As you will come to realize, most CPE is delivered in the form of a webinar or webcast online. It makes sense, after all – these organizations, most of which are accounting firms, use online presentations to reach as broad an audience as possible for minimal cost.
In addition, it’s “free” advertisement for them. Win-win for all involved.
Live events are typically more costly and can only accommodate a limited number of guests, which is why you typically won’t find as many of these that are free to register. Should you ignore these completely?
Personally, I think these events have value that extends well beyond the CPE offered. Not only do you get to see live speakers, who may be more interactive and offer a better educational experience (if it’s a topic you’re interested in), but these are great networking events as well.
If you’re a sole practitioner, it’s nice to chat with others in the industry and learn about the challenges they face, and how they handle certain processes or new legislation with their clients. Even more beneficial to everyone, there could be opportunities to refer business. If you specialize in small manufacturing companies and you’ve met a CPA who specializes in trust & estate tax, it goes without saying that this practitioner could be a potential referral partner.
Bottom line is – get your free CPE credits where you can, but don’t forget that paid live events have value too.