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Why CPD in Accounting is Essential

27 Oct 2023

Becoming an accountant means you're committing to lifelong learning. Continuing professional development (CPD) is extremely important to practitioners as a way to keep your technical skills up to date.

Structured CPD hours are also a fundamental part of your own professional development and personal skills. Training courses may take many forms, including online learning, conferences, training workshops or reflective learning.

With significant changes to CPD in accounting on the horizon, now is the perfect time for you to consider your own continuing professional development. This could be as an individual or, if you're an accounting partner, for your firm.

In this article, we look at why CPD in accounting is essential and how 20:20 Innovation can help accounting professionals with verifiable CPD through online courses.

If you would like more information about becoming a 20:20 Innovation member, why not book a free 30-minute demo with our team today.

What is continuing professional development (CPD)?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to the process of maintaining and enhancing professional knowledge and skills. It is an ongoing commitment that accounting professionals like you undertake to keep up with industry changes, trends, technical skills and best practices.

CPD can be fulfilled through self directed learning or via training providers such as 20:20 Innovation. The key is that accountants should be keeping accurate records of their CPD; from planning through to fulfilment.

Accountant doing CPD as a valuable asset

CPD requirements for UK accountants

In the United Kingdom, accountants are required to fulfil specific yearly requirements for CPD set by professional bodies such as ACCA, AAT, CIMA, and ICAEW. These requirements ensure that you maximise personal development, competence and stay up to date in your field.

In most cases a CPD point or unit will generally equate to one hour of learning.

If you are a partner in a firm you may need to consider your firmwide CPD obligations. Firmwide CPD visibility and controls are set to receive further scrutiny over the coming months and years so it is important that you align with a training provider, such as 20:20 Innovation, who offer firmwide learning, CPD tracking and reporting and resources for accountants.

UK professional bodies accountancy CPD requirements

Different professional bodies have specific CPD requirements for their members. These requirements may include a certain number of hours or points, specific categories of the CPD points, and reporting obligations.

Professional accountancy bodies in the UK include:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)

Accountants like you should familiarise yourselves with the CPD requirements of your professional body.

Accountant supporting career ambitions with finance industry CPD

Understanding what CPD changes lie ahead for accounting professionals

The accounting profession is constantly evolving due to changes in regulations, technology advancements, and new industry standards. CPD helps accounting and finance professionals navigate these changes and stay ahead of the curve.

From 1st November 2023, ICAEW members will need to adapt to new CPD requirements. This includes:

  • A minimum number of CPD hours based on a category.
  • An annual quota of verifiable CPD hours.
  • A minimum of one hours' ethics training in line with the ICAEW Code of Ethics.

We go into more detail about ICAEW changes in this article on CPD requirements for ICAEW member firms.

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Why is CPD important for accountants?

CPD accreditation is crucial for accountants to maintain their professional skills, knowledge, and credibility. It helps accountants stay relevant in a competitive industry and demonstrates their commitment to delivering high-quality services to clients.

CPD is also extremely important for accountants at both ends of the career spectrum. As a newly qualified practitioner, CPD can support future career aspirations and overall career progression. Similarly, if you're a more experienced practitioner, CPD helps you remain a successful and reliable accountant.

Accountant improving knowledge during online courses for CPD

Benefits for employers

If you are a partner within a firm, you have the personal development of your staff to consider. Employers also benefit from encouraging their accounting and finance teams and staff to engage in CPD. By supporting CPD activities, employers can ensure that their staff are equipped with the latest information and skills, leading to improved job performance and client satisfaction.

Investing in team members also helps with the firm culture, employee satisfaction, retention of talent and attracting new quality team members.

What counts as CPD for accountants?

CPD activities can include a wide range of activities such as attending conferences, seminars, webinars, online training courses, participating in professional networks, publishing articles, and more. It encompasses both formal and informal learning opportunities.

What topics are covered as CPD for accountants?

CPD covers various topics relevant to the accounting profession, including changes in tax laws, updates in financial reporting and auditing standards, advancements in technology and software, ethical considerations, and new accounting industry regulations. Training plans should however be personalised and based on individual needs and professional requirements.

20:20 Innovation offer a wide range of technical CPD webinars and more than 500 resources for accountants.

How to plan CPD for accountants

To ensure effective CPD, you should proactively plan your learning activities. This involves identifying your learning goals, assessing your development needs, choosing relevant structured CPD activities, and setting a schedule to complete them.

What happens if you don't complete CPD hours as an accountant?

Failure to meet CPD requirements may lead to consequences such as loss of professional standing and potential disciplinary actions by your professional body. It is essential for accountants to prioritise their CPD obligations to maintain their professional status and professional membership and also to deliver excellent client service. Competency underpins all professional standards.

Accountants who undertake CPD generally enjoy a competitive advantage as well as career progression and growth.

Benefits of online accountancy CPD courses

Online learning and CPD courses offer flexibility and convenience, allowing accountants to access relevant content at their own pace and time. These courses often provide high-quality, up-to-date information, enabling you to stay current without the need for extensive travel or time away from work.

20:20 Innovation is the UK's premier online training provider with numerous benefits for accounting professionals. With 20:20 Innovation you're able to record CPD, keep CPD records, access an extensive learning programme and ensure you're operating with best practice.

How staff should record their CPD hours

Accountants should keep a detailed record of their CPD activities, including the date, duration, learning objectives, and the specific new skills they acquired. This documentation helps demonstrate compliance with CPD requirements and aids in professional development planning.

By embracing CPD, accounting professionals can continually enhance their skills, stay ahead in their field, adapt to industry changes, and ultimately provide superior services to their clients.

As the accounting world evolves, CPD becomes increasingly vital in ensuring long-term career growth and success.

Can 20:20 Innovation help with CPD for accountants?

20:20 Innovation provides professional training, marketing and compliance support for accountancy firms and their teams, with unrivalled member benefits. 20:20 Innovation’s priority is to help firms grow their client base and expand their service offerings in the changing environment. 20:20 Innovation Membership is specifically designed to provide you and your entire team with all the support you need at a price everybody can afford, starting from just £90 per month and including over 100 hours of CPD for your entire fee earning staff!

If you would like more information about joining 20:20 Innovation why not book a free 30-minute demo with our team today or call us on +44 (0) 121 314 2020.