CPD is easy to put off until the last minute. But good professional development comes from knowing what changes you need to make each year and making them. CPD is the perfect tool for reflecting on your career as well as knowing how to move forward in it.
When thinking about your CPD, you can make it easier by following these simple rules:
- Plan early
- Think about your broader skills and knowledge as well as the technical updates
- Be prepared to change your plan during the year to address any issues that arise
You know yourself better than anyone else, therefore you know how you like to learn and where CPD best fits into your life. Take some time to consider what the best approach to tackling your CPD is and plan around your schedule and learning style.
You have the power to make your yearly CPD process much more manageable, and ultimately even enjoyable, once you've understood your ideal learning style. For example, it makes sense that if you prefer shorter durations of learning you might want to complete your CPD little and often, and ideally integrate it into your working day. However, if you prefer dedicating time to longer CPD sessions these need to be planned out in advance to make sure you have ample time set aside for learning.
Technical vs Professional skills
Just as you know how best to manage your time, you’re also the best person to identify your skill gaps and know where you should focus your professional development. Your CPD is all about benefitting you, after all.
However, it can be so overwhelming to try and figure it out by yourself. So, we have some statistics and advice we hope can help you realise where you want to focus.
We questioned over 1000 accountants about their choice of CPD topics and found that 85% wanted just professional skills or a mix of technical and professional skills. Considering how the accounting role is changing, this isn't surprising. Technical skills alone won't cut it. With technology and automation affecting many areas of business there is a desire and a need for CPD to prepare accountants for a changing future.
The accountant of the future will need an optimal and changing combination of professional competencies. Yes, this needs to include technical knowledge, but there are key skills the accountant will be expected to master which include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Strategic decision making
- Communication skills
Preparing for change
The earlier you plan your CPD the more opportunities you give yourself for reflection and to take part in discussions with peers and colleagues around chosen topics, all of which embeds learning and allows the benefits to translate into the workplace.
Of course, life is never simple, and we don't know what is around the corner. New laws and regulations could be released, and new technology can disrupt the industry at any given moment. We simply can't predict what the year ahead will bring!
Allow yourself the time to adjust your professional development as and when you might need it.
Compile these thoughts to ensure a strong plan of action, making sure your professional goals in 2020 are reached.