What is CPD for Accountants and Why Does it Matter?

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Continuous Professional Development, otherwise widely known as CPD is not just a requirement to maintain your accounting qualification, but a great way to help career progression.



What are the benefits of CPD? 

  • Keep your technical skills up to date
  • Stay informed of current topics allowing you to deal with related problems in an efficient way
  • Access ongoing personal development to help build your career as a leader of the future
  • Improve management skills to deal with issues confidently and comfortably

Why is CPD Important for Accountants?

Continuous Professional Development is the learning and development that you’ll do throughout your career as a professional accountant. Your CPD is a vital part of your professional membership that helps you to unlock the potential of your lifelong career journey and shape the future of the profession.

CPD will provide you with the skills that you need to perform your day-to-day job, as well as enhance your employability for the future.

It should create lifelong learning tailored to the changing profession. And that means you should always aim to stay ahead of the competition. In this case being your fellow professionals that are applying for similar roles that may be part of your career plan.


What counts as CPD for Accountants?

A range of activities can count as CPD provided that they are relevant to your current role or future career aspirations. Activities include courses, work based and online learning.  

You may also be required to have verifiable CPD. If so, you need to be able to positively address the following questions: 

  1. Is the learning activity relevant to your career?
  2. Can you explain how you applied the learning in the workplace?
  3. Can you provide evidence that you undertook the learning activity?

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What CPD is Relevant for Accountants?

When planning your CPD and choosing activities, the most important thing to focus on is the relevance.

Make sure what you’re learning is relevant to your role and your career ambitions.

If you work in accounting and finance, you will need to keep your technical skills current. So, you should aim to ensure that an appropriate amount of development is undertaken, not only technically but also in management skills and personal development.

These non-finance specific skills are important and may include areas such as:

Planning is a Key Part of CPD 

Each year you should identify areas for development and undertake CPD that helps you meet your development needs to ensure your skills and knowledge are up to date. 

To do that you should keep a record, as you may need to demonstrate what CPD you’ve done to a current or future employer. 

By planning your CPD over a longer period you will gain the most knowledge and achieve lifelong learning. You can do this by:

  • Plan what areas you need to develop and source relevant learning activities
  • Complete relevant CPD to get credits
  • Review what you have learned and if you need any further development
  • Follow a plan and do your CPD on a regular basis over the course of a year. This will help you stay on track with your development and identify any gaps or areas where more learning is required.

Who Decides Best practice for CPD?

International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) contributes to high-quality international standards and guidance, helps build strong professional accountancy organisations and accounting firms, and supports high-quality practices by professional accountants.

IFAC has issued International Education Standard (IES) 8, that prescribes the professional competence that professional accountants are required to develop and maintain.

All courses should take these requirements into account to ensure no matter what the requirements of your job are that the CPD you complete is relevant and applicable.

Professional ethics lies at the heart of our CPD. Our approach also fully complies with the CPD standard required by IFAC, of which ACCA is a member.


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Topics: CPD