Accountant CPD Requirements: Everything you need to know!

ai in accounting

Accountant CPD requirements are often mentioned but rarely explained in depth – and the differences between various accounting bodies only add to the confusion!

To help clear things up, we’ve compiled information on the accounting CPD requirements for ACCA, ICAEW, and CIMA, all in one convenient location. Simple.

So, with that in mind, let’s get started!

What is accounting CPD?

Verifiable VS Non-verifiable CPD

The Importance of Accountant CPD

ACCA Accountant CPD Requirements

CIMA Accountant CPD Requirements

ICEAW Accountant CPD Requirements

What is CPD in accounting?

CPD in accounting stands for Continuous Professional Development. A must for accountants to keep their knowledge sharp and standards high. This process isn’t just beneficial; it’s often mandatory. Why? To keep pace with the ever-evolving industry landscapes, regulations, and tech advancements.

So, what does this involve?

Typically, accountant CPD involves participating in various educational activities, which all clock in as CPD hours. An accountant must complete several CPD hours annually to meet their professional accounting body’s CPD requirements.

Accounting CPD examples include anything from studying new accounting standards to attending updates on tax legislation. These efforts ensure accountants don’t just stay in the game; they excel.

In essence, an ongoing education process is crucial for accountants to uphold the profession’s integrity, enhance their career prospects, and ensure they provide accurate and ethical accounting services, which is essential for maintaining certification and staying proficient in the field.

So, that’s a broad overview; let’s get into the specifics….

Ai in accountancy

FREE verifiable Accounting CPD courses!

Need to gain your verifiable CPD hours?

From AI in Accountancy to all important tax updates, we’ve got you covered.

Sign up today and receive exclusive access to 14 hours of verifiable accountancy CPD courses! 

Differences between verifiable and non-verifiable CPD

Now, the terms verifiable and non-verifiable requirements will come up a few times, so let’s explore exactly what we mean by these terms.

Verifiable accounting CPD requirements involve learning activities that can be objectively verified by a third party, ensuring the quality and relevance of the learning to your professional development.

    Non-verifiable accounting CPD examples consist of general learning activities that contribute to professional growth but do not have a specific outcome or are difficult to evidence.

      What are some CPD examples?

      It can be confusing to know what does and doesn’t count as CPD, so here are some examples of both verifiable and non-verifiable CPD activities.

      Verifiable Accounting CPD Examples:

        • Structured learning through attending courses, workshops, or seminars led by experts
        • Digital learning via webinars and online courses
        • Pursuing further qualifications or examinations
        • Scholarly contributions, such as writing articles or papers for professional journal

      Non-verifiable Accounting CPD Examples:

        • General reading on industry trends, such as articles in technical journals like AB magazine
        • Informal learning sessions with peers
        • Listening to a industry podcast or youtube video

      Although non-verifiable CPD is more challenging to quantify, it remains a vital component of a professional’s ongoing development.

      AI for accountants

      Why is CPD important for accountants?

      Well, firstly, CPD is now a requirement for all accounting bodies. If you want to maintain your professional accreditation, its completion is absolutely necessary! 

      Beyond the technicalities, CPD is important….


      1. Staying updated with regulations and standards

      As you know, the accounting field is subject to frequent changes in laws, regulations, and standards. CPD ensures that you stay current with these changes, which is vital for compliance and the accurate reporting of financial information.

        Accounting AI

        2. Enhancing professional competance

        Through CPD, you can improve your existing skills and acquire new ones, which is essential for career progression and effectiveness in your roles. This development can include technical accounting skills, technology updates, and softer skills such as leadership and communication.

        Accounting AI

        3. Increasing credibility with clients and employers

        By engaging in CPD, you demonstrate your commitment to your profession and your dedication to maintaining high standards. This commitment can enhance their reputation with clients and employers, potentially leading to more opportunities and career growth.

         4. Adapting to technological advancements 

        The accounting sector is increasingly influenced by technological advancements, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics. CPD helps you stay abreast of these changes, ensuring they can leverage new technologies to improve efficiency and offer better services.

