Continuing Professional Education

Article excerpt

Sue Marcum, CPA, tax manager, Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus, Vienna, Virginia.

More and more of our tax department members are certified, so we look for CPE that's available in a group setting. Our solution was to subscribe to the Financial Executives Institute's (FEI's) Financial Management Network video series. We get one videotaped session a month on a variety of topics including tax, accounting and management. We watch it together and each earn 4 credits per month for a total of 48 a year.

I need courses on international taxation and multistate income tax and sales tax issues because Ringling Bros.' Circus is presented in almost every state and we produce Walt Disney's World on Ice in over 30 countries and in most states. To keep current, I attend Ernst & Young's monthly roundtables on international tax topics. Last year I took a World Trade Institute seminar on Australian and Asian tax planning. Another source of CPE is the American Society of Women Accountants and American Woman's Society of CPAs annual and regional meetings and local educational seminars.

Patrice E. Elliott, CPA, fiscal officer, Caribbean Women's Health Association, Brooklyn, New York.

I generally fulfill my CPE requirement through conference mailings I get from the American Institute of CPAs or the New York State Society of CPAs. Most of the conferences I go to are geared toward nonprofit accounting. I attended the Institute's not-for-profit conference in Washington D.C., in July because it's rare that you find seminars relevant to nonprofit organizations.

For a job-related conference I get time off--it's a day of work. For an unrelated one, I take a vacation day, although in the past two years I haven't had to do too much of that since most of my CPE involves nonprofit accounting. I fill in remaining credits with self-study.

The financial assistance I get from the Caribbean Women's Health Association depends on how clearly a conference falls within the realm of the programs we offer. We are a small community-based organization--we provide outreach and education for AIDS, prenatal care and community health.

If a conference is job-related, we probably can get one of our funding sources to pay for it. Our organization is about 85% funded by the city, state and federal governments, with the balance coming from foundations and corporations. Unfortunately, it's hard to get government agencies to pay for something for which they don't see a benefit.

Lawrence M. Kean, CPA, CMA, secretary and controller, A&A Manufacturing Co., Inc., New Berlin, Wisconsin.

As A&A's chief financial officer, I focus on CPE programs that give me an overview of accounting and tax issues, management topics, computer technologies, employment law, insurance and worker-safety issues and quality improvement activities. My duties involve a wide range of business areas, including banking relations, tax planning and administration, risk management, order processing and customer service, credit, employee benefit plans, international trade and information systems.

The Wisconsin Institute of CPAs has been my primary source of formal CPE for the past few years. The organization's southeast chapter offers good conferences and seminars and has monthly meetings on various topics that provide 3 or 4 hours of credit. I also have attended the Wisconsin Institute's monthly luncheon meetings and annual conferences for CPAs who are in industry.

The Illinois Society of CPAs offers two annual three-day conferences that earn 10 or 15 credits each--the Midwest Computer Show, which focuses on information systems, and the Accounting and Business Management Show. I also attend some of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce monthly seminars for manufacturers and the service industry on the quality improvement process and customer satisfaction. In addition, although I don't do it for credit, I read extensively--mostly accounting-related journals and business periodicals and books. …