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Could your CPE be audited in 2021? Maybe

BOA Business

Anne Janotta Erickson, MNCPA membership marketing team leader | February/March 2021 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated February 1, 2021

Every year, the Minnesota Board of Accountancy (BOA) randomly selects CPAs for their annual CPE audit.

Don’t write this off as either optional or inconvenient. The CPE audit serves an important role in protecting the public by ensuring CPAs stay abreast of the rules and regulations vital to their roles in firms and companies.

Could 2021 be the year you’re chosen to have your CPE audited? Maybe. Be ready for anything by understanding the nuances of how a CPE audit works.

What can I expect from a CPE audit?

The BOA conducts CPE audits in batches throughout the year. This means you could receive notice of a CPE audit anytime. Audits are assigned randomly by a computer. One BOA board member is chosen annually, as well.

The CPE reporting period that’s currently being audited is July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020.*

If chosen, expect to receive a letter from the BOA that clearly states your response deadline. Within your response, include:
  • A completed CPE Audit Form. This is available for download on the BOA’s website as a fillable PDF.
  • CPE supporting documentation. Supply documents for all courses taken between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2020.*
Once received, the BOA reviews all documentation. If there are no issues, expect a letter notifying you that the audit is complete. If mistakes were found, you’ll receive a follow-up letter with instructions.

Note: Not responding is not an option and it will result in disciplinary action down the road.

* Wait, I thought there was a CPE deadline extension?

You’re right! In 2020, the BOA granted CPAs a CPE deadline extension from June 30 to Sept. 30 due to COVID-19.

You didn’t have to use this extension, but if you did, it’s important to apply the CPE credits to the correct reporting year. Any hours earned during the extension can only be applied to either CPE Fiscal Year 2020 or CPE Fiscal Year 2021. Not both.

Because a CPE reporting period covers three CPE years, it’s important to be consistent when tracking credits earned during the extension.

Avoid common errors

Mistakes don’t have to happen to you! Learn from the errors your CPA peers who have participated in past CPE audits have made.

Common issues include:
  • Missing documentation, including:
    • CPE certificates.
    • Supporting documents for nonapproved classes.
  • Failing to respond.
    • BOA rules require a timely response. A late response, or none whatsoever, could result in disciplinary action.
  • Missing carryback credits.
    • Carryback credits need to be reported as soon as you discover and make up the shortage.
    • Noncompliance fees accrue monthly. Contact the BOA to understand what you owe.
  • Failing to use the required forms.          
    • The audit form clearly instructs you to not use your own spreadsheets or attachments.
  • Misclassifying courses.
    • Use the NASBA Fields of Study to confirm whether a course is technical or nontechnical.


The Minnesota BOA regulates the CPA profession. They can be reached at 651-296-7938 or

The MNCPA is here to help. Contact us at 952-831-2707 or

Have you changed your name? Notify the BOA!

The BOA has noticed a trend that needs to end. Too many CPAs have legally changed their name — due to marriage, divorce or otherwise — but have not made the change with the BOA. Remember, your legal name must match the name on your CPA certificate.

Notify the BOA of a name change by email, fax or mail. Include a copy of your legal name change documentation (marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.).