        5. Supporting career progression and personal development  

        CPD can open up new career paths and opportunities for advancement. By continually learning and adapting, you can position yourself for senior roles or specialisations within your field. 

        Navigating the accountant CPD requirements can be a complex but ultimately rewarding endeavour. So, whether you’re an ACCA, ICAEW, or CIMA member, understanding and fulfilling your CPD obligations is essential to maintaining your professional accreditation and ensuring your expertise remains relevant and current. 

        Remember, CPD is not just about ticking boxes—it’s about enhancing your capability, credibility, and competence in the ever-evolving field of accounting.

        So, let’s take a look at what this means for each accouting body.

        First up….

        ACCA CPD requirements

        How many CPD hours do I need?

        Annual units: ACCA members must complete 40 units of CPD annually, with one unit representing one hour of learning.

        This is divided into:

        • 21 verifiable CPD hours: Participation in face-to-face events, webinars, conferences, or seminars relevant to one’s role, with proof of attendance or completion necessary.

        • 19 non-verifiable CPD hours: Activities such as reading event handouts or ACCA articles, even if attendance at an event was not possible.

        Alternative routes

        For those who are part-time (working less than 770 hours a year), semi-retired, or work for an ACCA Approved Employer or an IFAC body, alternative routes with reduced accountant CPD requirements are available.

        Just 19 non-verifiable hours are required for this route.

        Now, for ACCA to qualify as verifiable CPD under the Unit route, an activity must meet three criteria: 

          1. It must be relevant to your career
          2. You should be able to demonstrate how the learning was applied in the workplace
          3. You must provide evidence of having undertaken the activity

        CMI assignment help

        The terms verifiable and non-verifiable are quite important here, and earlier we took a closer look at what exactly each term means, so make sure to scroll back up to remind yourself…

        Recording and Reporting

        Now recording and reporting your CPD is essential, and ACCA have a specific means of doing so.

        CPD Records

        ACCA Members must maintain detailed records of their CPD activities, including the nature of the activity, units claimed, and evidence of completion for verifiable activities. 

        Luckily, ACCA provides an online CPD record tool for ease of tracking.

        CPD declaration

        An annual declaration of accounting CPD compliance is required for membership renewal, with ACCA conducting audits to ensure policy adherence. Members must be prepared to present evidence of their CPD activities if selected for an audit. Fulfilling accounting CPD requirements is crucial to retaining membership.

        How is CPD reviewed by ACCA?

        Annual reviews of a statistical sample of ACCA members’ CPD are conducted to verify that they are effectively advancing their knowledge and skills. If a member is chosen for a review, they must demonstrate the relevance of their selected CPD activities. This involves explaining the reasons for choosing a specific activity, detailing what was learned, and describing how this new knowledge has been or will be applied in their professional context.

        ICAEW CPD Requirements

        Listen up!

        As of November 2023, all ICAEW members must carry out a minimum number of accountant CPD hours per year, with accounting firms shouldering a duty to ensure their staff comply with these new regulations.

        Significantly, these changes reflect the institute’s response to the government’s audit reform agenda and aim to boost public trust in the profession by ensuring that members undertake CPD activities that are directly relevant to the integrity and quality of their work.

        So, how many CPD hours do I need? 

        Minimum CPD hours: Members must complete a specified minimum number of CPD hours annually, including a set number of verifiable hours. This new requirement aims to clarify the extent of CPD necessary, which may vary depending on the member’s role (more about this in a second)!

        Calculating ICAEW CPD hours

        ICAEW divides CPD requirements into 3 categories. These are:

        Category 1

        targets those in key audit positions for major entities, reflecting their strategic impact. 

        Members in this category must undertake 40 CPD hours, of which 30 hours must be verifiable.

        Category 2

        …is tailored for professionals auditing significant but non-public interest entities, acknowledging their critical role in financial integrity.

        Members in this category must undertake 30 CPD hours, of which 20 hours must be verifiable

        Category 3

        caters to a broader spectrum of accountants, supporting their continuous learning and adaptation in a dynamic field. 

        Members in this category must undertake 20 CPD hours, of which 10 hours must be verifiable.

