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ICAEW plans to tighten CPD requirements

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ICAEW is set to shake up its CPD requirements for members by shifting away from the current model based on personal responsibility to an hours-based model. 

4th Apr 2022
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The Institute has launched a new consultation into overhauling its current output-based CPD model in response to the “increasingly complex world which our members operate in”. 

ICAEW has proposed rolling out a more stringent, input-based CPD requirement which would call on members to undertake a minimum number of verifiable hours based on the risk of their area of work. 

The new revised policy will enable ICAEW to “see more tangible evidence” and allow its staff to easily check members' compliance of the policy. But the plans have received criticism from those concerned that the new CPD policy may create a “tickbox culture”. 

In addition to the hours-based approach, ICAEW wants to introduce an annual mandatory ethics CPD requirement for all members and a risk-based CPD requirement focused on the member’s area of work. 

An ICAEW spokesperson told AccountingWEB: “We’re proposing changes which will improve and maintain the professional, technical and business excellence of ICAEW Chartered Accountants, so that we maintain and enhance trust in the profession in a climate of increased regulatory expectations and the reform of audit and corporate governance.”

The consultation is set to run until 18 May 2022, and depending on the response, the new changes are set to gradually roll out from November 2022 with the introduction of a mandatory ethics CPD requirement for all members. 

Accountants in practice will be the first to complete the specified number of verifiable and non-verifiable CPD hours in the first phase, and then all members in practice and business will have to comply with the new CPD requirements in November 2023.

Risk-based categories

Under the new consultation, ICAEW members in practice would be required to undertake a certain amount of verifiable and non-verifiable CPD hours depending on how the Institute categorises the risk of their area of work. 

ICAEW has emphasised the need for CPD activity to meet a specific learning outcome. 

Unsurprisingly, considering the audit scandals linked to the demise of Patisserie Valerie and Carillion, accountants working in high risk audit areas face the greater hours of CPD study. 

  • The highest risk positions are members undertaking PIE audits, CASS engagement leaders, key audit partners handling major local public audits and those offering tax mitigation advice. These members would be required to complete a minimum 40 hours’ CPD of which 30 hours must be 'relevant and verifiable'.
  • Members in the second risk category, such as those dealing with international corporate tax planning, personal tax planning for high net-worth individuals and forensic accountants would have to complete 30 hours CPD
  • Third risk category: All the other ICAEW practising certificate holders and those working in practice fall into the third risk category and would be required to undertake 20 hours CPD which includes 10 verifiable. 

Tick box culture

Concern has been raised over the mandatory aspect of the CPD consultation and how it could create a “tick box culture” where people are “pretending to listen rather than actively engaging”.

Vivek Mehan, the owner of training provider Virtual Finance Training, told AccountingWEB, “The accounting profession is certainly struggling at the moment and it's laudable icaew wanting to help drive that forward, however, I'm not sure this is the right approach.

“Many people who want to make sure they ‘hit their hours’ will just sign up to a load of webinars - have these playing in the background while doing other things to clock their hours in. 

“It creates a culture of just getting it done without actually engaging in the activity.”

A need to see tangible evidence

Justifying the move, ICAEW said there is an increasing expectation on the professional body to “see more tangible evidence that their members are keeping themselves up to date with developments in areas where they are asked to provide advice and assistance”. 

There is also an expectation on the Institute by oversight regulators to monitor the CPD evidence and clamp down on those who do not comply.

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Replies (12)

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By Paul Crowley
04th Apr 2022 18:33

What a waste of time and resouces
CPD is a mindset
I get more real CPD from this website and reading taxation magazine, than I used to get from attending the ACCA practice society 3 full days a year cpd events.
Reason is that the 3 days are just that, one day per three months, with a full three months of nothing.
But those couses alone would be good enough for the 20 hours, of which 10 verifiable

Thanks (4)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
All Paul Accountants in Leeds
By paulinleeds
05th Apr 2022 14:06

I fully agree with Paul Crowley.

