5 Tips on how to ensure the training is right for you

  • Person icon Mercia Group
  • Calendar icon 17 May 2024 11:06

Maintaining your professional development throughout your working life is vital to maintain a successful career path. Planning and completing the right training programme will strengthen credibility as well as providing the skills and knowledge to execute your role successfully and deal with the challenges ahead.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD) also demonstrates to your colleagues and the wider public that you are invested in remaining proficient and at the forefront of the profession. Here are five tips to help you ensure that the training you undertake is right for you and your career.

1 – Fitting the training to your requirements

It is imperative that the training you choose to undertake fits your role, is suitable for the stage of your career as well as the fulfilling the requirements laid out by the professional body that you belong to.

You will then need to identify the correct learning objectives for yourself. These can be based on your either personal or your business needs, or both. They can include:

  • Where am I on my career path?
  • Where do I want my career to go?
  • What business objectives do I need to meet?
  • What skills am I currently lacking?

Answering these questions should help you map your capability and pinpoint gaps in your knowledge.

In addition, the amount of professional development that ICAEW members are required to complete annually varies depending on job title, the type of work undertaken and the organisations worked with.

ICAEW’s CPD Regulations divide professional roles into six categories. The category you fall into dictates the minimum amount of CPD you need complete each year and for how many hours you need to provide evidence of completion. Other professional bodies will have their own criteria which must be met.

Once you have successfully identified your objectives you should be able to make a CPD plan that advances your overall career progression.


2 – Choosing a format that suits you


Different people suit different learning styles. The demands of both working and family lives mean that fitting in CPD training can be a real challenge. So, choosing the right format to enable you to learn effectively and achieve your CPD hours is crucial.

Some will prefer face-to-face events so they can get the benefits of a structured, physical learning environment. This enables interaction between learners and instructors, which means personal attention from the trainer is possible as well as allowing networking opportunities with other delegates.

The direct learning experience also helps build soft skills and improves motivation and accountability for many learners.

Others will prefer the convenience of online training events, whether they are live or on-demand courses. This allows learning in the comfort of your own home or office at a time that suits your needs.

The availability of different course dates, course lengths and start times will also be a factor in choosing the right training for you.


3 – Finding the right topic


Keeping up with the latest regulatory updates to tax, audit and accounting is a major challenge and selecting the right course will help you practice with confidence.

CPD can cover a wide range of topics and those working in accounting and finance teams will need to keep their technical skills up to date. Professional development should also include management skills and personal development.

Select topics that will both interest you and aid your career growth. Consider factors such as the need for new or improved skills, exploring fresh professional areas and personal weaknesses that require addressing.

Common CPD topics for accountants include:

  • accounting
  • auditing
  • taxation
  • VAT
  • financial reporting
  • corporate finance
  • payroll
  • risk and fraud
  • Excel and data analytics
  • leadership
  • technology and digital innovation
  • regulatory and professional updates.


4 – Getting the timing right

Although it is possible to start planning your training at any point during the year, many people find it useful to align it with your annual development or performance review. 

It is imperative that you prepare properly and are ready for your CPD activities.

Make sure your diary is updated with time blocked out in your schedules. Try to remain focussed during training sessions and block out any potential distractions. Switch off your phone if possible and make sure your 'out of office' is on.


5 - Reflect on your learning


After training sessions, reflect on what you learnt. Learning reflection is a proven way to help embed your learning and enhance your professional practice. 

Ask questions like:

  • Did you get out the session what you wanted?
  • How can the learning help advance your career progression?

These will help you consider what you’ve learned and how that could have a wider positive impact in your business. The answers will show how you have developed and changed as a result of your learning, which is part of everyone’s CPD.


Vital process

CPD is a vital process for finance professionals including accountants. It helps keep technical skills and knowledge up to date and provides opportunities to develop your career progression in new areas too.

Here at Mercia, we are able to help with an extensive bank of on-demand, in person and live online training courses covering technical accounting and tax topics and professional skills.

Our 2024 training programme has suggested pathways for each ICAEW category per technical steam, making it easy for you to identify the courses that will ensure compliance.


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