Our professional accounting qualification provides you with the full range of skills required for a successful career in public services finance

 From strategic planning, procurement, commissioning or dealing with integrating services and the implementation new delivery models, finance staff must be trained to leverage well rounded knowledge and expertise in order to manage public services responsibly and efficiently. By utilising our public services expertise, we will deliver professionals with strategic insight combined with the practical skills needed to support public sector transformation, enabling us to develop the multi-skilled finance leaders of the future.

Once qualified you will be awarded the globally recognised designation CPFA (Chartered Public Finance Accountant). you can obtain dual designation as a Chartered Accountant (CA) through our exclusive partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) by satisfying a small number of additional requirements. This will reinforce your status as a multi-skilled finance professional for both the public and corporate sector (this also applies to existing CPFAs).
New CIPFA Learning
Thanks to our extensive investment in our new virtual learning environment 'CIPFA Learning', we now from the new term we will deliver face-to-face and live web classes through the CIPFA Education and Training Centre (CETC).
This offers a more integrated learning experience for students, and service improvements for both students and employers, including our new Employer Portal which will support you in tracking student progression at every stage of their training programme.
Our students will continue to benefit from direct interactions with qualified, highly experienced public sector finance tutors who use their specialised knowledge to contextualise the training content.

View further details about CIPFA Learning.

Professional qualification

Entry routes

There are various entry routes to the Professional Qualification, designed to suit graduates, AATs, fully qualified accountants and senior professionals.

We also offer exemptions based on previous qualifications of similar level.


Professional Certificate:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Company Financial Reporting
  • Audit and Assurance 

Professional Diploma:

  • Business and Change Management
  • Corporate Governance and Law
  • Financial Management
  • Public Service Financial Reporting
  • Strategy and Policy Development
  • Taxation

Strategic stage:

  • Strategic Public Finance
  • Strategic Case Study
On completion of these levels and submitting your Practical Experience Portfolio (PEP), you gain our Professional Qualification, full membership to CIPFA and the right to use the globally respected 'Chartered Public Finance Accountant' (CPFA) designation.

Case studies

Karly Wilson

Carly Wilson
Professional Services Account Manager, CIPFA Qualified
Cheshire West and Chester Council

"The skills that you can build from the CIPFA qualification certainly focus on the strategic and operational aspects of the public sector, as well as enhancing your leadership ability."

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Kady Wilson

Kady Wilson
Trainee Accountant, CIPFA Student
Flintshire County Council

"CIPFA was the obvious choice for me because of the public sector nature of the qualification and it was an approved qualification, supported by my employer."

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Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor
Accountant, Business Planning
Cambridgeshire County Council

"A career in public finance is challenging but highly rewarding. The CIPFA qualification has given me the skills to challenge the status quo."

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