Continuing professional development (CPD) or continuing professional education (CPE) is the means by which people maintain their knowledge and skills related to their professional lives.

CPD obligations are common to most professions. Many professions define CPD as a structured approach to learning to help ensure competence to practice, taking in knowledge, skills and practical experience. CPD can involve any relevant learning activity, whether formal and structured or informal and self-directed.

As a member of a leading global professional body, you understand the value of life-long learning. Whilst there is an obligation to participate in continuing professional development (CPD) as part of your CGA-PAKISTAN membership, there are other, more integral reasons to maintain your CPD:

CPD is mandatory for all CGA-PAKISTAN members and we take a supportive approach to ensuring that our members are able to meet our CPD requirements.  We offer a number of conferences, seminars, workshops and online courses, which are also open to students.

“Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is beneficial for you as an accountant, as well as to the accountancy profession as a whole, as it offers an assurance to the public that you are up-to-date with the latest industry developments and innovations.”

CGA-PAKISAN encourages students to participate in our CPD events and courses, as a valuable, additional resource to help with your studies. Face-to-face events can also provide you with opportunities to network with professional accountants, giving you access to an extensive bank of knowledge and experience.

Certified Accountants as well as other Accounts Technicians and Accounts Practitioners are required to keep their accounting knowledge updated to keep abreast of changing laws and regulations.  Certifying agencies mandate that practitioners take courses each year to earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) or CPD credits.

The objectives of CPD are to:

  1. Maintain and enhance the technical knowledge and professional skills possessed by members.
  2. Assist members to apply new techniques, understand economic development and evaluate its impact on members’ clients or organizations and on their own work, and to meet changing responsibilities and expectations.
  3. Provide reasonable assurance to society at large that members have the technical knowledge and professional skills required to perform their services.

Training and development – what’s the difference?

These terms are often used interchangeably, though there is a distinction. As a rule of thumb, training is formal and linear. It’s to do with learning how to do something specific, relating to skill and competence. Training can be as simple as using a PC application and as complex as learning how to be a pilot. Development is often informal and has a wider application, giving you the tools to do a range of things and relating to capability and competency. It involves progression from basic know-how to more advanced, mature or complex understanding.  Alternatively it can be about widening your range of transferable skills like leadership, managing projects or organizing information.

The key features of the CPD process

To justify the name, a CPD needs to:

  • be a documented process
  • be self-directed: driven by you, not your employer
  • focus on learning from experience, reflective learning and review
  • help you set development goals and objectives
  • include both formal and informal learning.

What will it do for you?

A CPD may be a requirement of membership of a professional body. It can help you to reflect, review and document your learning and to develop and update your professional knowledge and skills. It is also very useful to:

  • provides an overview of your professional development to date
  • reminds you of your achievements and how far you’ve progressed
  • directs your career and helps you keep your eye on your goals
  • uncovers gaps in your skills and capabilities
  • Opens up further development needs
  • provides examples and scenarios for a CV or interview
  • demonstrates your professional standing to clients and employers
  • helps you with your career development or a possible career change.

How do I start?

Keep a learning log and record your thoughts in whatever way suits you best. You may find it helpful to write things down in detail, for example, or to make notes on insights and learning points. The process of writing makes you think about your experiences at the time, and makes planning and reflection much easier. You can’t review your experiences without recording them, however good your memory is.

Answering the following questions may help you to get started:

Where am I now?

Review and reflect on any learning experiences over the previous year or over the past three months. Write your thoughts down about what you learned, what insights it gave you and what you might have done differently. Include both formal training events and informal learning, such as:

  • learning from colleagues or shared learning from networking
  • reading about new technologies, new methods of working, legislative changes
  • shadowing or assisting an experienced colleague
  • insights and learning points from coaching and mentoring
  • reflections, insights and learning points from taking on a new responsibility
  • organisational or role change
  • temporary job swaps within the department/organisation
  • deputising or covering for colleagues
  • insights and lessons learned from mistakes
  • lessons learned from critical incidents or events

Make a note of any outcomes of each learning experience and what difference it has made to you, your colleagues, your students (if relevant) or your employer.

Where do I want to be?

Write down your overall career goals – where you want to be in two, five and 10 years’ time. Then write down no more than three specific and achievable shorter term objectives, including the dates by which you want to achieve them.

What do I have to do to get there?

Looking at your overall career goals, make a note of what you need to do to achieve them. This could include further training, job or role progression or changes in direction.

For shorter term objectives, include the first step – what you can do today or tomorrow. For example, having a chat with your manager about a new responsibility or finding out about new technology from a colleague who has experience of it.

When should I review progress?

