CIPFA launches new syllabus for its flagship accountancy qualification


The CIPFA qualification has always offered the best foundation for developing the next generation of public finance professionals and leaders. But just as the world has changed so much recently, so must we.

The role of finance professionals in the public sector is more critical than ever. As we emerge from the shadow of the pandemic and into the path of the climate crisis, we need talented, skilled and passionate people who will be best placed to guide the public sector through the challenges yet to come. This is why we need our flagship qualification to continue to be the standard by which others are judged in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

After much consultation and review, we are pleased to share with you CIPFA's renewed flagship accountancy qualification: the CIPFA Professional Accountancy Qualification, or CIPFA PAQ for short. The current qualification offered by CIPFA is the Professional Qualification (PQ), known internationally as the International Public Finance Management (IPFM) qualification. The refreshed syllabus will eventually replace and consolidate these qualification, becoming known under the one name internationally.

Students who are currently enrolled on one of the pre-2022 courses will not be affected by this. They will continue their studies on the course they initially signed up for and be awarded either the PQ or IPFM at the end of their studies. This is to cause the minimum amount of disruption as possible. They will also have access to all of the new material introduced in the new syllabus through optional CPD courses, as well as access to the new e-learning platform, to ensure they don't miss out.

Reflecting CIPFA's status as a UK-based organisation with a global outlook, the PAQ is a truly global qualification. In today's fast moving environment, the accountants of tomorrow need to be able to stay on the front foot. This refreshed and updated course will place a greater emphasis on emerging digital technologies, cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence to equip students with the skills they need today and well into the future.

Sustainability is now at the top of government priorities globally, and our new qualification recognises the need for finance professionals to become central to the effort of protecting our places and planet. Green finance, environmental reporting and climate performance measures now feature prominently in the updated syllabus.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, said: "Digital technologies, highly charged political contexts, regulatory reform, climate change, increased service demand and the COVID-19 pandemic – these are all impacting how public financial management, reporting and audit are conducted now and in the future. At the heart of our mission to build trust, by strengthening public financial management, is CIPFA's Professional Accountancy Qualification."

This new course places the student at its heart. We are introducing an e-assessment platform and new virtual learning environment, which will give students greater flexibility and control over how and when they study. Finally, we have extended our wellbeing tools and resources to include access to trained mental health first aiders and a new online wellbeing hub.

The CIPFA PAQ continues our strong tradition of equipping students for a successful career in the modern and diverse public sector. It is now made even better with its focus on the issues which matter to today's world and tomorrow's accountants.

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