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Firms' guide to CPD

Helpsheets and support

Published: 24 Apr 2023 Updated: 09 Jul 2024 Update History

ICAEW’s CPD Regulations place specific responsibilities on ICAEW member firms/other firms. Read about the requirements and the actions firms should take to ensure their affected members of staff are compliant.

The requirements

ICAEW member firms, and other firms regulated by ICAEW, are expected to display the professional capability, skills and knowledge that uphold the value of the accountancy profession and the qualification.

Under ICAEW's CPD Regulations, all ICAEW member firms and other firms are required to:

  • ensure that all of their members and relevant persons are in compliance with at least the minimum relevant and verifiable hours requirement for their CPD category for the professional work which their members and relevant persons carry out for their firm;
  • maintain records of at least the relevant and verifiable CPD hours undertaken by all of their members and relevant persons; and
  • make available to the ICAEW Quality Assurance Department (QAD), on request, their records for CPD carried out by their members and relevant persons.

The requirements enable ICAEW to monitor and ensure that ICAEW Chartered Accountants and relevant persons are undertaking sufficient CPD. They also provide strong assurance to oversight regulators, government, policymakers and the public that ICAEW Chartered Accountants are maintaining and enhancing their competence within ever-increasingly complex professional and regulatory environments.

Firms are able to use existing systems in place to monitor CPD, training and competence.

Many firms working in regulated areas already undertake such monitoring – for instance, under the Audit Regulations, firms are required to make sure all their principals and employees are competent to do audit work. 

ICAEW’s CPD Regulations give firms the chance to review current processes, reassess the CPD needs of staff, and enhance your firm’s practice risk management. 

Use ICAEW’s key steps guide and FAQs to ensure your firm is meeting its requirements. Ultimately firms have a responsibility to ensure staff are competent for the work they carry out.

Webinar: firms' requirements

Last autumn, ICAEW hosted a webinar outlining what the changes to CPD Regulations would mean for firms and answering key questions ahead of their implementation on 1 November 2023.

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CPD monitoring requirements

In most instances, the ICAEW Professional Standards Department/QAD will communicate requirements for CPD monitoring by email with the ICAEW practice assurance principal or ICAEW's regulatory contact for your firm.

Key steps to take

1. Review the CPD Regulations and supporting guidance to help your firm’s ICAEW Chartered Accountants and relevant persons correctly assess which CPD category they sit in.

One size doesn’t fit all – ICAEW’s broad membership means its approach to CPD must meet a wide range of needs, from sole practitioners to the Big Four firms, as well as those working across different service lines and members working in business, the public sector or in not-for-profit organisations.

The CPD Regulations define CPD categories for ICAEW Chartered Accountants and relevant persons.

A driving factor for defining the CPD categories is the degree of risk to the public in the service or work that's being undertaken. ICAEW members and relevant persons are required to identify which CPD category is most applicable to them and to complete the specified minimum number of CPD hours each year, a proportion of which must be verifiable (see step 2).

Action required:

  • Review ICAEW's CPD Regulations.
  • Ensure all ICAEW Chartered Accountants and relevant persons working in the firm have confirmed which CPD category is most applicable to them, based on the type of work they do. 

Resources to help with this:

2. Verifiable CPD

Under ICAEW's CPD Regulations, members and relevant persons must to undertake and record a minimum number of verifiable hours of CPD.

Verifiable CPD is any activity that enables members to keep up to date and proficient in their role, and which can be evidenced.

The key things to remember about verifiable evidence is that it must be factually accurate, corroborated by an independent source and in a format that can be included in the staff member's CPD record.

Verifiable CPD is not limited to structured courses. Independent evidence can be provided for a wide range of actions, including from staff members' day-to-day work, from attending peer discussion groups and consulting with experts, to on-the-job research of technical areas and writing academic articles.

It can, of course, include courses and seminars, whether face-to-face or online. It’s less likely that firms are mandating activity, such as technical research for an article or presentation, yet these count as verifiable.  

All firms, ICAEW Chartered Accountants and relevant persons need to ensure they understand what counts as verifiable hours and that firms' processes for recording CPD includes the requirement to capture verifiable hours within the total CPD hours.

Action required:

  • Check that your firm, ICAEW Chartered Accountants and relevant persons understand what is meant by verifiable hours and the minimum number of verifiable hours required for their CPD category.
  • Check that your firm’s processes for recording CPD will capture verifiable hours.

Resources to help with this: 

3. Ethics training

The type and content of CPD that ICAEW Chartered Accountants and relevant persons choose to undertake is left to their discretion, with one exception: they must complete a minimum of one hour mandatory annual training aligned to ICAEW’s Code of Ethics each year.

ICAEW has produced a free online ethics CPD course to support members and relevant persons in meeting this requirement. However, this course does not have to be used, however, and individuals can attend equivalent training through their firm or via an external provider, as long as it meets ICAEW’s learning objectives. 

Action required:

4. Recording CPD

Firms don't need a complex system to record the CPD of staff and there isn’t a prescribed format. It’s a case of having the right oversight and being aware of, and driving, the training.

Firms need to ensure they are able to demonstrate compliance with the ICAEW CPD Regulations

The questions we recommend you consider are:

  • How do we oversee what CPD is being carried out by ICAEW Chartered Accountants/relevant persons in our firm?
  • How do we make sure that people are in the right CPD categories and are complying with the requirements of the CPD Regulations?
  • Does our process provide a way to record verifiable and non-verifiable hours?
  • How do we check CPD so that at the end of the year we can show QAD reviewers that the relevant people have complied with the CPD Regulations? 

Resources for your staff

ICAEW has lots of free online content, including webinars, podcasts and insights. And, all members have access to content from most of ICAEW's faculties and communities.

Find out more about how ICAEW's CPD Regulations are changing after 1 November 2023


The ICAEW CPD year runs from 1 November to 31 October with QAD reviewers undertaking their monitoring activities starting each November 2024.

We understand that firms may have different CPD years, which may be aligned to the financial year, for example. We don't expect firms to change their CPD year, and we will consider this in our monitoring.

The ICAEW QAD team uses a mix of monitoring methods designed to assess how firms and individuals meet their responsibilities under the CPD Regulations.

On an anonymous basis the monitoring process will include regular dissemination of good practice identified and any issues arising to help support firms and individuals in complying with the CPD Regulations.

Firms FAQs on CPD

Answers to the most commonly asked questions from firms about their responsibilities under ICAEW's CPD Regulations

Find out more about how ICAEW's CPD Regulations are changing after 1 November 2023
Sole practitioner?

Read our support for sole practitioners on meeting their CPD requirements.

Read more
Changelog Anchor
  • Update History
    13 Jun 2023 (12: 00 AM BST)
    Links added to the ICAEW ethics CPD course which is now live.
    10 Jul 2023 (12: 00 AM BST)
    Additional FAQs added - questions 10 - 19.
    09 Oct 2023 (12: 00 AM BST)
    Addition of webinar recording to page.
    01 Nov 2023 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    Updates made to reflect CPD Regulations coming into force.
    09 Jan 2024 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    Addition of support for sole practitioners and link to new FAQs.
    09 Jul 2024 (12: 00 AM BST)
    Text updated to reflect passing of time and to extra sole practitioner support to its own page.