CPD: what the Institutes offer

For many of you, continuing professional development is already a painful
reality or – depending on your point of view – an essential weapon in your
arsenal when it comes to proving your competence. For most accountants,
engagement is required by January 2006, whichever institute you belong to.

The driver is the fast-growing general trend across the global profession to
introduce mandatory CPD, as part of ongoing efforts to shore up confidence
dented by a succession of corporate and auditing scandals.

It is also about satisfying the regulators. In May 2004, the International
Federation of Accountants issued international education standard 7, which
requires member bodies to introduce mandatory CPD from January 2006.

With just three months to go until CPD becomes mandatory for all but a
handful of accountants, we outline the requirements of each of the main bodies.


ACCA’s scheme, ACCA Realise, does not require members to participate in
particular activities. There is no obligation to attend courses. Instead the
association requires members to ensure they maintain and develop their business
and/or financial knowledge and skills, but this must be appropriate to their
role and career aspirations.

There is no requirement to update knowledge and skills that are not relevant
to their career needs. Members are also asked to indicate on their annual CPD
return if they are maintaining or developing knowledge of professional ethics
appropriate to their role.

ACCA has developed a range of support and services to help members identify
relevant CPD. These include the professional development matrix, an online tool
developed specifically to help members identify the skills they need for their
roles and any training and development they might require.

For more go to


With the motto ‘continuous, flexible, focused’, CIMA has spent the summer
developing a professional development planner and launching online CPD products.

In the months since June, members have already been using three products:
CIMA Inform – a compliance and financial management resource; Business Source
Corporate – the CIMA e-journal resource; and Harvard ManageMentor PLUS – the
CIMA business skills resource. A fourth online resource, the CIMA Professional
Development Planner, is designed to support members in assessing, planning and
recording their professional development.

This month it extended its offering further with CIMA Development, an
employer accreditation scheme. Employers who can demonstrate that they meet
CIMA’s standards will be accredited as CIMA Development Partners. Next month,
the members’ scheme, CIMA Professional Development, launches ahead of January
2006’s D-day. To help members understand the scheme and how it will apply to
them, CIMA will be sending out a CPD information pack in November.

For more go to


It was a busy summer for CIPFA. The public sector institute took time off
from merger negotiations with the ICAEW to launch the CIPFA Learning Centre at
its June conference.

The centre enables members to register and declare participation in the
scheme; review, plan, undertake, record and reflect on CPD; access CIPFA, IPF as
well as other technical and management authoritative advice and guidance; and
share CPD plans and take part in e-discussions on key issues with other members.

Since January 2005, many CIPFA members have already had to complete CPD. The
institute is introducing the scheme in phases with all members to be included by

CIPFA is taking one of the more prescriptive approaches, requiring members to
complete 120 hours of CPD activity over a three-year period. There is a minimum
requirement of at least 20 verifiable hours annually. Members will be
responsible for identifying knowledge and skills to develop and these will be
influenced by the sectors in which they work. They can meet their obligations
from a choice of activities, including attending seminars, conferences, writing
technical articles for publications, project work, on-the-job learning and
mentoring. Members can also choose when their CPD year begins.

For more go to


At Moorgate Place, CPD began to bite on 1 January 2005. From November, it
moves to the next stage, with all members required to declare annually they have
complied with the ICAEW’s CPD requirements. Members who intentionally and
persistently seek to avoid their CPD obligations will make themselves liable to
disciplinary proceedings.

The ICAEW wants members to focus on several areas: expectations on the member
as a professional; reflecting on the learning and development that is needed;
relevant and role-based development; effectiveness of the learning and
development activity; and the development of a broad range of skills, including
professional judgment and ethics, business awareness and technical expertise.

The insitute’s old continuing professional education system was based on
hours and points, and activities were either structured or unstructured. CPD is
instead based on meeting professional expectations. Members themselves determine
the activities that best enable them to keep up-to-date and maintain competence.
They submit a declaration once a year to confirm compliance.

Members who work in audit in an ICAEW audit-registered firm have mandatory
transitional arrangements for the period 1 January to 31 December 2005.

For more go to


ICAS is a little further behind the other institutes and has yet to put the
finishing touches to its scheme. But it wants to move away from a prescriptive
approach to CPD to one that focuses on individual responsibility and which
recognises that not all CPD activities can be measured in hours.

For this reason, the new approach asks members to take responsibility for how
much CPD is done and to exercise professional judgement as to when they feel
they have acquired the necessary skills and expertise to do their jobs

‘A good test will be if any third party, including ICAS, is able to discern
that you have undergone a process of professional development that includes a
range of CPD activities and which records and reflects on the activities you
have undertaken,’ the institute says.

ICAS will be publishing comprehensive guidance to help its members identify
relevant CPD activities, however, all types of CPD activity based around
multimedia learning, ‘on the job’ learning, research and attending courses will
be considered relevant.

Members will be asked to sign an explicit declaration with their annual
return confirming they have complied with the new CPD requirements, and failure
to do this will constitute a disciplinary offence.

ICAS is looking at implementing a risk-based approach to compliance with
high-risk categories of members more likely to be monitored. Failure to submit a
training plan for review will also constitute a disciplinary offence as will
consistent failure to take on board any remedial action suggested by ICAS where
there is no discernable process of CPD.

For more go to

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