How to Keep Up with Continuing Professional Education
The base qualification for bookkeepers is the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping, so what happens after your qualify?
As bookkeepers now work under the Tax Practitioners Board they are required to undertake Continuing Professional Education (CPE) also known as Professional Development (PD) to keep their skills up to date and to broaden their knowledge base.
CPE is one of the reasons that I have been a BAS Agent for so long, I chose to work in an industry where you continue to learn and enjoy learning new software and areas of expertise. My staff and I are always looking at areas that we can improve or extend the services that we provide.
CPE is not just about seminars, webinars and newsletters. You can also enrol into a one day classroom session and then complete the assessment afterwards to become competent and confident in that area. You will then receive that unit as a stand-alone to add to your base qualification. Either method adds to your CPE hours. The units that we have recently been running our staff through are budgeting and cashflow management and monthly management reporting.
I know that my staff and students at WiseClick will have heard me harp on about providing services that the clients want or need and not to just focus on all of the ATO compliance jobs that are required.
How amazing would it be as a business owner to have your bookkeeper tell you it’s time your business had a budget and that they would produce that for you. Plus, off the back of that budget you will get a 12 month forward projection of cashflow whenever you need one….to see what your bank balance will be in 12 months if you do X and Y…invaluable
So for all of the qualified bookkeepers out there and those about to finish their course, a couple of TO DOs below to get your CPE on track:
- Subscribe to newsletters – ICB, ATO, Fair Work, OSR
- Book a time in your calendar once a month to read your newsletters, allow 1-2hrs. Grab yourself a coffee and a comfortable seat and your ipad
- Log your CPE hours. ICB members can do this via their log in or use an excel sheet. I generally drag all booked activities into an outlook folder then complete once a year.
- Once a year make a plan as to the areas that you want to get better at. If you don’t do this you will end up attending adhoc, whoever advertises most loudly and not what you need. My staff would generally study on areas that are coming into our day already as generally those are areas that our clients need help with.
- Plan for one conference a year if you can, this gives a bulk amount of hours in one hit and is a great way to see industry associates and learn new skills at the same time.
- Set yourself a budget to spend on CPE and put the money away so you are happy to pay when the time comes.
- Do some research on each subject for areas to study and plot your year ahead. Of course plans are meant to be broken so be flexible and have fun.
- Remember if what you are learning is interesting to you then it isn’t a chore. CPE will then become an enjoyable routine in your working life.
I was very happy to talk about this subject on the back of WiseClick Training running our first comeback ICB Network Meeting this month! It’s terrific to be back on board as an ICB facilitator and I can’t wait to see you all at our next meeting on the 15th May.
All the best,