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How to Keep Track of and Store CPD Records

November 16, 2021

Tracking and Storing CPD hours.

Life as a CPA can often be hectic. With all the responsibilities CPAs need to juggle, Professional Development can often become an afterthought. This can lead to looking through stacks of paper or thousands of files to find the documentation needed to confirm hours.

What Records do I need and how long should I keep them?

All of the 20 required verifiable CPD hours claimed at year end must be backed up by supporting documentation.

This Documentation can include:

  • A Certificate or Transcript confirming completion of the course or program
  • Course assignment or exam results
  • Record of attendance (sign-in sheet)
  • Record of payment or invoice

You are required by CPA Canada to hold on to records for at least five years. It is most important to hold on to verifiable CPD records from the last three years as this confirms you have met the rolling period requirements. Keeping at least these records will guarantee no concerns if you are chosen to be audited.

We’ve heard a lot of different answers from our customers about how they’ve kept their records in the past. Here are a few of the different ways to store and keep track of your CPD records.

Excel Sheets:

This is the most common answer we get to the question how have you been keeping track of your hours in the past. Who knows why this is the case, maybe CPAs use excel so much it’s their answer to everything.

CPAs love Excel… a lot. When surveyed, the majority of CPAs currently track their CPD through Excel sheets.

The benefit of this method is that all of the information is on one program that you probably use extremely often, and all necessary information can be stored in one singular location.

The downside to storing everything this way is if you lose or accidentally delete the master file you will probably need to spend a few hours scrounging around your files to find all supplemental documents. It is also easy to forget about your CPD requirements in general as the file isn’t usually accessed so it’s not top of mind. This can lead to scrambling at the last minute to pick up any remaining hours.

Folders on Desktop:

This one’s the second most popular, yet carries some risks!

People tend to use folders for storage as they are quick and easy, it takes seconds to set up and can be accessed anytime in seconds. If you have certificates in PDF or photo evidence of your CPD, storing your CPD in folders is better than Excel.

The issues are similar to the Excel Sheets method. If you haven’t saved all your files to another secure location, you risk losing all information. What’s more, because you can only store so much in a desktop, you might accidentally delete your files when cleaning your desktop.

In this case, storing it in Documents or other places would be better. It can also be difficult to keep track of all total hours gained without some form of master sheet you manually update every time you get more hours.

CPD Tracking Tools:

Over the last few years, more online tools have been developed to keep track of records. CPD hour tracking, which has been introduced by a few sites, records and stores your hours internally, likely in the same place you will be completing your hours. Documents stored are generally easy to access and download.

Provincial bodies like CPA Ontario have developed CPD tracking tools to help CPAs organize their files.

LumiQ CPD Tracker

LumiQ has an internal CPD tracker which will chart your total CPD hours earned down to the minute. All files are stored in one place and you can print any of the necessary documents in seconds.

CPD earned through LumiQ is automatically tracked — no need to manually log it each time. It also allows you to import hours already earned from other sources so everything needed is in one convenient space.

Create an account today and get 5 free CPD hours + free use of our CPD tracker!

Next post

A Guide to the CPD Audit Process

Cartoon-style image of a couple pieces of paper, a magnifying glass, a pen, and a pencil on a desk

Wallking through the CPD Audit process for Canadian CPAs. How to report, what you need to provide, and what happens if requirements aren't met.