In past employments, I've attended day and half-day courses/updates on tax and accountancy. So much is crammed into them. After 2 hours my brain is fried.

I think now, reading AccountingWeb is my best course of CPE. It's practical and what I need on a day to day basis is what get from reading the articles, rather than updates on weird and wonderful aspects of budget updates.

Of course, sometimes, you need something more, either personal reading or a short course on specifics e.g. when FRS102 / FRS105 came out.

'Attending' and counting hours at course are not what is important, but what you actually learn and can apply.

Thanks (4)
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By Arcadia
05th Apr 2022 11:07

I would support ICAEW's effort to re-introduce CPD, which they basically abolished. The proposed approach is exactly what we used to have. The verifiable/non verifiable used to be called structured/unstructured. Who can actually describe what the current system is? If members know exactly what they are supposed to do, even if a webinar is on in the background, something may get through. It is up to training providers to provide something engaging for small practitioners in the low risk category. Reading this site would be good non -verifiable CPD.

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By North East Accountant
05th Apr 2022 11:34

The old ideas are best....back to what we had before then.

As an Accountant I liked counting the hours and preferred it to the current system.

I wonder if they'll go back to the old name too....CPE instead of CPD.

Thanks (1)
Head of woman
By Rebecca Cave
05th Apr 2022 14:12

So back to a more complicated version of the CPD requirement as existed prior to 2001 (or thereabouts).

The tapering of minimum levels of CPD looks faintly rediculous. Surely every professional needs to keep thier skill and knowledge completely up to date, whether they are advising Bob the greengrocer, or a multi-national supermarket. Smaller poorer cleints and larger richer ones deserve the same level of skill applied to thier problems.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
05th Apr 2022 16:13

Not convinced.

On one hand I agree that the current system is rather easy to tick "yes I am up to date" whilst doing zip, but the old system was junked is it was just really gaming around your hours by booking up a lot of courses..........and often they were for daft things like a software sale conference......or even you got an hour for a general jolly and drinks..... and if you attended or not was irrelevant. Roll forward 20 years and I think the same people who will tick "yes I am upto date" will booking the cheapest online courses available and calling that their CPD.

I have never been big on spending hours attending courses when whilst you always learn something, its rarely as much as the 10-12 hours of effort and travel for a 3 hours course, out of which perhaps 30 minutes will be 'news', and 15 minutes relevant.

Give the ACCA I think have a formal hours system still, are ACCA member in practice more knowledge than ICAEW? Or does it depend as I suspect on the individual?

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By CW2012
05th Apr 2022 17:33

“Many people who want to make sure they ‘hit their hours’ will just sign up to a load of webinars - have these playing in the background while doing other things to clock their hours in.

“It creates a culture of just getting it done without actually engaging in the activity.”

The above comment hits the nail on the head, maybe there could be a competence test every so often.

Thanks (1)
Replying to CW2012:
Chris M
By mr. mischief
05th Apr 2022 17:38

Thanks, that sounds a good plan to me!

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By Ian Bee
06th Apr 2022 10:55

I too remember the old system which had the effect of practitioners attending courses at great expense simply to hit the hours. At the time I was working for a Big4 firm and it was easy to meet CPE requirements through in house training.

I can also remember ICAEW publishing a monthly magazine, Accountancy, which was rather daunting but did contain massive amounts of material which was colour coded according to importance and seen by most of us as necessary reading for unstructured CPE.

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Replying to Ian Bee:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
13th Apr 2022 10:36

Both Accountancy and The Accountants' Magazine (TAM) degraded to the point that they were barely worth reading, for years I subscribed to both but eventually gave up. The only magazine that I continued consuming was Taxation.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
07th Apr 2022 07:17

Back to the future then.

The weakness of any CPD system is that you can make folk attend courses but you can't make them learn.

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
13th Apr 2022 10:37

Same applies with leading horses.

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