While classic update programmes such as UK GAAP, IFRS, US GAAP and taxation
remain popular, we have seen a noticeable increase in demand for more specialist
training such as corporate finance for SMEs, strategic management accounting,
LLPs, accounting and reporting by insurance companies and finance in the not for
profit sector (principally charities and government departments).
We are also seeing a marked increase in demand for more targeted and in-depth
technical training of particular standards, such as financial instruments
accounting and reporting, and deferred taxation accounting under IFRS.
It would seem that, with the idea of CPD now more established, accountants
are giving real thought to the skills they will need to develop their careers.
They are demanding courses that will enhance their effectiveness at work,
both short- and long-term, rather than simply attending annual updates to get
their training points or to have something to put in their development records.
This is a very welcome development and one which I am sure the accountancy
bodies will be pleased to note.
The trend to more specialist courses is not the only way in which CPD is
broadening out. At the same time, we are seeing increasing recognition that
skills which are completely outside the accounting sphere should be developed.
This probably reflects the way that all of the accountancy bodies have asked
their members to consider their skills broadly, and to think about what might
improve the work they currently do or expect to do in future.
So areas as diverse as interviewing techniques, time management, effective
report writing, and managing diversity in the workplace (to name but a few) are
coming into play. Providers of training courses, in their turn, are offering the
profession a range of options in the ‘management skills’ area.
When CPD came in, it was always understood that, to embrace its real purpose,
accountants would need to reflect on their non-technical skills, as well as
technical updates. When accountants do this in large numbers, then we can say
that CPD has truly arrived.
The evidence this year is that we are moving in the right direction.
Si Hussain is chief executive of professional development at BPP
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