Continuing professional development activities of UK accountants in public practice

Catriona Paisey, Nicholas J. Paisey, Heather Tarbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Continuing professional development (CPD) is the educational and developmental work and learning that professionals undertake after they have qualified as members of their professional body. International Education Standard (IES 7), issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in May 2004, called on all professional accountants to develop and maintain competence that is relevant and appropriate for their work and their professional responsibilities. In order to comply with IES 7, ACCA and ICAEW implemented new policies for CPD effective from 1 January 2005, and CIMA and ICAS from 1 January 2006. Prior to these changes, CPD, which had originally been regarded purely as implicit within a professional accountant's ethical responsibilities, had come to be more regulated following legislative changes in the late 1980s. This is the first academic study to investigate the actual CPD activities of accountants in public practice in the UK. The questionnaire survey revealed that approximately 80% of members in public practice of ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW and ICAS engaged in levels of CPD that complied with the guidance in place before the new rules were introduced in 2005/06. The most frequently reported CPD activities were technical reading and course attendance. ACCA members have a broadly similar requirement under the new ACCA CPD policy. Most ACCA members in practice would continue to comply with the new policy requirements if their level of participation in CPD activities remains unchanged. However, up to 20% of such accountants are likely not to be compliant unless their participation increases. CIMA, ICAEW and ICAS have adopted a new approach to CPD based on outputs rather than inputs. These new requirements are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-403
Number of pages25
JournalAccounting Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuing professional development
  • Accountancy profession
  • IES 7
  • CIMA
  • ICAS


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