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CIPFA's Professional Accountancy Qualification  (CIPFA PQ)

Our professional accountancy qualification (CIPFA PQ) provides the full range of skills and competences required for a successful finance career in public services.


From strategic planning, procurement and commissioning to dealing with integrating services and implementing new delivery models, our syllabus and robust training delivery programme provides trainees with the best foundation and well-rounded knowledge to apply their technical and practical skills in their roles at all levels.


Once qualified, trainees will be awarded the globally recognised CPFA (Chartered Public Finance Accountant) designation and gaining the status as a multi-skilled finance professional, for both the public and corporate sectors.  

CIPFA Learning
Through CIPFA Learning – our virtual learning environment, we offer an integrated and flexible learning experience for students, including face-to-face and live web classes, delivered by qualified and highly experienced tutors who use their specialist public sector finance knowledge to teach and nurture trainees during their learning programme. 

Read more about CIPFA Learning.

Employer portal

Our employer portal is the biggest addition to our package of support for employers of CIPFA PQ trainees. The
 online portal helps employers keep track of their students’ progress and development through every stage of their training programme.


CIPFA’s Professional Accountant Apprenticeships
We are a registered training provider for the Professional Accountant Apprenticeship and offer the CIPFA PQ through our Level 7 Apprenticeship programme. Eligible employers in England will be able to use their apprenticeship levy accounts to fund the training costs of their trainees and apprentices. Read more about CIPFA’s Accountancy Apprenticeships.

Professional Accountancy Training Employer Guide          Professional_Accountancy_Training_Student_Guide

View employer guide          View student guide

Entry routes and syllabus for the CIPFA PQ

Entry routes

There are various entry routes to the CIPFA PQ, 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 the CIPFA Portfolio, trainees will gain the CIPFA qualification, full membership to CIPFA and 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."

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."