Stay ahead of the game with CPD resources at ICAS
As the pace of change quickens, CPD is key to providing service of the highest quality. ICAS offers a range of resources to help CAs stay on top of their game
As another year of upheaval draws to a close, reviewing the developments created by the pandemic and longer trends will be key to understanding the future shape of accountancy. Once again, developing skills and new competencies will be vital for CAs, as the role continues to evolve.
Keeping up to date is what separates the successful finance professional from the pack. CPD builds on existing skills, helping to maintain professional practice and ethics. These activities, which must be conducted each year, may be formal or informal and relate to any competence relevant to current or future responsibilities. This year, the field of ethics became a compulsory element of ICAS’ CPD requirements.
Recording CPD – whether on the ICAS template or on an employer’s format – is important. And a sample of members are selected at the end of the year to validate the CPD undertaken. However, CPD is far from a tick-box career-maintaining exercise. Today’s CA requires dynamism and must embrace the need to develop a skillset of the future.
Technology and AI continue to be two of the most high-profile developments for accountancy professionals to consider for CPD, with tech setting the pace for the evolution of accounting and financial services. As Covid-19 has forced organisations to adapt and move even more of their activity online, this is a trend that is only heading one way.
Within this technological revolution comes a shift from process-driven value to one based on insight. Blockchain and big data will also empower CAs who focus on expanding their abilities in areas such as data analytics. The technology research and resources section on the ICAS website has a wealth of information to help you harness the power of digital across the board.
Core technical skills remain paramount to the CA career, though, and acquiring these does not end with the formal CA qualification. Keeping up with the rigours and requirements of modern accountancy is fundamental and the professional resources section of the ICAS website has information to help, as well as online and specialist courses to strengthen skillsets. As an ICAS member, you also have access to dedicated helplines, a specialist practice support team and workplace advice through our technical helpdesk, which can answer questions on areas from accounting and auditing to ethics.
Employers expect more in today’s competitive job market and soft skills come into their own as accountants increasingly occupy advisory roles — including communication, collaboration, creativity and emotional intelligence facets such as listening and empathy. Keeping skills sharp around career planning can also help you to stand out and maximise your potential. From leadership coaching programmes to webinars, online learning or mentoring support, ICAS resources can support you through the various stages of your career.
Purpose-driven organisations will become the norm in business, and the centrality of environmental, social and governance (ESG) will become ever more sharply defined in the next few years, as the spotlight falls on net-zero economies and more ethical business models. Accountants have a key role to play in sustainability issues, whether it’s reporting on emissions and the standard of supply chains or measuring social impact. As a result, CAs will need a deeper understanding of emerging topics such as sustainability metrics and climate-change disclosures, whether reporting or providing assurance on them. ICAS’ sustainability professional resources and guidance are a great place to start for information.
Equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) also sits within the ESG agenda, with profound implications for the profession and the talent pipeline. The adoption, promotion and embedding of these criteria are a priority for ICAS as we work to ensure that the accountancy profession is accessible to all, from the invaluable support our foundation bursaries and mentoring provide, encouraging talent from lower-income families into the profession, to our ED&I campaign, profiling ICAS’ diverse membership and building awareness of how to make these qualities an important part of everyday working practices.
Finally, looking after others includes mitigating the pressures of the workplace to provide the healthiest environment for colleagues. The CA Wellbeing hub promotes a positive conversation on wellbeing and provides useful information on mental fitness – something especially important as businesses move into a hybrid or home-working norm.
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