The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has recently released important revisions to the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours criteria and adherence for its members. This article highlights the noteworthy modifications, which include implementing a calendar year-based model for CPE hours adherence, mandating specific topics, and utilizing the Digital Learning Hub (DLH) for structured CPE hours.
Calendar Year Basis for CPE Hours Compliance
Starting from 2023, members will need to fulfill their CPE hours requirements on a calendar year basis, running from 1st January to 31st December. This change does away with the previous block/rolling period concept of three years. Penal provisions and actions for non-compliance will be announced separately and applied to those who fail to meet the CPE hours requirements.
CPE Requirements for ICAI Members
1. Members Holding a Certificate of Practice (COP), Under 60 Years of Age and Residing in India
ICAI members in this category are required to complete at least 40 CPE credit hours in each calendar year, which should include a minimum of 20 CPE credit hours of structured learning during the calendar year. The remaining 20 CPE credit hours can be completed through structured or unstructured learning, based on the member’s choice.
2. Members Not Holding a COP, Under 60 Years of Age and Residing Abroad
ICAI members in this category are required to complete at least 20 CPE credit hours of either structured or unstructured learning, based on the member’s choice, during the calendar year.
3. Members Aged 60 Years & Above and Holding a COP
ICAI members in this category are required to complete at least 30 CPE credit hours of either structured or unstructured learning, based on the member’s choice, during the calendar year.
Exemptions from CPE Credit Hours Requirement
1. First-Year Members
A member is exempted only for the particular calendar year during which they obtain membership for the first time.
2. Other Exemptions
Exemptions apply to members aged 60 years and above not holding a COP, and those in specific roles such as judges, members of Parliament, governors, civil servants, entrepreneurs, judicial officers, and military service members.
3. Temporary Exemptions
Temporary exemptions are granted to female members during pregnancy (for one calendar year) and physically disabled members on a case-to-case basis. Members suffering from prolonged critical diseases or other disabilities may also be eligible for exemptions upon approval from the CPED.
Mandatory Topics for Structured CPE Hours
Members who need to complete a minimum of 20 Structured CPE Hours in a calendar year are now required to have 2 Structured CPE Hours each on the topics of “Standards on Auditing” and “Code of Ethics” (totaling 4 Structured CPE Hours). This mandate applies from the calendar year 2020 onwards and can be completed through DLH or in physical mode.
Digital Learning Hub for Virtual Structured CPE Hours
From 2023, members below 60 years of age and holding a Certificate of Practice (COP) must complete 4 Structured CPE Hours in virtual mode through the Digital Learning Hub (DLH). This change comes as virtual CPE meetings (VCMs) are discontinued from 1st April 2023. Members who have earned 4 or fewer Structured CPE hours in online mode (through VCM/DLH) until 31st March 2023 will receive credit on an actual basis, subject to a maximum of 4 Structured CPE hours for the calendar year 2023.
Structured CPE hours obtained in online mode (through VCM/DLH) over the allowed limit will continue to be counted as Unstructured CPE Hours for compliance purposes. Structured CPE hours obtained in physical mode will continue to be counted as Structured CPE Hours. Members can access the ICAI Digital Learning Hub at https://eservices.icai.org/.
By fulfilling these CPE requirements, Chartered Accountants can ensure that they remain up-to-date with industry standards and best practices, ultimately enhancing their professional competence and delivering exceptional services to their clients.
CPE Hours Requirements from Calendar Year 2023 and onwards (ICAI Announcement)
Checking CPE Hours Credits Status
Members can view their updated CPE hours credits status on the CPE Portal under their login, as per the attendance uploaded by the CPE Program Organizing Units (POUs) to date. Members can log in using their existing password or default credentials:
i) User ID: Six Digit Membership Number; and
ii) Default password: cpe+6 digit membership number
ICAI encourages its members to adhere to these guidelines while meeting their CPE hours requirement compliance and wishes them a happy learning experience.
What are the repercussions of not completing CPE hours within stipulated time?
Soon ICAI will announce the penalties for non-compliance with these requirements effecctive from the year 2023. Earlier, such failures were waived upon completing additional CPE hours (at least double) in the following year/block.
How will the transition from virtual CPE meetings to the Digital Learning Hub affect members who have already completed some of their Structured CPE hours online?
Members who have earned 4 or fewer Structured CPE hours in online mode (through VCM/DLH) until 31st March 2023 will receive credit on an actual basis, subject to a maximum of 4 Structured CPE hours for the calendar year 2023. Structured CPE hours obtained in online mode (through VCM/DLH) over the allowed limit will continue to be counted as Unstructured CPE Hours for compliance purposes. Hope this helps.
I missed objectivity in these modifications. Implementing a calendar year-based model for CPE hours adherence is just about time. Further, forcing members to focus on specific topics is like members can’t be trusted to choose for themselves. My suggestion is to make some changes which can save CPE sessions from the influence of candidates of CC/RC Elections.