BusinessPeople In BusinessCPD: CIPFA


Continuing Professional Development guidelines from CIPFA.

Every member is part of the way CIPFA presents itself to the outside world. We are all guarantors of the CIPFA ‘brand’ and the accountancy profession.

So the institute has a real interest in the ongoing competence of all members. As CIPFA members we have a duty to observe the institute’s Statement of Ethics. This emphasises that all members should maintain and develop their professional competence. CIPFA has developed its CPD scheme to enable you to do this and your participation not only enhances your own career prospects but also your professional reputation and that of CIPFA too.

What changes has CIPFA made to the CPD scheme?
The new scheme operates at two levels of participation. At Level 1 members will be required to meet the minimum requirements of recording CPD activity whilst at Level 2 members will be required to plan, record and reflect upon their development needs and activities. Over a three-year period 120 hours of verifiable CPD is expected with a minimum of 20 hours in any one-year. (This compares to 150 and 25 hours respectively in the previous scheme.)

What support services are available?
New support services are being developed to help members to take part in the scheme. A new web-based service providing management and technical development resources is being set up and a range of other support services will follow.

What do I have to do to participate in the scheme?
The minimum requirement is to record and evidence your CPD activities ensuring that they amount to at least 20 hours in any one year and 120 hours over a three-year period.

What recognition will I get for participating?
Members who participate at Level 2 will be denoted by an asterisk in the CIPFA Directory of Members. Upon completion of three continuous years at Level 2 you will receive a Certificate of Achievement. However the real reward is the satisfaction of refreshing and acquiring new skills and knowledge and feeling confident that you are up to date. Your career prospects are also likely to be enhanced.

Why is implementation of the new scheme being phased over three years?
This is simply to ensure that appropriate levels of support can be offered to assist members joining the scheme for the first time.

I no longer work in a technical finance role so does CPD apply to me?
CPD should support you in your current employment, and likely future direction whatever that might be. It is not intended to put you in a position of being able to pass an exam in some technical area, which you do not use in your job. If you are in a senior position relying on the expertise of others, CPD should sustain your capability to know what to ask, and how to evaluate your staff’s performance. Whatever your role we believe that members should regularly review and update the skills and knowledge they need to perform effectively and competently.

I don’t work in the public services so how is CPD relevant to me?
Because CIPFA’s CPD scheme is a framework to help you develop your technical and management skills and knowledge in any role, the sector you are employed in is not an issue. You are responsible for deciding the content of your CPD to ensure that you perform your current role effectively and develop your career successfully in the future. The scheme gives you the responsibility to make sure it is relevant to your circumstances. CPD is not about updating knowledge that is no longer helpful to you. It is about ensuring that you are fit for your current and future roles.

I only work part time: how does this affect CPD?
Usually the level of competence required for a job is the same whether it is performed on a full or part time basis, including as a job share. However, the CPD Section will be happy to discuss individual cases and to consider requests for a reduction in the minimum number of hours as well as offering support with your development.

Is it necessary for retired members working in voluntary roles to undertake CPD?
It is important that the work of voluntary and charitable organisations is undertaken competently and that their resources are properly accounted for and are well used. In practice, much will depend upon the particular size, scale and complexity of the volunteer role that the retired member agrees to undertake. The CPD Section will be happy to give guidance in individual cases.

I’m not looking for promotion so why should I do CPD?
Participation in CIPFA’s scheme is concerned about maintenance of knowledge and skills as much as developing new knowledge and skills. Even if you are not seeking promotion, or do not expect to move from your present job, you will be affected by changes in the workplace e.g. new legislation and new working practices. articipation in the CPD scheme can help you to deal with the particular changes affecting your role and to ensure that they are managed successfully.

Opportunities for advancing my career are limited, how can CPD help me?
The framework of planning and recording your development provides the opportunity for you to consider how your career is progressing and, if you wish to make any changes, to identify the knowledge and skills which you need to develop.

I can’t afford to pay for courses so how can I fulfil the scheme requirements?
While attending training courses is a valid way of doing CPD, it is not an essential part of CIPFA’s CPD scheme. There are many other structured and unstructured developmental opportunities available to you in the workplace, as a volunteer offering your services to the local community or as a valued member of the CIPFA volunteer workforce (for example, a member of a CIPFA panel or working group), which you can take advantage of as part of your CPD. The important test is to make sure that you are adding to or refreshing the skills and knowledge – which are relevant to the job you are doing now or hope to do in the future.

Why do I need to complete the paperwork?
The most important part of your CPD is undertaking the development. Completing the paperwork enables you to address your CPD needs in a structured and systematic manner. The forms are available on the CPD website and once you get into the routine of using them this should take no longer than a couple of hours each year.

I participate in my employer’s work based scheme. Why should I participate in CIPFA’s scheme as well?
Subject to prior agreement with employers, CIPFA allows you to present paperwork completed as part of your employer’s scheme in place of its own. A wide range of organisations employing CPFAs have already taken advantage of this. Again contact the CPD Section if your employer’s scheme is not yet recognised and we can advise.

How can I fit CPD in with all I have to do?
Although you may not recognise it you are almost certainly already doing CPD. In order to be able to perform your duties competently you are most likely keeping up to date with changes in a variety of relevant aspects e.g. legislation, policy, best practice, technology etc. This is valuable CPD activity. For it to be accommodated within the framework of the scheme it simply needs to be properly recorded and evidenced. The scheme enables this to be done with a minimum of effort and paperwork.

Am I able to suspend my participation in the scheme?
In special circumstances e.g. members on a career break or on long-term sick leave will be able to suspend their participation in the scheme. Cases will be considered on an individual basis. Upon return to employment members will be asked to give full consideration to their development needs by resuming their participation in the scheme.

Where can I find out more information about the scheme?
By telephoning Eileen Cummins, CPD Manager, on 020 7543 5668, e-mailing or visiting the CPD website at

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