Continuing Professional Development is defined as the systematic maintenance, enhancement and continuous improvement of the knowledge, skills and ability, often termed ‘competence’, that one needs to work as a professionally qualified management accountant. There are two strands to CPD:

  • update CPD, which ensures professional competence and prevents technical obsolescence within the member’s field of work
  • developmental CPD, which provides new knowledge, broadens skills and opens up new career opportunities.

In any one year, you could be undertaking one or both strands. The term ‘professional’ is deemed to include both personal and technical competences. So what are the benefits of CPD? Effective CPD can provide many benefits for individuals, employers, and society in general. Essentially, it is a means of maintaining and enhancing competitive edge and profitability through:

  • professional staff who continue to be fit and competent to practice
  • employees committed to developing their knowledge, skills and expertise, who contribute to and adapt to organisational change
  • the demonstration of credibility and standards of excellence to clients and other bodies
  • the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff who seek opportunities for challenging work and enhanced employability and career development
  • a positive image of the organisation as a progressive employer committed to developing its human resources and improving its business services
  • organisational flexibility, with staff who are able to adapt to changing business demands through the use and transfer of key skills
  • gaining commitment from employees, enabling their development for promotion opportunities
  • supporting the organisation’s quality assurance systems and providing evidence of commitment and compliance (towards, for example, IIP or ISO9000).

Our policy on CPD states that:

  • All members have a duty to comply with CPD in order to maintain professional and personal competence. That duty is to themselves, to their customers and employers and to CIMA.
  • Members are expected to devote a minimum of 30 hours per year to structured development, underpinned by 2-3 hours per week of reading and private study, both of which should be logged to provide a record to:
  1. include in their portfolio or CV to demonstrate their added value
  2. provide a route by which they can reflect on the learning undertaken and gain direction for the next step in their development.
  • CIMA does not specify the content of that development but does expect it to be consistent with the expectations of our Ethical code, the employing organisation and the individual member.
  • members are expected to keep records of CPD undertaken. These may be required by CIMA, for example, from applicants for Fellowship or from members subject to disciplinary complaints.

Requirements of CPD
How much CPD you do is dependant on the needs of you and your employer and your personal development plan. Charles Handy, in The Age of Unreason (Hutchinson 1989, p.152), sets times for the different aspects of his life, as ‘a professional man in his Third Age’:

Fee work (that for which he will be paid): 150 days

Gift work (that for charities, friends, the community): 50 days

Study: 75 days

Home and leisure: 90 days

The study days, or CPD, reflect his needs (researching material for new books) and are part of his development plan put together with his employer (his publisher/agent).

Any learning activity relevant to the work you undertake may count as structured CPD, provided it is undertaken in a planned way based upon your assessment of your CPD needs. It can take many forms, depending on your skills and aspirations, your job role and the nature of your industry. Some examples are:

  • participation in in-house events (courses, workshops, seminars, conferences) organised by your employer
  • participation in external events organised by a variety of hosts, which could include CIMA Mastercourses
  • secondments and job shadowing
  • participation in events such as workshops and talks by eminent speakers, organised by CIMA regional groups, special interest groups and events hosted by other professional bodies
  • development, presentation or facilitation of some aspect of training
  • work undertaken towards higher management qualifications or the qualifications of other professional bodies.

Four days per annum for four decades of value to yourself, your family, your community and the profession – what a bargain!

For more on CIMA’s CPD arrangements go to mbers/professional/cpd/

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