THE SMOKE DETECTOR: What is Competency-Based Training?

By Jason Bainter posted 12-01-2015 15:28


For a few years now we have been hearing from the Indiana CPA Society about the need for competency-based training. A year ago, the Society was able to get the Indiana Board of Accountancy to accept the Society’s competency-based courses in Collaboration & Networking, Communication Skills, Critical Thinking, Decision Making, and Entrepreneurship and Leadership. As a result of the Society’s efforts, the Indiana Board of Accountancy will provide a waiver for up to 16 CPE hours in Indiana only for up to two of the above competency-based courses. On November 20, 2015, the Indiana CPA Society was able to once again take a step toward a competency-based model of CPE for license renewal. The board approved language for a rule providing alternatives in fulfilling the ethics requirement which includes a competency-based ethics course

So, what exactly is competency-based training? According to the CPA Center of Excellence®, “competency-based learning is an education format that allows students flexibility to learn where and when they want to and to demonstrate mastery of content instead of simply counting hours.” Per The Competency Group’s website, “competency-based training is developed around the competency standards that have been identified for a specific job. To be assessed as competent, a person must demonstrate the ability to perform the job’s specific tasks.” The Competency Group also provides the following benefits of a competency-based training program: “1.) Ensures that training is cost-effective, goal-oriented and productive; 2.) targets specific training needs; 3.) standardizes performance across organization; 4.) and improves quality of products and services.”

In developing the competency-based training courses, the CPA Center of Excellence® utilized the core competencies of the AICPA’s CPA Horizons 2025 Initiative which were: Communication, Leadership, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Anticipating and Serving Evolving Needs, Synthesizing Intelligence Into Insight, and Integration and Collaboration. The Indiana CPA Society also added a seventh core competency of Knowledge Sharing due to the work of its Knowledge Management Task Force. 

The CPA Center of Excellence®’s competency based courses allow you to take each course at your own pace and where ever you want to take it as it can be taken on a computer, tablet or smart phone. Each learning module is interactive and is on-demand. As an individual taking the course, you are able to hear real stories from local CPAs, read what other CPAs have to say about the learning materials, and can share one’s own opinions throughout the built-in participant discussions. This method allows a CPA to learn at their own pace, allows you to obtain different perspectives that might not otherwise be available, and allows you to earn digital badges, which are symbols that are housed online and are designed to validate learning and demonstrate skills learned.

I believe this is a game changing way to transform CPE and will assist the CPA Center of Excellence® in becoming the premier provider of competency-based CPE as this method of learning gains more traction in the CPA profession. I am proud to be part of a Society that keeps an eye toward the future and understands the necessity for change instead of maintaining the status quo. Please go to the CPA Center of Excellence® at and sign up for a competency-based course now.

#ethics #Competency #competencybased #CPE