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How Can CPD Courses Help Advance My Career?

CPD is often for your job rather than your personal learning. But, why not be clever and achieve both with CPD?

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CPD (Continuous Professional Development) is sometimes associated with doing courses you have to do rather than those you don’t.

They’re for your job rather than your own personal learning. But why not be clever about it and achieve both – complete your CPD credits and advance your career?

The first thing to know when it comes to CPD is what you require as an accounting professional.

  • Every year, CPD training must be completed
  • Complete 40 CPD units per year
    • 21 verifiable units – relevant courses or events that relate to your job role
    • 19 non-verifiable units – reading articles, listening to podcasts or attending webinars

The good news is that to reach your yearly accounting body quota, you would just need to spend 2 hours every fortnight doing a CPD course.

In addition, if you’re clever about the subjects you choose and make sure they relate to your job, company or a role you have targeted, this will mean that along with learning, you’re advancing your career.

Employers and lifelong learning

Companies are keen to understand what type of lifelong learning prospective candidates are undertaking.

For example, going into an interview in the manufacturing industry and doing courses that directly relate to that industry will go a long way to put you at the top of that shortlist.

Today’s employers are now looking for skilled staff with relevant skills that can be immediately applied in the workplace. In our experience, that’s the keyword for CPD  – relevance.

The benefits of learning CPD online

The advantages of earning CPD credits online are the same for professional exams – you don’t have to commute or give up valuable working time to complete them. It also cuts out the need for time-consuming networking events and breakfast meetings.

This means that you choose when you learn, and there’s also nobody judging the speed at which you learn or the pyjamas you’re wearing while finishing your breakfast while learning!

So, let’s look at some key questions accounting professionals ask us regarding CPD and career advancement.

I want to change my career. Will CPD help find me a new job?

One of the basic things you should do is do a little research on a company and find out more about the people you will meet in an interview – LinkedIn is always a good place to start.

You should tailor your CV to the job description and company to get noticed. So, even if it’s not directly related to your job, doing courses about the business shows initiative and creates a positive conversation on which to base the interview around.

If you can get the interviewer to talk about things you have experience in, you have already made great strides to be a frontrunner.

Expert tip: Start your research at the application phase, not just when you have a call for an interview.

I have done a lot of courses; which ones do I list?

Congratulations! You’ve completed a range of courses, and the next step is showing it off when going for that promotion or moving to a new company.

If you have taken a course every two weeks, the list could be very long. But, as we’ve said before, it’s all about relevance.

A section entitled ‘Professional Training’ on your CV to show that you are differentiating from formal education is a good idea. You can then list by topics, such as blockchain or management, but those topics may have multiple courses that you get the opportunity to discuss at the interview stage.

If it’s a particular role, such as a pension actuary, technical courses might be worth highlighting.

The courses you choose to complete and highlight circle back to tailoring your CV. Adapt this based on the company and job requirements.

Expert Tip: Don’t list the courses that future employers may take as a given for your profile or role. Make sure any you include are progressive and show a keen attempt to stay ahead of the learning curve.

I am considering switching careers; how can I leverage CPD?

What if you find yourself in a situation where you have decided that a change is needed, but you don’t know which way to go? CPD can play a role in helping inform your decision.

By selecting online CPD courses available, you can complete ones entirely different from your day-to-day job and get a feel for whether that’s a direction for you.

When you find an area of interest, explore it further with additional courses and job searches to see what would be required to make this transition.

Expert tip: Using this strategy will help you fulfil your CPD for a year and learn new skills that may be useful in the long term.

How can CPD help me in my current job?

You might be one of these people, or know them, who have had the same job for a long time and may have committed to the fact that this is your job for life.

That’s fine, and there is no issue with that. But that doesn’t mean that there is no potential for learning and improving in that job. Never assume you know everything or the best way to do all tasks.

Expert tip: It’s always a good idea to impress your employer by showing initiative, and completing a CPD course may be an easy way to achieve that!

Final thoughts

If you want to create some free time in your job, be more effective with the quantity of work you are undertaking, or even want ideas on how to take advantage of resources in your company, then CPD is for you.

CPD courses are helpful in many ways. While there’s no guarantee that you will get that new job or promotion,  the chances of career progression are greater if you embrace learning as career progression rather than something you think has to be done.

Alan Lynch
4 min read

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