As we move into 2019, we're looking at what needs to be part of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) plan this year? Clearly CPD is a personal thing, and what we cover will be different for us all. But there are some common 'red light' areas that you might need to keep on top of in 2019. Check them out and see what's relevant to you.

UK and Ireland GAAP

FRS 102 has been around for a while but in January the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published incremental improvements and clarifications to the standards following its triennial review.

Alongside that there are the emerging issues in FRS 102 such as goodwill and intangible assets and deferred tax plus accounting for government grants, financial instruments, operating leases and more…

The emerging issues in FRS 105, include disclosure requirements, types of entity it applies to and the differences between FRS 102 and FRS 105.

Tax

In the UK we are all fixated on Making Tax Digital, which lands in April for VAT. Globally the shift towards live transaction reporting to the tax authorities continues but has generally been tempered by overly ambitious launch dates. Six Gulf States launched VAT in 2018 with a low introductory rate of 5% but many were unprepared for the most basic requirements.

Meanwhile the US federal tax reforms could launch a global trade war that undermines international trade agreements.

All this within the context of austerity straitjackets around the world and the ripples of Brexit could make it an interesting year.

Politics

Brexit looms large for all of us, but unless you have huge resources, planning for every eventuality is difficult. But that doesn't mean you can ignore it. Make sure you put it on your plan and commit to monitoring progress. And make sure you are ready to react as soon as we are clearer on what's actually going to happen.

The chancellor will deliver his Spring Statement on the 13th March. Two weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU. What will be covered remains to be seen, and he’s reserving the right to upgrade it to a full 'fiscal event' if that's necessary.

IFRS

There have been significant changes coming on stream over the past years, but now is the time to take stock, understand the changes and the implications for you and your organisation. IFRS 16: Leasing is effective for periods on or after 1st January 2019. It's a change that has already added £3 trillion worth of liabilities to the balance sheets of the world's listed companies and will affect any company, reporting under IFRS, with leases.

IFRS 15: Revenue Recognition has been described as the biggest shake up of accounting in recent years. Some people will be significantly affected, others not at all. You need to work out, as early as possible, what the impact will be for you and your clients' organisations.

There will also be impact from changes in IFRS 9 Financial Instruments, IFRS 13 Fair Value Management, IFRS 14 Regulatory Referral Accounts, IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts.

What else?

The global economy is going through a period of unprecedented change – change that will forever alter the role of accountants. To continue to be relevant you can't overlook broadening our horizons, preparing for change and developing your professional skills when it comes to CPD.

Technology is changing rapidly. Some of it will already be impacting on you directly – new systems, new ways of working. Other things like Bitcoin/cryto-currency, Blockchain, AI, Deep learning, embedded and self-serve analytics, Robotics, are on the horizon as future disruptor. Use your CPD to keep on top of these developments.

Data Analytics is a massive opportunity for accountants because you have the skills to help business make more out of the data they have. Consider developing your data analysis skills. Find out about more powerful features in Excel and Power BI.

Finally, don't neglect your professional skills. Starting with where you are on in your career, think about what sorts of skills you need to develop. Communication, creativity, management, leadership, strategic thinking, building resilience are all topics that proved popular with accountants in 2018.

75% of accountants tell us that they want to do their CPD little and often throughout the year and there's no doubt that's the most effective way of keep up to date and develop your skills. Here's our 5 step plan to helping you achieve that.

  1. Consider where you need to develop and what you need to keep up to date with. (We hope the list above helps)
  2. Make a list – it's that simple!
  3. Identify CPD that covers these areas and allows you to do little and often to keep you motivated.
  4. Do it!
  5. Reflect on it regularly.
    1. What did you learn?
    2. What will you differently in the future?
    3. Where are your weak points?
    4. What CPD should you do next?

The Accountant’s Update Pathway 2019 (UK) covers a wide range of topics that UK accountants need to know about to stay up to date and relevant. Study online 1hr per week for 20 weeks. Find out more here.