IAESB paper on measuring continuing professional development

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09 Jul 2008

The International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) has published an information paper to assist IFAC member bodies and others in developing effective continuing professional development (CPD) programs for professional accountants.

Titled Approaches to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Measurement, the paper explains the elements of an effective CPD program, examines current practices by accountancy and other professional associations, and discusses approaches to measure a program's effectiveness.

A fundamental theme of this paper is the debate between input and output-based CPD measurement. Input-based measurement has recently been brought into question by many professional bodies. These bodies recognize that simply recording the time spent on CPD does not necessarily indicate that anything has been learned, or that CPD will lead to any change in practice. In a climate of increased accountability and external pressures, professional bodies are turning to output-based measurement techniques that can measure exactly what input-based measurement cannot: the impact of CPD on the professionalism of practitioners.

There is some resistance to the implementation of output-based measures, including perceived cost, and professionals feeling as if they are being 'tested'. The aim of this paper is to find out what professional bodies are currently doing in terms of CPD measurement, and to understand the success of different types of systems. This will result in an informed analysis of the arguments for and against input and output-based measurement systems. We discovered that there are many steps along the way to a fully output-based system, and that successful output measurement is not as far from reach as many professional bodies may suspect.

Click to view the Press Release (link to IFAC website).


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