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How does CPD work for ACCA?

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In today’s dynamic business environment, continually improving your knowledge, skills and experience is essential for furthering your career and helping your clients.

The CPD process is a way for you to document all the formal and informal professional development activities you do, and how you apply them in the workplace.

What is ACCA CPD?

Continuing professional development, or CPD, is an essential part of your ACCA membership. It provides you with the skills needed for your job, and to help your career prospects.

CPD also increases your productivity, confidence and credibility in the eyes of employers.

Who needs to record CPD hours?

Every active ACCA member needs to do CPD each year. New members must start recording their verifiable and non-verifiable CPD from 1 January after becoming a member. Those on the retired register don’t need to complete CPD.

What qualifies as CPD?

There are so many activities that you can do to gain CPD for ACCA. You can attend networking events, conferences, seminars, webinars, undergo face-to-face learning, do an online course, or read technical articles. They all have different amounts of CPD units assigned to them. You can find events and online CPD resources via the ACCA website.

How do I go about doing my CPD?

There are four different routes you can follow to complete your CPD, so you can choose the one that suits you best.

  1. Unit route

    This route is for if you want to plan and organise your own CPD. You’ll need to complete 40 relevant units of CPD every year, made up of at least 21 verifiable units and up to 19 non-verifiable units. One unit is one hour of CPD.

    A verifiable CPD unit for ACCA means that it is relevant to your career in accountancy, and you can explain how you use what you've learnt in the workplace. You will also have to provide evidence that you completed the activity. For example, if you went to a relevant conference, you would need to show proof that you attended, such as a course certificates or invoices, confirmation of a CPD task by colleagues or managers or notes taken at a meeting.

    A non-verifiable CPD unit can consist of reading or research - something that isn’t related to a specific outcome. You don’t need to prove that you’ve done this.

    If you complete more than 21 verifiable units in any year, you can carry forward up to 21 units to your next CPD year. This might happen if you’ve been studying intensely for an MBA or another qualification. Unfortunately, non-verifiable units can’t be carried forward. Please note that you cannot carry forward CPD units in your first year of CPD.

  2. Unit route if you’re part-time or semi-retired

    If you’re working less than 770 hours a year, so around 17.5 hours a week, then you can do the part-time or semi-retired route.

    This means you will only need to do 19 hours of non-verifiable CPD. You can set your own level of verifiable CPD units, but you need to make sure that it’s enough for your role, and you’re continuing to learn.

    There are some conditions that apply to this route:

    1. You need to follow the full unit route if you’re not eligible for this one.
    2. You can only follow this route if you’re not responsible for audit or other regulated report work.
    3. You will need to show that you have technical support when carrying out your duties.
    4. You should not follow this route if you are involved in the preparation or presentation of accounts that investors rely on.
    5. You should not follow this route if you are a non-executive director of a listed company.
  3. ACCA Approved Employer route

    If your employer holds an Approved Employer professional development approval then you can complete your CPD via their employee development programme. You’ll follow it by taking part in their appraisal process and completing your personal development plan with them.

    You will need to submit your annual CPD declaration to ACCA to confirm that you’ve done this route. Before choosing your route it’s always best to check with your employer to see if they have approved status.

  4. IFAC body route.

    If you’re part of another professional accountancy body, you may have a choice of CPD programmes. You can follow another CPD programme if:

    1. You’re a full member of the other accountancy body
    2. They are a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
    3. Their CPD policy complies with IFAC's International Education Standard (IES 7).

    You will still need to submit your annual CPD declaration to ACCA to confirm you’ve followed this route.

    Submitting your annual CPD declaration

    Every ACCA member needs to submit their annual CPD declaration by 1 January of the following year. If you’re a new member you will start your CPD year on 1 January, so you won’t need to submit anything.

    It’s very simple to submit your CPD units - you log into myACCA or you can return a printed form version that can be downloaded from the ACCA website.

    You’ll need to confirm: which of the four CPD routes you followed, whether you’ve met the CPD requirement, if you're an engagement partner responsible for audits of financial statements, and if you’ve kept your professional ethics up to date.

    What if I haven’t met the required CPD units?

    Don’t worry, ACCA can help you out. Just let them know as soon as you can and they can see if you’re eligible for a different route, or even a waiver. You still have to make your annual CPD declaration, but you will just state that you haven’t managed to complete them.

    Interested in ACCA?

    If you’re interested in the ACCA qualification, and want to learn more, check out our ACCA pages for more information.