate CPE compliance issues in response to the public health emergency was to allow licensees who have a verifiable hardship to request an extension of time to complete their CPE requirements for the 2020 calendar year. This modification allows the Board Chair and administrator to confer and approve extensions that may have previously required a Board hearing. Some extension requests may still require a Board hearing if there is any question of whether or not there is a clear, verifiable hardship, which prevents the licensee from being able to complete the CPE requirements. In the past, the Board typically only granted extensions in cases of extreme circumstances, with the approach that if you are able to work, you are able to complete CPE. This modification allows for the Board to take into account other factors, which may be unique to the COVID-19 pandemic, when considering extension requests. However, due to the abundance of CPE available, as well as the transition of the many live, in-person events to live online events, this modification does not allow for extension requests for issues such as a personal preference for live, in-person CPE over live, online CPE, or extension requests due to the scheduling of a specific CPE event. Requests for an extension of time to complete CPE requirements for the 2020 calendar year should be submitted in writing, along with documentation of the verifiable hardship, prior to the end of the 2020 calendar year.

Please note that no modifications have been made to the limitation on self-study hours, which remains capped at 20 hours per year.

Additionally, please be sure to review and familiarize yourself with the new Board of Accountancy regulations which became effective on June 26, 2020. The regulations were reviewed and revised in accordance with Governor McMaster’s executive order 2017-09. This was a multi-year process, which was organized by the Board, and the Board’s Regulation Task Force, which included several members of the Board of Accountancy, as well as representatives from SCACPA, SC Association of Accounting Educators, SC Society of Accountants, SC Bankers Association, and a non-Board member CPA representing licensees in public practice. The Board would like to thank all of the members of the Task Force for their contributions and participation in this process. You can find the Board of Accountancy Regulations on the Board’s website, at: https://llr.sc.gov/acct/forms/Accountancy%20Regulations_4923_official%202020.06.26.pdf