CIPFA to launch first public audit qualification in 2015

CIPFA is set to launch a new professional qualification at the beginning of 2015.

The 14,000-strong membership body for those working in public finance said the new qualification will continue to “focus on skills that are central to the main roles finance professionals perform in public services organisations while adapting to the changing public sector environment to better reflect the evolving needs of public finance practitioners”.

The public sector institute said improvements will include an increased focus on commercial skills such as commissioning, contract negotiation, financial modelling, financial instruments, and partnership working. It will also offer “greater portability between the public and private sectors, more and better entry routes for holders of other qualifications, more emphasis on the role of the employer and greater flexibility including improved online learning options”.

It will include a new core module: the Public Audit Qualification (PAQ) – the first and only public sector audit qualification available under the new local audit regime in the UK. This follows CIPFA being awarded ‘Recognised Qualifying Body’ status for the PAQ by the Financial Reporting Council. The PAQ will also be available in a modular format for professionals from other accountancy bodies looking to qualify in public sector audit.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA’s chief executive Rob Whiteman, said: “Our new and improved CIPFA qualification will meet the needs of fast changing and increasingly diverse public services, and will ensure our students are in the best position to build a successful career in public finance.

“Gaining the new PQ will give finance practitioners the skills and knowledge to make a more powerful difference in public services around the world.”

CIPFA’s new PQ – which will take between six months to three years to complete – will look to provide greater portability between the public and private sectors and provide more entry routes for holders from other qualifications and experienced professionals.

It will also seek to enhance the ‘Practical Experience Portfolio’ (PEP) by placing greater emphasis on the role of the employer and enable greater flexibility around blended and online learning options.

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