Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tampa Real Estate & Administrative Lawyer

Schedule a Consultation


Cheating In Online CPA Courses: Ethical Issue


Being a certified public accountant (CPA) comes with a lot of responsibility. This job requires trust, honesty, and integrity when helping clients deal with taxes and other financial issues.

However, a program by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), called Experience, Learn & Earn (ELE), requires online education. First-year staff would be enrolled in online courses in an attempt to earn as many as 30 hours of academic credit while working.

So what’s the big deal? Many classes are taken online nowadays, especially when COVID happened several years ago. Elementary schools, high schools, and colleges all transitioned to distance learning. Programs like ELE are nothing new.

However, when a profession like accounting relies so heavily on integrity, there can be controversy about online learning. There are still a lot of threats to academic integrity. In a fully asynchronous course, cheating is rampant. The internet makes it quick and easy to obtain and share coursework. Will the CPA be the one taking the courses or will they have someone else do it for them?

While there are anti-plagiarism tools available to look for copied work, programs like ELE cannot be easily monitored. There are no set times for classes, no assigned homework to turn in. It’s easy for someone to claim they did the work or hire someone to do it for them.

The good news is that the CPA exam is not offered remotely. That’s because people have been caught cheating in the past. Ironically, they have even cheated on ethics exams. Requiring in-person exams keeps everyone accountable.

The AICPA has a 150-hour requirement, and the ELE program is part of it. This amount of education may seem extensive, but keep in mind the complexity of business, the standards involved, and the increasing sophistication of audits. A high level of skills and knowledge are needed for CPAs to succeed. But even if all available security measures are taken, is online education a good option for young people?

In short, online learning is not the best option for all people. For some, it’s harder to learn online than it is in person. The jury is out on which method is best for CPAs. Evidence is mixed on whether online students perform at the same level as traditional students. In one study, it was determined that online accounting programs have much lower average CPA pass rates when compared to in-person programs.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Certified Public Accountant Licensing Lawyer

While CPAs endorse trust and ethics, online education requirements can bring about cheating behavior in accountants. However, any type of online education and work can bring about accusations of dishonesty.

A Tampa certified public accountant licensing lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. can help keep you honest. I can assist you with licensing issues. To schedule a consultation, call (813) 968-6633 or fill out the online form.