        These distinctions enable accountants to pursue development opportunities that resonate with their career trajectory and sector-specific challenges.

        To find out which category you fall into, you can use the CPD calculator on the ICAEW’s website.

        What else do the ICAEW CPD changes mean for me?

        Ethical training

        Besides technical training, members will now be required to engage in learning activities focused on ethical and behavioural issues. This compulsory element is designed to align with the ICAEW’s Code of Ethics and must make up at least 1 hour of verifiable CPD. 

          • ICEAW’s free ethics course can be used to fulfil this latter requirement.

        Verifiability of CPD hours

        A portion of the CPD undertaken by members must be verifiable, meeting certain standards and requiring evidence of completion. 

        But don’t worry, you can get 10+ hours of free verifiable CPD from us here!

          Ai training for accountants

          Despite these changes, the core principles of the ICAEW’s CPD requirements remain. Members must continue to assess their development needs, create and implement an action plan, evaluate the effectiveness of their learning activities, and declare their compliance at the year’s end.

          Recording and compliance

          Maintaining detailed records of CPD activities is an essential aspect of compliance with the ICAEW’s requirements. Members must document their accounting CPD activities, including reflections on the learning process and its applicability to their professional development. These records must be retained for at least three years and are subject to review by the ICAEW, ensuring adherence to the CPD policy

          How is CPD reviewed by ICAEW?

          ICAEW conducts an annual CPD monitoring process. A selection of members is asked to submit their CPD records for review. This process is designed to ensure that members comply with the CPD requirements and provide support and guidance where necessary.

          Feedback and Compliance: If the CPD records meet the requirements, the member is informed, and no further action is required. If there are gaps or issues with the CPD activities, ICAEW provides feedback and may require the member to undertake additional learning.

          FREE verifiable Accounting CPD courses!

          Need to gain your verifiable CPD hours?

          From AI in Accountancy to all important tax updates, we’ve got you covered.

          Sign up today and receive exclusive access to 14 hours of verifiable accountancy CPD courses! 

          CIMA CPD Requirements

          How many CPD hours do I need?

          Unlike ACCA and ICAEW, CIMA itself doesn’t prescribe a minimum number of CPD hours. But that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary! Documentation of accounting CPD is still required. 

          Unlike the ACCA and the ICAEW, which employ verifiable and non-verifiable accounting CPD requirements, CIMA uses the terms formal and informal, which are a little different.


          Let’s take a look at the types of CPD recognised by CIMA:

          Formal CPD: These activities are structured and can include participating in courses, workshops, seminars, webinars, or pursuing additional qualifications.

          Informal CPD: This encompasses many learning opportunities that occur in less structured environments. Examples of informal accounting CPD include self-study, reading relevant literature (books, journals, online resources), on-the-job learning through new projects or tasks, mentoring, coaching, and participating in professional networks or discussion

          Recording and Compliance

          As we’ve mentioned, CIMA members are required to maintain a record of their CPD hours. This documentation should not only show the activities undertaken but also reflect on the learning gained and its application to their professional life.

          Important components of effective CPD recording include:


          Members should keep detailed records of both formal and informal CPD activities, including the nature of the activity, the date it was undertaken, and the learning outcomes.


          Reflecting on how each CPD activity has contributed to professional development or addressed specific learning needs is crucial. 

          Members should evaluate the applicability of the knowledge or skills acquired and how these have been or could be implemented in their professional roles

          How is CPD reviewed by CIMA?

          CIMA conducts random audits of its members’ CPD records to ensure compliance with the CPD policy. If selected for an audit, a member must provide detailed records of their CPD activities, including evidence of participation and reflection on the learning outcomes. The institute reviews these records to verify that the member has engaged in meaningful and relevant CPD activities that contribute to their professional development.

          Members who fail to meet CPD requirements or to provide satisfactory CPD records when audited may face disciplinary actions.

          Georgia Coombs

          Head of CPD

          I hope you’ve found this guide on Accounting CPD requirements useful – but if you’ve got any further questions, leave a message and I’d be happy to help!


          Illustration by Storyset.