Diploma in Public Financial Management, Reporting and Business Change

Gain the knowledge and skills required to progress your professional accountancy career

Developed in partnership with industry experts and employers, this qualification offers a wide range of transferable skills that can be applied to many different finance and accounting contexts. It provides students with a nationally-recognised qualification in professional accounting and audit, and is suitable for those who:

  • work as experienced management accountants and want to formalise their CIPFA qualifications
  • work in an audit role and wish to progress to Chartered Management Accountant status
  • want to set up their own business
  • work as a Professional Management Accountant on a freelance basis

The Public Sector Financial Reporting module content will vary based on your location — further information can be found in the documents and module descriptions below.


Implementing Business Change (IBC)

The IBC module is designed to develop a strong understanding of the issues involved in delivering successful business change – an essential skill in the constantly changing public services. There is a focus on the practical aspects of delivering business change and implementing successful projects and programmes. The key role of commissioning, procurement and contract management and the tasks involved in managing projects and running programmes are explored.

The increasing importance of organisational collaborations as an approach to deliver strategy is also considered and students will develop an understanding of the integral aspects of people management in change programmes and process improvement, particularly how to employ emotional intelligence skills to ensure change is effective and sustained. This module is closely linked to the Developing Strategy and Data Analysis and Business Planning and Financial Management modules and will help prepare students for the Strategic Public Financial Management module.

Assessment: Online examination, three hours, extended response questions with a number of components

Strategic Public Financial Management (SPFM)

Focussing on the strategic financial management issues facing those who work in, manage and lead finance functions across the public services, this module covers the specific sources of finance available to public service organisations and the complexities of the environment in which public financial management work is undertaken. Issues involved in public service financial strategy development, financial planning and budgeting are identified and analysed, including climate change and sustainability. Collaborative working, business partnering, business case preparation and evaluation and governance considerations are also explored.

The module concludes by focusing on the issues associated with evaluating performance of public services. The principles introduced in earlier modules, especially Management Accounting, Financial Management, Strategy Development, Governance and Risk Management and Implementing Business Change, are developed and applied from the perspective of public service organisations and specific not-for-profit models are introduced.

Assessment: Online examination, three hours, extended response questions with a number of components

Public Sector Financial Reporting (PSFR)

UK students

This module focuses on the knowledge and skills required for financial reporting responsibilities within the UK public and charity sectors. It explores the main elements of the financial framework in which public and charity sector organisations in the UK operate, as well as the form and content of financial statements and the requirements for preparing consolidated financial statements. Financial statements are analysed.

There is a focus on the preparation of financial statements for organisations in the different sectors: local government, central government, the health service and the charity sector. Students will be required to demonstrate knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and of the relevant sectoral regulations. PSFR builds on the knowledge and skills developed in the Financial Accounting and Business Reporting modules, particularly on recording financial transactions, applying IFRSs and preparing financial statements.

International students

The PSFR module for international students explores the technical knowledge and skills required to perform financial reporting responsibilities within the public sector. It offers an overview of the public sector and introduces the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) regulatory framework. There is a focus on the skills needed to prepare cash basis financial statements under IPSAS. Acknowledging the benefits of transitioning from cash basis to accruals accounts, there is also a focus on the skills that public sector accountants will need to advocate for the use of accruals accounting in their place of work.

It revisits some of the key technical financial reporting knowledge developed in earlier modules and explores the importance of ethical principles in relation to the preparation of financial statements and providing financial information and advice to users. Content on the preparation of financial statements focuses on single-entity organisations, and covers cash basis statements.

Assessment: Online examination, three hours, objective questions and preparation of financial accounts.

Strategic Case Study (SCS)

The SCS module focuses on refreshing and consolidating the skills and knowledge gained from the previous modules, and on using these skills and knowledge to address strategic financial management problems effectively. No new syllabus content is introduced in the module. The assessment requires the integration and application of knowledge from different modules in order to address a series of practical issues and to communicate information clearly and effectively to recipients, often to senior stakeholders. The emphasis is on evaluating and responding to practical issues and determining relevant management or financial management strategies and policies in the context of professional and ethical standards.

Assessment: Online examination, three and a half hours, pre-seen case study