This step is essential! You’ll need to set a date in advance for review of the objectives you’ve set yourself. You can either do this from one review to the next or decide to review regularly – once every three, six or 12 months. Put it in your diary and do it! The cycle of continuing professional development has begun.

When you renew your membership each year, you declare to comply with the CGA-PAKISTAN constitution, By-Laws and CPD obligations.

For your CPD obligations, you need to demonstrate a minimum of 20 hours of CPD activities per year

Who needs to complete CPD?

  • General Accounting Technicians (GAT)
  • General Accounting Practitioners (GAP)
  • Associate members (ACGAs)
  • Members (CGAs)
  • Fellows (FCGAs)
  • Retired members who provides public accounting services
  • Specialist service providers

The importance of continuing professional development:

We are often asked to describe the importance of continuing professional development. Why is CPD important and why does it matter?

  • You’ve finished your degree. Check.
  • You’ve completed all your practical experience requirements so that you can graduate. Check.
  • Your new job is all lined up and ready to go. Mission accomplished.

It’s fair to say the first part of your mission is well and truly accomplished.  Sit back and give yourself a pat on the back. But don’t take too long about it or you’ll be lagging behind your colleagues. The same is true for professionals with many years experience in the workplace.

Continuing professional development is important because it ensures you continue to be competent in your profession. It is an ongoing process and continues throughout a professional’s career.

The ultimate outcome of well planned continuing professional development is that it safeguards the public, the employer, the professional and the professional’s career.

Well crafted and delivered continuing professional development is important because it delivers benefits to the individual, their profession and the public.

  • CPD ensures  your capabilities keep pace with the current standards of others in the same field.
  • CPD ensures that you maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills you need to deliver a professional service to your customers, clients and the community.
  • CPD ensures that you and your knowledge stay relevant and up to date. You are more aware of the changing trends and directions in your profession. The pace of change is probably faster than it’s ever been – and this is a feature of the new normal that we live and work in. If you stand still you will get left behind, as the currency of your knowledge and skills becomes out-dated.
  • CPD helps you continue to make a meaningful contribution to your team. You become more effective in the workplace. This assists you to advance in your career and move into new positions where you can lead, manage, influence, coach and mentor others.
  • CPD helps you to stay interested and interesting.  Experience is a great teacher, but it does mean that we tend to do what we have done before.  Focused CPD opens you up to new possibilities, new knowledge and new skill areas.
  • CPD can deliver a deeper understanding of what it means to be a professional, along with a greater appreciation of the implications and impacts of your work.
  • CPD helps advance the body of knowledge and technology within your profession
  • CPD can lead to increased public confidence in individual professionals and their profession as a whole
  • Depending on the profession – CPD contributes to  improved protection and quality of life, the environment, sustainability, property and the economy.  This particularly applies to high risk areas, or specialised practice areas which often prove impractical to monitor on a case by case basis.

The importance of continuing professional development should not be underestimated – it is a career-long obligation for practicing professionals.

Sometimes it is mandated by professional organizations or required by codes of conduct or codes of ethics. But at it’s core it is a personal responsibility of professionals to keep their knowledge and skills current so that they can deliver the high quality of service that safeguards the public and meets the expectations of customers and the requirements of their profession.

But continuing professional development should be engaging and fun too. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a relevant course that fits in with your other obligations.  Sometimes, as you walk out of a course or seminar it’s hard to assess what you have actually learned. Have you absorbed the necessary skills and will you be able to apply them correctly in your work?  Our courses for continuing professional development, written by professionals for professionals and involving thoughtful online interaction with your peers, go a long way towards resolving these issues.

Key benefits of Continuing Professional Development

  • Those who take a planned approach to skills development tend to move up the career ladder more quickly and in a direction of their choosing. Planning CPD in advance means that it is more likely to be relevant to your working life
  • A record of CPD can provide evidence of competence – to draw upon for reviews, promotions, interviews and, when necessary, regulatory requirements
  • CPD allows to demonstrate that all members (at each level – Associate, Member and Fellow) are competent, keeping their knowledge and skills up-to-date
  • CPD should provide you with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that you need to have to perform effectively and competently in your role and to meet the expectations placed on you by your employers, colleagues and the members of your association

Other benefits:

  • it ensures you continually build the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in the competitive business environment
  • it assists you in achieving your development and career goals
  • it assists you to excel in your role, providing increased value to your organization and your clients
  • it provides transferable skills for increased employability
  • it helps to build your reputation as a business leader

CPD can add to the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that you already have.  There is always a need to learn and develop – age, seniority, expertise and unemployment are not barriers to undertaking CPD

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