Understanding the new apprenticeship levy


By Giles Orr, Director of Learning Delivery and Partnerships, CIPFA

1 April 2017 saw the start of the new apprenticeship levy, with all organisations with a turnover of £3m contributing, but are we all in a state of readiness?
It seems to me that there are three areas that finance professionals need to be thinking about regarding the levy:

  1. The basics – what is the levy and how does it work?
  2. The technical – how do we account for it?
  3. The professional – how can it be used for finance training?

On the basics, Future Focused Finance has issued a number of helpful explanatory notes. These can be accessed via its website.

On the technical accounting side, the HFMA has produced a discussion document looking at the issues involved. CIPFA will respond directly to any further accounting questions raised by members through the technical enquiries service.

Finally, there is good news when it comes to the considerations about the professional implications for the finance profession. From our discussions with employers, it is clear that there is a voracious appetite across the public sector to capitalise on the changes that are providing wider opportunities for employers to train finance and accountancy apprentices.

During National Apprenticeships Week, CIPFA committed to continue its support for public sector finance apprenticeships, along with our intention to deliver the new Level 7 Professional Accounting Apprenticeship Standard, once the final stages of approval are in place (expected spring 2017).

CIPFA, along with the UK’s other accountancy bodies, is at the forefront of these initiatives and we’re actively supporting organisations as they develop their finance and accountancy training through the new Level 7 apprenticeship.

Subject to final approval, CIPFA will have accredited programmes from people starting out in accountancy right through to full professional qualification. In addition, via CIPFA Education and Training Centres (CETC), we will be able to deliver the full range of accountancy qualifications starting at levels 2–4 (AAT) right through to professional accountancy qualification at level 7. All of this will be accessible through the apprenticeship levy.

It is possible that current trainees may be able to transfer across the new scheme. CIPFA is currently helping a number of organisations to explore this option.

If you’re in the midst of developing your strategy around the new apprenticeships, you can read how we’re planning to work with employers here on our website. You’ll also find an open invitation to get in touch with your questions – we hope you feel able to take us up on that.

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