Training: A different perspective

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Accountants spend quite a lot of their professional lives training. First, for those who are members of professional bodies, there come the professional exams, and studying in the evening while working during the day. A far cry from the full time study that went before it – although many would regard university courses (even in the heady days of the 1970s and 80s) as hardly full time!

Once qualified it is up to the professional to keep up to date, whether through private study or attending training courses. There is a wide variety of training organisations keen to sign you up, whether for a short course or an annual seminar programme. We have seen the progression of mandatory CPD (or whichever term you use) for many bodies and this of course generates a healthy market for the provider...

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About Rebecca Benneyworth

Rebecca Benneyworth profile image

Rebecca trained in London with Kidsons and, on qualifying, spent some time as Chief Accountant of a manufacturing company. She now has her own small practice in Gloucestershire that comprises of owner managed businesses and small companies.

She also lectures extensively for a range of professional bodies, accountancy firms, commercial organisations and the Inland Revenue. Demand has grown for Rebecca on the lecture circuit where she is well known for her refreshing, enthusiastic and entertaining presentation style as well as having a practical and down-to-earth approach to tax.


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By zlss116
21st Sep 2009 10:31

in theory i am in favour of the idea

but the only HMRC course i have attended was so technically weak and ill targetted that it has put me off.  The idea of improved contact sounds nice - but the reality is that our localcompliance office is somewhere in East Kilbride - whereas I and my clients are in sunny Wiltshire.   Interested to hear what others say.

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21st Sep 2009 13:32


I have attended two HMRC events. The first one on CIS was excellent. Lots of information, examples and a very good presentation. However, the second, on 'limited companies', was very confusing. I didn't know what to expect as the booking form didn't give much detail but the presenter read everything straight from the script backed up by a few slides and spent quite a bit of time complaining about the state of HMRC (how do they think we feel!) There were other accountants there but on chatting to some of the business owners and those looking to start companies I found they were even more confused and in some cases had been put off trading as a limited company. So I didn't learn a lot but I did confirm that basically I know what i'm doing is right. I am booked on an HMRC 'Learning Together' event next month on compliance so it will be interesting to see if the format differs and how much detailed information is given.

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21st Sep 2009 14:24

Learning alongside HMRC

I have attended 2 past employer's talks event and I did not find them particularly useful. I found I had better knowledge and understanding about P11Ds and student loans than the persons representing HMRC.

However I never pass on a freebe and I have booked to attend the latest working together training course in Exeter on compliance. It will be interesting to see how HMRC is training its staff and will help in future communication.

I have also voluntered to take part in their pilot schemes using their new help guides (i.e. capital allowances). These are really useful for our junior accounts and tax team members and help them with their studies and work.

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21st Sep 2009 14:39

Well worth considering!

I attended an HMRC Roadshow earlier in the year. I enjoyed it and thought it worthwhile. My review is here. I would recommend any professional practitioner to attend. After all, it is not so often many of us get to talk to HMRC staff who actually know anything about tax! Go along if there is one in your area.

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21st Sep 2009 15:00

HMRC Courses

The quality and usefulness of HMRC courses seems to be simply dependent upon the presenter on the day.

I've been on most of the courses at least once over the last three years, and the vast majority have been interesting, informative and enjoyable.  One or two, however, have not, and the difference was the presenter.

It's luck of the draw, but if done well they're an excellent thing to do, and have the added effect of giving HMRC a (nearly) human face.



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By Anonymous
21st Sep 2009 15:03

Do these courses count as verifiable CPD units?
Do these free HMRC courses count as verifiable CPD units if they are relevant to the work that you do?

(I am ACCA)

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21st Sep 2009 16:27

Technically weak is ...

.. indeed the best description for HMRC courses. Based upon those I attended, I would not even recommend them to junior accounts staff. Having said that, I am sure that is because they were planned for persons with a wide and differing range of backgrounds. Many courses run by "professional" training companies have been worse.

If HMRC ran courses for professionals only, private and public sector, then I would vote and pay for it....but they would have to accept and tackle the differences between the two sides version of law.

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22nd Sep 2009 21:23

Collaboration Conclusion

I'm all for it....the more we understand each other, the better. And there are enough potholes in the roads these days without adding the ignorance of misunderstanding. I do not think accountants or indeed tax inspectors stand out as being good the more we listen and learn from each other, the better we will get at it.

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01st Oct 2009 17:35

Good networking opportunity

I've been on number of HMRC courses in my area and have found them to be good on the whole.  Due to my regular attendance at HMRC events, I now have a direct contact with my local HMRC office which saves me going around the houses for advice, and have met some prosprective clients who like the idea of an accountant who attends such events and keeps up to date.

Not all of the events have been inspiring, however the contacts I make at them tend to be.




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