The IFA requires all members to be committed to maintaining the highest professional and technical standards by undertaking appropriate continuing professional development (CPD) relevant to their role and career each year. You must confirm that you are doing so by making a CPD declaration every year as part of the membership renewal process.

CPD includes education, practical experience and training to develop professional knowledge, professional skills, professional values, ethics and attitudes. In addition, CPD also includes learning and development activities such as coaching and mentoring, networking, observation, feedback and reflection.

CPD is any relevant learning activity that improves your ability and competency to undertake your role and/or a learning activity which enhances your career. To be effective, CPD should be planned, relevant and timely.

Planning your CPD

When planning your CPD, you should take into account your personal, professional and business needs, any knowledge gaps or skill shortages and your long-term career aspirations.

Once learning and development needs have been identified, you will have to take action and assess the impact of your CPD activities towards ensuring that your learning and development objectives have been met and that you remain competent.

You can decide what CPD to do and where you get your CPD from and it doesn’t have to be through the IFA to be valid.

CPD requirements

In accordance with the IFA bye-laws and CPD regulations, members must:

  • keep under review their needs for training and development having regard to the professional and other work they undertake;
  • where such a review identifies a specific need for training or development act promptly to meet such need; and
  • certify annually to the IFA compliance and, if requested by the IFA, provide such evidence of compliance as may be required.

All members, other than those who are CPD exempt or have agreed a reduction (see below), must complete 40 hours of CPD in any year, of which 20 hours shall be verifiable.

CPD activities

Examples of CPD activities which may meet the requirements of these regulations are:

  • IFA Direct units;
  • attendance at training courses, conferences, seminars, workshops, IFA regional networking events and other meetings;
  • online learning or training;
  • studying for professional exams with formal testing;
  • on-the-job training, including secondment, work shadowing, visiting other departments, performance feedback or professional guidance from a mentor or coach;
  • participating in and working on boards, technical committees, networks and other sector activities;
  • writing articles, papers or books which are  technical, professional or academic in nature; and
  • researching relevant subject matter, including reading professional literature and journals and technical discussion with colleagues.

Verifiable CPD

Verifiable CPD must be:

  • related to the roles, responsibilities and/or career of the member; and
  • supported by evidence; and
  • related to a specific learning outcome.

Examples of verifiable evidence for verifiable CPD to be kept as part of a member’s CPD records include, but are not limited to: 

  • course outlines and teaching materials;
  • confirmation of participation in events or courses by a provider, instructor, employer, professional body, mentor or tutor; and
  • independent confirmation that a learning activity has been completed successfully, for example, examination results, certificates, appraisals and assessments by an employer.

Record keeping

Members are required to keep a record of their CPD activities and maintain this record a minimum of six years after the end of the year. Records of CPD may be in electronic or hardcopy form. The IFA offers members a CPD recording facility which is accessed via the member dashboard.  

Alternatively a CPD log is available for members to download and complete.

Evidence of attendance or completion of courses should be retained by members to support CPD logs which may be called upon by the IFA as part of its CPD monitoring and enforcement work.

Monitoring and enforcement

CPD monitoring and enforcement extends to all members of the IFA.

Members not completing their annual online CPD declaration will be automatically selected for review and may be subject to disciplinary action.   

Each year the IFA chooses a random sample of members and asks to see their CPD records to ensure that they have complied with the IFA's CPD requirements.

Members selected will be asked to provide a record of their CPD activities and supporting evidence. 

If you are selected for CPD monitoring, you are required to co-operate with the IFA’s compliance and monitoring process. Failure to co-operate with the IFA may lead to disciplinary action in accordance with the IFA CPD Regulation 6.6 and IFA Bye-law 13 (Liability to disciplinary action).

CPD exemptions

A member may be exempt from the CPD requirements where they:

  • provide no accountancy services (with or without reward); and
  • do not act as trustee, director of a legal entity or in any other capacity which carries with it an equivalent level of legal or financial responsibility; and
  • have no intention of providing the above services in the future.

Retired members meet the exemption criteria above unless they take on voluntary roles where they are being relied upon for their accountancy expertise. Retired members with such roles need to complete relevant CPD, but the required number of hours can be met on a pro-rata basis if the position is not full time.

Members declaring they are exempt may be selected for monitoring. If selected, you will be required to provide evidence to support your exemption. Failure to provide such evidence may lead to disciplinary action.

CPD reduction

You may request a reduction in the number of CPD hours you are required to do if you:

  • are on a career break
  • are a new member having joined within the last 12 months 

Contact the membership team at [email protected] for more information.