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ICAEW CPD is changing

ICAEW has announced important changes to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Regulations.  The new regime is effective from 1 November 2023 and will affect not only ICAEW members, but also other individuals regulated by ICAEW and the firms that employ them.

There is a raft of guidance, help sheets and tools on the ICAEW website https://www.icaew.com/membership/cpd.

It’s important to use this guidance so you are clear about what you and your firm will need to do.  Here’s a summary of the key points.

What are the changes?

 In summary:

  • There will be a prescribed minimum number of hours of CPD each year. This will be between 20-40 hours.  There are different ‘CPD categories’ which apply according to whether you work in public practice or not, and according to the work you do.
  • A certain number of hours must be verifiable. This means there must be evidence of its completion.  Between 5 and 30 hours must be verifiable and, again, this will depend on the CPD category.
  • Mandatory ethics training – at least one hour of verifiable CPD must be aligned to ICAEW’s Code of Ethics.
  • A record of CPD must be maintained. This will need to include reflections on your development needs, CPD activities, hours completed and evidence of verifiable CPD.  Evidence must be kept for three years.
 What do individuals need to do?
 Decide if you need to comply

The first step is to understand if you are affected by the new regime.  Most ICAEW accountants will need to comply, though there will be exemptions (e.g. of you are not working in accountancy, finance or legal services or are on a career break).

Decide, what CPD category do you fall in?

There are different categories for people working inside and outside of practice. Broadly speaking categories 1 and 2 apply to those most likely to come under public scrutiny and where regulators are likely to have increased expectations.

For those working in practice, Responsible Individuals (RIs) on audits of Public Interest Entities (PIEs) fall into category 1. RIs who are responsible for audits of large companies fall into category 2. For those not working in practice, members who are Finance Directors of a PIE would fall into category 1, a Financial Controller at such an entity would be in category 2.

The majority of individuals in scope of the new regulations are expected to be in category 3.

CPD Category

Minimum number of hours

Minimum number of verifiable hours

Working in Practice

Category 1



Category 2



Category 3



Working outside Practice

Category 1



Category 2



Category 3



The ICAEW has a useful assessment tool in their CPD hub which can help you work out which category you fall in. 

 Reflect on your development needs and plan your CPD

This requirement already exists. The CPD must be relevant to your role.  The activity should meet a specific learning outcome that you have identified as necessary to remain up to date and competent in your role. Attending courses and webinars will obviously count, but a wide range of other activities can also be included such as listening to podcasts, coaching, problem solving and learning from colleagues. 

Keep a record

You will be required to keep a record of your CPD which should include:

  • Reflections on the CPD activity you undertook and why;
  • A record of the activity including dates;
  • The number of CPD hours, including the number that are verifiable; and
  • Evidence of the CPD – this might include a registration confirmation, attendance certificate or annotated notes of a learning activity. Certificates of attendance won’t be mandatory. A booking form will suffice.

There is an example of a CPD record on the ICAEW CPD hub.

Verifiable CPD

For a CPD activity to be verifiable there must be evidence of its completion that is:

  • Objective – fact based rather than based on personal perspectives;
  • Corroborated – can be confirmed to be accurate; and
  • Retained – documented and stored in an observable format.

There is guidance about what counts as verifiable CPD on the CPD hub and examples of the evidence required.  Only one piece of evidence will be required per verifiable activity.

What do firms need to do?

Under the new regulations firms will have a responsibility to ensure that ICAEW members are compliant with the new requirements, and to maintain records that can be inspected by the Quality Assurance Department (QAD) on request. 

Key responsibilities and steps that should be taken in advance of November 2023 include:

1. Review the new regulations and supporting guidance

 Help members assess the CPD category they sit in.  Make sure your people are aware of the changes and have confirmed what CPD category is most applicable to them.

2. Update your system of planning and recording CPD

 Make sure your firm’s process for recording CPD will capture verifiable hours and that staff are clear as to what counts as CPD and specifically what counts as verifiable CPD.

3. Determine what approach your firm will use for mandatory Ethics training

 ICAEW will be making a free online ethics CPD course available for all members prior to November 2023.  It won’t be compulsory to use this resource. If your firm already undertakes relevant Ethics training (e.g. by staff attending Insight Training’s annual Ethics Awareness course) then that will suffice.

 4. Update your processes for recording CPD

 A complex system isn’t required, and it may be that the system you already use is sufficient.  There isn’t a prescribed format, but QAD will be looking for evidence of oversight and firms being aware of, and driving, compliance with the new regime. 


ICAEW will start monitoring compliance with the new regulations from November 2024, though they will start to engage with firms before this date to help support them to embed the new regime.

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