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I'm a sole practicitioner based in Telford and I'm looking for a new ways of doing CPD, I currently attend courses and to be honest these are both expensive and of little value to me or my clients in terms of what they bring.

wandered what other sole practitioners do, e.g. courses, online etc and if any one can recommend any good providers?

thanks in advance


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05th Jan 2010 13:23


I offer an alternative solution, this is a new type of online tax resource for accountants, see www.rossmartin.co.uk

We do all the reading and then we cherry pick the best bits for you. It also comes with a regular update service and is proving very popular.

If you are wanting to really get involved in Estate Planning you could also try out a similar legal resource which is provided by Matthew Hutton see http://www.hutton-estate-planning.co.uk/

These are my favourites! I have tried lots of different things over the years but the main problem with many of the update services is information overload. Too much, even for a tax consultant to digest.

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By Anonymous
05th Jan 2010 13:36


I should also say that the CPD needs to be verifiable

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By Anonymous
05th Jan 2010 14:28

i'm a sole practioner as well

i subscribe to CCH Wolters Kluwer - CPD. 

They send me a disk each month that has about 6 - 10 modules on it, some interesting and relevant, others not so. Some i read, some i dont. Each module takes about 20 - 30 mins

When each module is complete there is a quiz and if you get all the answers right you can print off a certificate.

This counts as verifiable CPD. Couple this with all the various non verifiable CPD and i feel that i'm always technically up to date.

Over the course of a year i do far more than the required verifiable 20 hours. Cost is about £400 per annum.

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By Anonymous
05th Jan 2010 14:53


 I attend three Saturday practitioners days during the year  organised by ACCA (though in London, but look at their website to see if held elsewhere). Average attendance is about 200 with good speakers. Excellent value including lunch and should be all you ned to keep up to date.

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05th Jan 2010 16:12


If you looking for tax CPD, we can provide you with tax courses taylored to suit your your needs. It can also be delivered to you at the time that is convenient for you. Please see our website, www.odiritaxconsultants.com for further details. Alternative you can contact us on 01733808075.


Odiri Tax Consultants.


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05th Jan 2010 17:39

Verifying CPD

You do not actually need a certificate to verify CPD, you just need to be able to show that you have been updating yourself, and this could be via a magazine, a website, Accountancy TV, podcasts, courses, whatever. Anyway, you are only cheating yourself if you claim to have kept up to date when you haven't!

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05th Jan 2010 18:48

No certificate for verifiable CPD?

Surely for CPD to be verifiable there must be some proof that you've done it! ACCA Unit scheme requires 40 units of CPD of which 21 must be verifiable.

Similar to the CCH option presented earlier I find http://www.tolleyseminars.com/ good for most of my CPD requirements. THey are Powerpoint style presentations with lecturers and come with a similar quiz to get a certificate arrangements. 5 or 6 lectures each on Personal and Business Tax each month with a similar number every 3 months on Audit and Accountancy. Can be either viewed direct from the website or downloaded (individually or in blocks by subject, with or without quizzes) I generally download them to my laptop and then watch them on my train commute (with headphones of course) 

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By Anonymous
06th Jan 2010 01:39

Does browsing accounting web count as CPD?

It should

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By scohen
06th Jan 2010 11:54

CPD alternatives


As well as agreeing with the above, particularly Nichola's points about the variety of methods you can use to obtain your CPD, the other point to remember is that CPD doesn't have to all be technical.

Whilst the need to stay on top of technical requirements is fundamental to any professional supplier, there is far more to running a business than just delivering your technical service.

Many sole practitioners / small firms attend networking events, but don't spend time on developing their networking and marketing skills; they occasionally pitch for new work, but don't hone their presentation skills as well as they might; those with small teams or subcontractors don't always manage these relationships very well; they may outsource various services, but aren't confident in their ability to agree the terms of service and negotiate a price or deal with a difficult supplier.

A small firm near me is looking at setting up a collaboration with other small firms, including other professional services, so they can do some of this training together - which will also be less expensive than each of them paying to go on such a course. They are also looking at how they can use some selective 1 to 1 coaching, which would then be targeted at the practitioner's particular development needs.

I can still recall an accountant somewhat older than me telling me that he and his generation learnt all these skills "the hard way" by doing it ... and then someone told me he'd had to re-start his business (twice I think) as he hadn't actually managed the business too well.


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06th Jan 2010 11:57

I certainly count accountingweb

as part of my non-verifiable CPD units - I have posted questions and reading the any answers gives me valuable information even if I don't need it at the time.

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By Anonymous
06th Jan 2010 12:02

"reading the any answers gives me valuable information"

- some of the time!!  Sometimes it's even invaluable.  Other times it is appalling.  The stuff of public blogs, in fact.

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06th Jan 2010 12:38

There's another way of looking at this

Let's move away from the acronym of CPD and focus on what it really means.

Continuing PROFESSIONAL Development.

I would hope that only a minority believe that this equates to simply attending courses. Equally I would hope that all PROFESSIONAL advisers undertake an appropriate amount of EFFECTIVE CPD every year. And that they would do so regardless of the obligations of their professional body.

