According to the CIMA regulations, a professionally qualified management accountant must keep improving their professional and personal competence so that industry standards can be maintained.
This is excellent news for professional bodies and employers who seek to keep the accounting field up to date with the latest developments. But what does this mean for you?
How can you keep track of continuous professional development?
In this article we take you through the CPD cycle, tell you what activities qualify and how you can keep a record of CPD compliance.
Join us as we work through professional development requirements.
Is the CPD process mandatory?
The big question that everyone wants answered. The short answer is, yes!
You might be pleasantly surprised by how many activities qualifies as CPD. In fact, awareness of what qualifies as CPD from the start of your CIMA membership, will help you gather evidence as you go through your work projects and tasks - greatly reducing any stress about CPD hours.
Now that we’ve gotten that sorted out, let’s explain how it works.
The CPD Cycle
The CPD Cycle ensures professional competence and prevents technical obsolescence within the accounting industry. To achieve this, CIMA provides structured CPD that members complete in a cycle every 12 months.
This cycle is a framework which drives systematic maintenance of the skills of accounting professionals and allows you to:
1. Define what you need to do
2. Assess your current activities and career opportunities
3. Identify gaps in your skills and knowledge
4. Design a personal development plan to deal with gaps
5. Systematically accomplish training work undertaken
6. Adjust your training plan and update your CPD record
- How much CPD is required?
Following this cycle, CIMA members do not have a set number of hours or activities. However, a good benchmark is at least 20 hours of participation in activities that broaden skills, per year.
- How much does CPD cost?
There is no set cost for CPD activities, however the cost of training courses, webinars and external conferences will be paid by the employer or member.
- What counts as CPD?
Let’s dispel all confusion for you and also all attempts to submit activities that do not qualify as CPD. This way you can really concentrate on what counts.
- Work based learning that supports approved personal development goals
- Job shadowing participation, signed off by a manager or supervisor
- Project work signed off by a manager or supervisor
- Secondments to other departments or organisations in the finance sector
- Observation and feedback reports
- Being formally coached or mentored by someone, with the ability to provide coaching notes and progress
- Delivering training on a subject that is identified as a development area
- Academic and professional qualifications by other professional bodies, colleges or universities that meet development objectives
- Higher management qualifications in accounting and finance
- Internal and external training courses required to close development gaps
- Conferences and external events
- Local CIMA events
- Reading technical reports and journals
- Online learning as laid out by your personal development plan
- Discussion forums
- Participation in special interest groups
If you are unsure about any activity not listed here, you can refer to the CIMA Charter Bylaws and Regulations document.
Feeling relieved that there’s more on the list than you thought?
Well, the good news is - that was the hard part. Let’s continue.
How do I record my CPD?
All CIMA members are required to log CPD undertaken.
Firstly, you must be able to show that you have followed the six steps of the CPD cycle in assessing your needs and then choosing activities that meet those needs.
Next, you have two options:
1. CIMA Competency and Learning Website
Using the CGMA competency framework, the website helps you to identify appropriate skills and knowledge and then suggests ways to meet those learning needs. It automatically follows the CPA cycle and thus ensures compliance with this requirement.
If you are new to CPD it is suggested that you record your activities using the CIMA website.
2. CIMA Development Accreditation Scheme
CIMA recognises certain employers who support and encourage ‘life-long learning’ or continuous improvement. Members who work for these employers can use their appraisals and/or development plans, monitored by a manager or supervisor to record CPD and do not need to use the CIMA website.
Having said that the CPD monitoring team will from time to time, request members to submit all proof of CPD activities. Members will be required to submit the last 12 months CPD ativities and failure to do so will result in the following:
- First and second breach - a fine determined by the CPD regulations in the local currency
- Third breach - referral to the Institute’s Disciplinary Committee
Continuing professional development refers to the process of maintaining, improving and broadening you professional knowledge, skills and competencies throughtout your career.
For professional bodies development such as that of CIMA members, it is a crucial element for staying ahead of changes, staying relevant in current roles and showing commitment to maintain professional standards around the world.
AICPA-CIMA encourages both member and employer participation in structured development and provides the basis for development activities. The CIMA website is a rich source of information regarding CPD activities and should be reguarly accessed by members.
With all the benefits associated with CPD and the commitment of CIMA, CIMA members employed by accounting firms can be sure that they will not fall behind on industry standards and legislation, leading to a more focused and secure working environment.
If you had doubts about the value of CPD or what you need to do to record your activities we hope this article has helped you.
VIVA is committed to the ongoing personal development of its students and encourages students to sign up to its mailing list for ongoing career advice, as well as trial its free CIMA exam resources here.