CPD in 2020 – a different perspective on learning
Michelle Mullen, ICAS Executive Director Regulation, offers Members guidance on what type of learning counts toward their commitment to undertake relevant CPD.
2020 has certainly not been a “normal" year, yet as we near the middle of November, ICAS Members will be completing their Annual Renewal and looking at the box which reads, “I confirm that I have undertaken relevant CPD”. But what does that mean this year?
I know that some Members are concerned that the training plans which were put in place in January 2020 have not been achieved, and have expressed concern about being asked to provide confirmation of their CPD in those circumstances. I therefore wanted to provide you with some reassurance.
A different approach to learning
This year, we have seen a different approach to learning. I’m confident that the CPD plans which individuals prepared at the start of the year were not their top priority after the end of March. For almost all of us, our CPD learning throughout 2020 became reactive to the environment around us, rather than based on a proactive plan which we had prepared at the start of the year.
Given the many challenges practice and businesses have faced, I suspect that, through necessity, most Members have undertaken more CPD activities in 2020 than any other year. Every Member in practice has needed to become familiar with particular standards and the relevant government support initiatives to be able to assist their clients. Every Member in business has been faced with new operational or financial circumstances, whether they act in an executive or non-executive capacity. The same challenges have applied for Members who undertake pro-bono work for charities and pension schemes (which includes many retired Members who give of their time and skills to help support third-sector organisations). All the additional reading or research, and related discussions and meetings with advisers over the last 10 months, constitutes learning and counts towards CPD.
An output-based CPD framework
Remember, CPD is not just about attending courses and webinars, albeit the attendance for the Ask ICAS and ICAS Insight webinars has exceeded our expectations and we will be continuing with a full programme throughout 2021. It is also not about undertaking specified hours of any particular activity (although from 1 January 2021 Ethics will need to feature in the CPD Plan for every ICAS Member).
ICAS adopts an output-based CPD framework, meaning that Members are expected to undertake relevant CPD for their role. There is a thought process that Members are expected to follow in order establish and plan any relevant CPD activities for the year ahead, and an obligation to reflect on what they have learned.
When CAs reflect on 2020, I think they will be surprised at the volume of learning activities undertaken during the year which should be recorded as CPD.