There are a number of very good alternatives listed above. I would especially endorse Nichola's new initiative and also Sue Cohen's suggestion (as an ex GT trainer she has a wealth of skills to offer local practitioners).

Cost effectiveness is one of the keys, especially as we move into 2010. The big course providers try to keep the cost of places low by encouarging the use of annual tickets and large numbers in one central location.  One to one training can be far more productive and personal (which is what really counts) but is likely to be more costly.

It's also important to appreciate that not all people will benefit most by attending big generic courses and listening to a speaker whilst watching their powerpoint slides and then reading the notes afterwards. However it is an aproach that many of us are very comfortable with, perhaps we also get to chat with other delegates and to interact with the speaker. It's the historic approach and you can be forgiven for asuming that it's the only solution to CPD.

It's a little ironic for me as an organiser of training sessions for accountants and as a speaker at such events to admit this but there are many alternatives available now - including the online provision of almost identical course content to that which you might otherwsie travle miles to hear live. An increasing number of providers are offering you the choice.

Other people may absorb more information simply through reading relevant content online or in magazines, books or newsletters.  For example I'm sure that reading the Tax Advice Network's weekly practical newsletters counts as CPD - although they don't take very long to read given their practical focus.

What really matters is whether your PROFESSIONAL skills and knowledge are improved/developed in some way by the activities you undertake. Keeping uptodate is surely a key part of that so reading relevant material on AccountingWeb and oother professional websites clearly counts.

It's also worth stating that attending a course doesn't always count (if you're honest). For example, if you leave the course thinking it was a waste of time and you've learned nothing new; in what way has your attendence contributed to your Continuing Professional DEVELOPMENT? 

Historically there was a tendancy to count POINTS regardless of the effectiveness of the training you undertook or the value of the material you read. The ICAEW approach is set out here and is very different to the old point count system that often led, in my view, to a less professional attitude.  ICAEW also point out that effective CPD can include:

Technical readingLearning at workMeetings with expertsConferencesCourses and seminarsOnline learningWorkshops with your peersReading magazines, newspapers and journalsRegistering for updates and email alerts

I've adapted the ICAEW approach in that all Tax Adviser members of the Tax Advice Network are required to commit to: "Undertake at least 50 hours of Continuing Professional Development each year (including an appropriate mix of attending or preparing for and teaching on relevant courses or seminars, research, discussions, writing related technical material and updates – including but not restricted to related interactions on TAN’s online membership discussion forum or materials for TAN)."

Mark Lee



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06th Jan 2010 12:27

As a contributor to many of those mentioned

As a provider (so to speak) I would suggest you think about what you're trying to achieve (ignore the requirement in the first place). If you are in practice you need to keep up to date with a range of developments so that you don't miss anything important - particularly in tax this could get you sued if you miss something crucial, and in general practice you will need to keep up your accounting and company law knowledge too. Add in any specialist areas you cover like charities or pension schemes or audit if you do any.

Then decide how best you learn - short chunks of key updates such as the online seminars. I quite like preparing these - I do three a month for Tolleys now - as I have to discipline myself to cover a "useful nugget" in 10 to 15 minutes of talking and no more. Or maybe you prefer to pore over technical material (that's how I learn, by reading it in depth and thinking about it - I would fall asleep in lectures, including my own, as I have to work at my own pace). I'm pretty sure you can even take some as podcasts which makes it even easier (if you have the ubiquitous i-pod). The advantage of a three hour lecture is that you can go in depth into a topic and really get to grips with it if you choose the right topic - or maybe you want three hours of rapid fire update on an entire subject - like a tax update. For many it will be mix and match, but you need to start from that end to choose what best suits you, and that means recognising your limitations. The Saturday ACCA sessions can be good - I lectured on them for many years but need my Saturdays off nowadays - but it is a mix of topics and you might find only one of interest in a whole day, so again you need to choose carefully and recognise when you may not be able to stand a whole day training - not everyone's cup of tea.

When I write technical articles for AccountingWEB.co.uk I try to deliver a mini CPD item for members - so it might be an update on a technical topic or a tutorial on something, but that should also count as CPD - again a very different way of learning in about 900 word chunk with no audio. Lots of the Any Answers would also count - I would regard critically assessing the benefit of replies as part of the skills gained!!

In our profession there is also a maxim worth repeating - it's what you don't know you don't know that makes you dangerous!

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ACCA CPD online and free

ACCA make a whole bunch of articles available online.  It doesn't matter which accountancy body you belong to, you can still use it (although it's going to count as "unstructured" CPD).  The knack, as always, is finding a CPD training topic that appeals to you and your work.  For an example see http://www.accaglobal.com/en/member/cpd/financial-management/cpd-article... or click here:


This one is designed for accountants who find themselves advising on or around company sales and acquisitions.


About the author: Financial Training Associates Ltd

FTA Ltd is a provider of finance training and financial modelling course training to accountants and other professionals.




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