The importance of continuing professional development

Illumeo Customer Success's Profile

Continuing professional development (CPD) is the wilful development of knowledge and skills that are required to perform in professional affairs. It is sharpening current skills, or developing them to a new level, or learning new skills related to a certain profession.

In today’s changing world, your skills and knowledge need to be up-to-date to have a competitive advantage. Continuing professional development (CPD) plays an important role in maintaining the professional competency of accounting academics. CPD is an ongoing process that continues throughout a professional’s career. It ensures that a professional continues to be competent in the profession. Like most professions, companies and organizations are now prioritizing CPD obligations to ensure a constantly developing workforce.

Continuing professional development (CPD) activities can be carried out through formal education like instructor-led training courses, workshops or seminars, etc. Informal approaches can also be used such as work-based learning or mentoring. There are specialist organizations that provide online study material for CPD including CPD CPA courses and structured reading. Accounting professionals can pursue CPD with the flexibility to choose when, where, and how they study.

According to research, professionals get an advantage from CPD in a number of ways, including improved productivity, motivation, and engagement that contributes to overall performance improvement. CPD is also providing appropriate qualifications leading to higher salary earnings over a career, contributing to improved mental wellbeing.

Planning is important for CPD and choosing activities and the most important thing is relevance. It should be made sure that your learning is relevant to your job role and career ambitions. Accounting and finance professionals need to keep their technical skills up-to-date. They need to ensure that they have undertaken suitable and proper development in required technical skills, management skills, and personal development.

Some non-finance specific skills are important and may include areas such as:

  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
  • Motivational Leadership
  • Team Management
  • Change Management

One should identify and undertake CPD that can help meet the development needs to ensure that the skills and knowledge are up-to-date. It is also important to keep a record of the CPD as it may be required by current or future employers or to get credits. Keeping a record will help you stay on track and identify areas where more learning is needed.

The business environment is changing continuously regardless of the field and industry. Technology will continue to have its impact on the roles of accounting professionals, so it is important to understand and keep an eye on the future. You need to have the required knowledge and skills to stay abreast, take advantage, and be prepared for the change

While CPD is an effective way to ensure you are not falling behind on the latest industry trends and technology, it is equally important to identify areas where you need to secure yourself in the future. Speaking or interviewing industry leaders is a useful strategy to know what skills will be in demand in the future.

Continuing Professional Development also provides networking opportunities to meet new professionals and indulge in a productive discussion. Online development courses provide a vast platform for networking with professionals around the country or even around the globe. Some online courses encourage online networking with other professionals, in form of chat, etc, during or after the session which is beneficial for professionals, inculcating an environment of professional development and exchange of knowledge. Keeping connections is essential for careers and business today.

CPD could also help improve your business’s reputation and also result in confident and motivated employees that drive business success. Employees’ productivity and engagement can be increased by providing them with training and development opportunities. Learning new technical and soft skills and their implementation at the workplace can result in increased employee performance and better client relationships. Businesses that invest in providing training and development opportunities to their employees have lower employee turnover and confident and motivated employees.

Progressive companies invest in the employees’ personal development by providing them time to undertake professional development opportunities and also access to structured workplace training programs to prepare them for all possibilities. This enhances the team’s knowledge and enables them to handle tasks and challenges in an efficient and innovative way. Not only a company can maintain its service and quality standards with the help of continuing professional development, but also promotes employees' value and healthy learning culture.

Many people ignore the link between education and health. Learning new things can help keep your brain active and healthy and can also improve memory. Research shows that there is a strong link between reading and overall health. Learning can keep you healthy as it is a form of mental exercise. It is a life-long process and in today’s progressive world, accounting and finance professionals will need to pursue continuing professional development to keep their competitive edge and perform effectively.