CPD exemptions

The CPD Regulatory Committee carried out a review of the exemptions categories for CPD and a revised policy was implemented from 1 January 2014. Effective from that date, an exemption from CPD may only be claimed by those members who are fully retired or members who are absent from work for the full year due to ill health.

The following exemptions are no longer available:

  • career break;
  • maternity and paternity leave; and
  • unemployment.

This means that, from 1 January 2014 onwards, if you have been or are on a career break or unemployed or on maternity/paternity leave you will need to ensure that you still comply with the CPD Regulations and will need to undertake appropriate CPD for your circumstances.

For the 2015 Annual Return, and annually there after, you will be required to self-certify your CPD compliance. 
If you are selected as part of our annual CPD sample you will require to complete and submit a CPD record.

You will be expected to have undertaken CPD activities relevant to your role up to the date you stopped work. During the period that you are not working you should continue to keep up to date with CPD unless this is not practical (for example if you are a full time carer). If it is not practicable you should have, at the very least, a CPD plan in place for how you will get up to date on the lead up to returning to work. Once you have returned to work you should be conducting CPD activities to ensure you have the skills and knowledge for your role. 
ICAS firmly believes that, if you are intending to return to work, continuing to develop and maintain professional competence will enhance employability and therefore encourages you to keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date where possible. 

Exemptions available

Ill health

Members who are suffering from ill health and who have not worked during the CPD year in question are exempt from CPD requirements.

If you have worked for part of the year you will not be exempt for that part of the year and will be required to confirm your CPD compliance for the working period. This applies for both your Annual Return and if you are selected to submit your CPD record for that particular year.

If you have been selected for the CPD sample but are currently unwell please contact the CPD team in order that the Authorisation Committee can consider your circumstances.

Fully retired exemption

Members who are fully retired and who do not provide any services (paid or unpaid) are not required to undertake CPD.

The fully retired exemption should be ticked on your Annual Return only if you have not been engaged in any professional or business work paid or unpaid at any time during the year in question (including any charity role and/or non-exec directorship).  This exemption lasts only for the period covered in your Annual Return.  If you wish to claim an ongoing exemption please go to the Ongoing Exemption section below

If you are involved in any professional or business work you will require to comply with CPD requirements (see section below 'When can I not use the fully retired exemption?').

When can I not use the fully retired exemption?

Members who are retired but carrying out some form of business or professional work, including part time or voluntary work, are not exempt and are expected to comply with the CPD requirements and to undertake CPD activities that are relevant to the work they are undertaking.

For example, members serving as non-executive directors, will be expected to keep up to date with any issues impacting on their role. These issues might include changes in corporate governance or company law and they will be expected to demonstrate that they are keeping their skills up to date in these areas if selected for monitoring purposes.

Members assisting charities, clubs/associations/other communal bodies as volunteers (e.g. trustees, independent examiners, treasurer, preparer of accounts, bookkeeping) will be expected to keep up to date with any issues impacting on their role. For charities, for example, Members should keep up to date with developments in the charity sector relevant to them, for example changes in legislation, regulatory requirements and accounting issues.

Example CPD records covering charity roles and directorships are included in CPD requirements.

On-going exemption for fully retired Members

Members who are fully retired from all professional or business activities with no intention to take up such activities in the future may make an application for an on-going exemption from the Continuing Professional Development requirements (CPD) for ICAS members.  This exemption will last for as long as you do not conduct any professional or business activities.

For the period of your ongoing exemption, we will no longer ask you about CPD nor require you to complete an Annual Return, unless your details have changed.

For the purposes of making an application for an on-going exemption from CPD, members may not be:

  • Undertaking any form of paid work or employment, including work outside accountancy
  • Acting as the trustee or treasurer of a charity (including as a church elder)
  • Acting as a director or non-executive director
  • Performing any professional services for charities (regardless of whether this is paid or unpaid) ICAS reserves the right to remove an on-going exemption from any member believed to be undertaking any of the above activities.Ongoing-exempt members will be sent a short form Annual Return only, which only requires completion if contact details have changed or any professional or business activities are taken on.To claim the on-going exemption please first read the Guidance document entitled ‘Exemption from CPD for Fully Retired Members’ to ensure that you are eligible to apply for the exemption and then complete the ongoing exemption form below.

Download Exemption form PDF [58 KB]

Download Exemption Guide PDF [433 KB]

You can print off the Exemption Form and return it to the CPD department at ICAS by posting it to ICAS, Regulatory Authorisations, CA House, 21 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh, EH12 5BH. Alternatively you can email it to regulatoryauthorisation@icas.com.

Please note that if you are granted an exemption and you subsequently become involved in professional or business activities, you should inform the ICAS CPD department as soon as possible as you will no longer be eligible for the on-going CPD exemption and will be required to meet the standard CPD requirements.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for semi-retired members

We have put together a list of frequently asked questions for semi-retired members which can be accessed below.

Download semi-retired CPD FAQs PDF [241 KB]


  • CPD

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