There is very surprising math that supports paying more to meet your CPE requirements.

We all know that free and low-cost CPE options are available in abundance and that more and more enter the market all the time. But how much of a bargain are they, really? Let’s walk through a case study—and run the numbers.

Joe Green is a CPA with a busy practice in a state with an annual CPE reporting requirement. He bills his time out at $275 an hour on average and he prides himself above all on two professional priorities:  perform high quality work and don’t overpay for anything.

This year has been a good one for the firm. Clients and billings are up. In fact, it’s been so busy that October rolled around and Joe, who tries to keep up with his CPE, realized that he has about 20 hours left to complete before December 31st.

Joe decides to look at his CPE options and narrow them down using his two main professional principles of quality and frugality. With these criteria in mind, he narrowed his choices to two options:  a “supercheap” $99 CPE bundle from a company he’s never heard of, and a Surgent CPE Package, which would give him access to the Surgent curriculum for between $499 and $849, depending on the package he chooses.

So what’s the better deal?

On its face this would seem obvious. If Joe goes with the supercheap option, he saves between 400 and 750 dollars. Simple math. But wait—he still needs to spend the hours—20 hours, to be precise, which are worth $275 each, based on his billable rate. That’s $5,500. So shouldn’t Joe’s analysis be this:

Cost of CPE + (time to complete * value of time) = True cost of course

If we use this formula, that bargain basement $99 CPE bundle has an actual cost of $5,599, meaning Joe would need to get at least that much value back from the program in order to break even. That’s a lot to invest in an unproven commodity—especially for Joe, who prides himself on never pays more than something is worth.

Now let’s consider the Surgent option.  It costs more; granted. But it also delivers more:

  • A trusted brand in the industry for over 30 years
  • Best-in-class instructors who are known experts in their fields
  • A track record of spotting known experts
  • In-depth, top-quality course materials
  • A focus on practical strategies that help CPAs develop new services and add client value
  • Up to 12 months of access to the curriculum so CPAs can spread CPE across the year and avoid the stress of cramming CPE before the deadline
  • Up to 12 months of access to courses and materials for reference—in effect having the leading national experts a click away, 24/7

That’s a lot of value. Enough to push frugal Joe into making the more thoughtful investment and choosing a Surgent package. In the end, he would have paid less for the supercheap option. But it would have cost him more.

Surgent is honored to be the CPE choice of CPAs who run the math and know they can trust Surgent to deliver information, strategies, and advice worth what they paid plus the value of their time. Trust Surgent. It’s where pros go to know.

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