Demanding public sector environment leads to the biggest accountancy skills update for seven years


The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has published a new syllabus for its benchmark professional accountancy qualification. The syllabus sees the most significant changes in seven years which reflect the skills needed in the changing financial and strategic environment now facing public services.

The CIPFA qualification is designed for people seeking a career in managing public money and is the route to membership of the institute. From next year there will be a greater prominence given to leadership and innovation training as the demands facing senior public sector staff increase.

Other changes to the qualification include a greater focus on commercial skills including performance management, value for money and procurement.

The overall aim of the CIPFA professional qualification is to equip students with more than just technical accounting skills, but to give them an understanding of the complexities of the public sector and the necessary skills needed to succeed in its challenging and fast-paced environment.

Chris Bilsland, CIPFA President, said,

“The renewal of our professional qualification demonstrates that CIPFA is an institute that is prepared to continually challenge itself, keep up to date, and lead the professionalisation of public financial management here and around the world.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority and a CIPFA graduate, commented,

“CIPFA launched me on the career path that got me to where I am today. I’m running a £7 billion building project associated with the Olympics, which is also probably the biggest regeneration scheme in Europe. So getting a CIPFA qualification doesn’t mean getting a dull job. Far from it. In fact the public sector in particular is full of diverse and challenging roles.”


Contact: Lindsay Machin / Tim Windle
CIPFA Press Office
t 020 7543 5645/5787
e /


CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.