PracticePeople In PracticeDo you believe in CPD?

Do you believe in CPD?

So, mandatory CPD for UK qualified accountants is finally a reality. From 2006, continued membership of a UK accounting institute will require every active member to declare compliance with the new CPD regime.

There is little doubt that this mandate benefits the profession. Not only
will it look stronger in the face of continued scrutiny, individuals will be
spurred to keep track of their personal development and share responsibility
towards maintaining the integrity of the profession.

The case for continued professional development has long been established
within the accounting community. Those in ‘high risk’ or public interest roles
of audit and insolvency have been monitored for years.

Despite resistance from some of the more senior qualified members, it is
still surprising that the principle has been so readily accepted by this
time-starved profession. Fears of a stampede caused by FDs being forced back
into the classroom have simply not materialised.

So how are members addressing CPD at a practical level? The new regime is as
much a formalisation, through recording of activities already undertaken, as it
is about undertaking different activities.

At the heart of CPD is the need to consider each and every activity – from
research and on-the-job experience to coaching and course attendance – and how
it contributes to the overall development of the individual. Where the key
difference lies is in the importance of closing any skills gap that are
identified.

The lack of a CPD frenzy in December suggests the profession has correctly
interpreted the mandate as a call to formalise many of the development
activities undertaken throughout the year, rather than to clock up training
hours before a deadline. With the end of the CPD year now less than a month away
for most, enforcers will not have long to see if this is anything more than
wishful thinking.

A successful introduction of this mandate will raise the profession’s
standing and be welcomed by all. Failure to declare in the affirmative will show
the profession has not grasped the importance of CPD to its future credibility.

Si Hussain is chief executive of BPP Professional Development

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