CPD: The building blocks of trust
ICAS members play key roles across society.
CAs can be found in all sizes of firm or organisation, and across all sectors – private, public and third – including in finance, technology, biological sciences, retail, healthcare, education or construction. And alongside their day-to-day jobs, many CAs also undertake voluntary roles, such as serving as a trustee or independent examiner for a charity.
During times of crisis, such as the current pandemic, the work of CAs is especially vital. Crises offer an opportunity for ICAS members to show the skills and values that make up their DNA. And to do this, CAs need to earn the public’s trust, which can come in many shapes and forms.
CAs must demonstrate high ethical standards, including adhering to the ICAS Code of Ethics, itself drawn from the code of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants. One of the five fundamental ethical principles is professional competence and due care. This requires CAs to, among other things, “attain and maintain professional knowledge and skill at the level required to ensure that a client or employing organisation receives competent professional service, based on current technical and professional standards and relevant legislation”.
Maintaining professional competence necessitates a continuing awareness and understanding of all the relevant technical, professional and business developments. As the world around us changes with increasing pace, CAs must recognise and respond to the societal changes that affect their role. That is why it is essential that ICAS members embrace the “growth mindset” – the need for continuing professional development (CPD) and the belief that they can always find room to improve.
CPD means developing and maintaining the capabilities in technical competence, professional skills and ethics that are needed if CAs are to perform to the highest standard. In recent years, this has seen many CAs building up a knowledge of relatively new areas, such as emerging technologies and the evolving sustainability agenda – both fields that will assume an even greater importance in the years ahead.
Ethical leadership is another such area where there is a growing understanding of the role that CAs can play. While this may have been heightened by the pandemic, with CAs having to adapt to new ways of working while making difficult decisions at their businesses, it is not something to be set aside when restrictions are lifted and offices reopen. Ethics is now a compulsory strand of ICAS’ CPD and will need to feature in a CA’s CPD plan for the year ahead. This does not involve compulsory attendance at ethics courses or the purchase of materials, but could simply mean the reading of ethics materials that are freely available online, including ICAS resources.
These are just some of the building blocks of trust in the profession. ICAS will continue to outline the ways in which CAs can develop and enhance trust by expanding and enhancing areas of professional expertise and ethical leadership. This accompanying list offers a brief guide to some of the available resources.
Read ethics publications, guidance, news articles
Read detailed responses to the ethics-related consultations.
When CAs fall short of their professional obligations, the ICAS Discipline Tribunal steps in. You can find their past judgments here.
Updates on the latest technical developments including in accounting and tax.
Updates on the latest developments in the world of audit.
Professional resources from ICAS relating to issues such as sustainability, pensions, insolvency, tax, corporate reporting, private practice and more.
ICAS professional development courses and information on the world of CPD.
Find all of our webinars in one place, including the popular series ICAS Insights and Ask ICAS.
Further resources are available from all of the following organisations