Don't leave PD until the last minute

Online learning
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

9 August 2016

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a key part of upholding professional standards and advancing your skillset as a CA.

The mandatory ICAS CPD model requires members to take part in some CPD activity every year and places the onus on each member to decide what that activity should be.

However, with busy work lives leaving little time for anything extracurricular, CPD requirements all too often become a last-minute consideration. As professionals return to work after enjoying their summer holidays, the focus should turn to ticking off goals before Christmas.

To ensure you enter your next performance review with an impressive array of goals and achievements, we have put together some advice for planning your CPD throughout the year.

What counts as CPD?

CPD activity can mean work-based learning, training courses, voluntary research or any other undertaking that can be proven to have a positive impact on your professional development.

Dodie Clark, author of leadership book 'Stand Out', said: "When I started my consulting business a decade ago, I spent a little bit of time every night for roughly three years reading classic management authors like Peter Drucker and popular current writers like Jim Collins and Keith Ferrazzi.

"Similarly, if you’re on a new international assignment, you’ll want to dive into narrative journalism about the local politics and culture, and the most important fictional works that people in the country will refer to.

"There may be particular skills you want to pick up or interesting trends you see on the horizon that you’d like to learn more about. From there, you can chart out the best method – whether it’s taking a course, independent reading, or listening to podcasts."

ICAS Initiatives

  • SHARP leadership: Members looking to improve their leadership skills may wish to look at this new style of leadership programme. Potentialife recognises that leadership qualities are important at all levels of business, not just for the executive team.
  • FutureLearn: Online learning makes it easier than ever to learn from your desk at home or in the office. A wide array of courses are available, including two specially selected collections for ICAS, and require just a few hours each week.

Training courses in partnership with BPP

Here is a hand-picked selection of professional development training courses to inspire you:

Skills and experience you can acquire outside of work may also have value for employers. Possibilities range from confidence-building exercises like public speaking to volunteering with a charity.

Setting goals

There are three main forms of CPD: learning, connecting, and creating.

Learning goals come from identifying gaps in your current knowledge and taking steps to expand your experience. This can be as simple as familiarising yourself with recent developments in your area of expertise.

Alternatively, you might decide to learn a new skill or undertake research to gain a broader understanding of an important topic.

Connecting goals rely on you honing your networking skills. Having a good understanding of the power structure in and beyond your organisation will help you strengthen the professional relationships that will most benefit your career.

Consider who may have a say in your future and make a point of making a good impression, either through your work or in a social setting.

Creating goals can help you focus in on your knowledge as a platform for content sharing. Writing encourages a deeper understanding of the subject matter as you condense it into a comprehensive form for others.

This also aids in the cultivation of your reputation as you inform others and take on their advice or commentary.

How to plan

Here are our top tips to spread your CPD out through the year:

  1. Connect CPD to your career goals and set quarterly deadlines.
  2. Break goals into smaller tasks and regularly make time to review progress.
  3. Attend conferences or courses with a colleague to encourage further discussion.

Having a clear timetable will encourage you to keep up with your professional development and meeting goals will have an undoubted positive impact on your career.

This is part of our ‘Make Your Professional Development Count’ programme.


  • Development of the profession
  • Online learning
  • Training courses

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