It goes without saying that 2020 was a hectic year full of uncertainty. But as we welcome in the new year, we have the opportunity to assess our current habits and goals when it comes to completing our CPD - giving ourselves the best chance to use our CPD to help us to move forward in our career.
We've put together 3 simple steps that you can take to getting the most out of your 2021 CPD:
- Plan early and identify your learning style
- 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
Plan early and identify your learning style
What is the best way to complete your CPD? This depends on you. Taking some time to really think about how you like to learn and identify the CPD that works with your lifestyle. This will enable you to create a CPD plan that gives you the best chance of making real progress.
This is why it's important to plan ahead. Your CPD will be more enjoyable and manageable when you have identified how you work best. 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 ensure you have ample time set aside for learning.
Technical vs Professional skills
Once you've identified how you learn best, think about what you'd like to learn. This may highlight several skills gaps that you can develop in using CPD.
With so many options available it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what to focus your CPD on. Our research highlighted some interesting statistics and advice that will help you decide what to focus on this year.
We questioned over 1,000 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.
In an ever-changing world, the accountant of the future will need an optimal and changing combination of professional competencies. Although technical knowledge is still important, there are several key skills finance professionals will be expected to master which include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Strategic decision making
- Communication skills
The coronavirus pandemic proved to us just how important these professional skills are in times of uncertainty, and the need for strong communication and leadership are crucial in a post COVID-19 workforce.
Preparing for change
As the popular saying goes, change is the only constant. As the world recovers from the global pandemic, the accounting world is likely to see more changes introduced this year. What's more, new laws and regulations could be released without warning, 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 and flexibility to adjust your professional development as and when you might need it. Create a strong plan of action but be prepared to review and change it as the year progresses.
Make sure your 2021 CPD is effective and beneficial to your wider career ambitions and goals.