Members' CPD FAQs

What are ACCA's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements?

Members can choose one of the following routes when meeting their CPD requirement:

  • unit route
  • unit route - part-time or semi-retired
  • ACCA Approved Employer route
  • other International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) member-body route.

The unit route is for members who plan and organise their own CPD. If you follow the unit route, you are required to complete 40 units of CPD each year, where one unit is equal to one hour of development. Twenty-one units must be verifiable; the other 19 can be non-verifiable.

If you are employed for 770 hours or less over the course of a CPD year, then you may be eligible to follow the part-time or semi-retired route.

If you work for an organisation which is an ACCA Approved Employer - professional development, you may achieve your CPD by participating in your organisation's employee development programme; you are not required to follow the unit route.

If you have worked for an ACCA Approved Employer - professional development for all or any part of a CPD year, you can indicate that you have taken the employer route when you make your annual CPD declaration.

If you are also a member of another professional accountancy body, then you can choose to follow your other body's CPD programme instead of ours.

Full information on ACCA’s CPD requirements is available on the managing your CPD area of the website.

Who completes CPD?

All ACCA members active in the workplace should complete CPD on an annual basis. If you have just become a member you need to ensure that you’re participating in our CPD programme from 1 January after you became a member. You don’t have to complete CPD if you’re on our retired register.

ACCA affiliates should focus on achieving the practical experience requirements (PER) for membership. However, if you are an ACCA affiliate and you have held this status for three or more years you should participate in relevant and sufficient CPD if you’re not fulfilling any PER.

Why do I need to undertake CPD and is this mandatory?

Members are required to undertake relevant CPD to ensure that they maintain and develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today's dynamic and demanding business environment.

All ACCA members who are active in the workplace are required to complete CPD on an annual basis. Members on the retired register are exempt from CPD.

If personal circumstances mean you cannot participate in CPD, then you may be eligible for a CPD waiver.

Our CPD scheme complies with the CPD Standard (IES 7) released by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) of which ACCA is a member.

I forgot to submit my declaration by 1 January, what should I do?

Submit it to ACCA as soon as possible.

How do I notify ACCA that I have completed the CPD requirements?

All members are required to submit an annual CPD declaration each year, no matter what CPD route is followed. You can submit your annual CPD declaration online at any point in the year by logging into myACCA. Alternatively you can complete a paper version, which you will receive as part of your annual subscription renewal notification. This must be returned to ACCA by 1 January of the following year. 

I am not working, do I still need to comply with the CPD requirements?

We recognise that sometimes members will not be able to fulfil their CPD requirements. Members may have a long-term or serious illness, be caring for a family member, be on maternity or paternity leave, be unemployed, taking a career break or may be furloughed/off-work due to COVID19.

You can apply for a waiver for the period when you are not active in the workplace. A minimum of one month's absence from work is required in order to be eligible. Waivers will be granted pro rata to the period of absence from work.

You can apply for a waiver in one of the following ways:

In all cases, you should retain documentary evidence related to the waiver application for a period of three years. You will still have to complete your annual CPD declaration. Please refer to the CPD waiver guidance .

I have been awarded a CPD waiver. Do I need to make a declaration?

Yes. If you were awarded a full CPD waiver, you can make your CPD declaration straight away indicating this. You will still need to meet the non-verifiable requirement ie reading activity and keep evidence of this and evidence to support your waiver.

If you were awarded a partial waiver, you will need to meet your remaining CPD obligations and submit an annual CPD declaration, selecting Option A - unit route. Remember to keep evidence of your CPD and evidence to support your waiver.

I can't afford to attend courses in order to meet the CPD requirements. What else can I do?

There are many other forms of professional development that are acceptable to ACCA. For instance, work-based learning, coaching, mentoring, e-learning, networking, discussion groups, reading and undertaking research are just some of them. We also have a comprehensive range of services and tools to support you in planning, sourcing and achieving your CPD  These are available via the CPD Activities Finder many of which are free or are being offered to members by our CPD partners at a discounted rate. 

I no longer work in accounting or finance, will I still have to do CPD?

All members, regardless of their role, are required to meet the CPD requirement. However, we ask members to undertake CPD relevant to their current roles. For example, if you work in IT, we will recognise your CPD activities which are focused on IT.

I am currently studying and don't have time for CPD – what should I do?

Studying for an additional qualification is an acceptable CPD activity. Members undertaking such study may even have exceeded the CPD requirement. Send in your annual CPD declaration as soon as possible and keep evidence of your studies in case we require it.

I am not working due to Covid-19. Do I still need to comply with the CPD requirement?

We understand that the impact of Covid-19 may result in members being furloughed/off-work and as a result they may not be able to fulfil their CPD requirements.  If this applies to you then you can apply for a waiver for the period when you are not active in the workplace. A minimum of one month's absence from work is required in order to be eligible. Waivers will be granted pro rata to the period of absence from work. Please wait until the earlier of: (a) when you have returned to the workplace, so that you know the extent of the period you’ve been absent from work; or (b) late December, before applying for a waiver.

You can apply for a waiver in one of the following ways:

*Select “Career break” from the drop-down menu if you have been furloughed/are off work due to Covid-19.

Please note the same arrangements are available for our members who may have a long-term or serious illness, be caring for a family member, be on maternity or paternity leave, be unemployed, or taking a career break. Further information on waivers can be found in the managing you CPD area of the website.

In all cases, you should retain documentary evidence related to the waiver application for a period of three years. You will still have to complete your annual CPD declaration. Please refer to the CPD waiver guidance .

Will ACCA be reducing the CPD requirement in response to Covid-19?

Members whose working arrangements are significantly impacted by Covid-19 should refer to the CPD waiver guidance. The CPD requirement for 2020 has not been amended. We recognise availability of some CPD events will be reduced due to the impact of Covid-19 and we would encourage you to look for alternative ways of undertaking CPD, such as online courses, as well recognising the learning and development you may have gained addressing the Covid-19 challenges. We would recommend that you review your CPD plan and, where events you were scheduled to attend have been cancelled, look for opportunities to address these learning needs through other mediums or at a later date.

ACCA recognises that this situation is an evolving one and will be subject to on-going review and may change.

I was due to attend a face-to-face event that has been cancelled due to Covid-19. How do I meet my CPD requirement?

We recognise availability of some CPD events will be reduced due to the impact of Covid-19 and we would encourage you to look for alternative ways of undertaking CPD, such as online courses, as well recognising the learning and development you may have gained addressing the Covid-19 challenges. There are many ways to undertake CPD other than face-to-face events. For example, work-based learning, research, project work, consulting with experts, coaching and mentoring, studying for additional qualifications and online learning can all count as CPD if that learning is relevant to your current or future role. ACCA also has a comprehensive range of online learning available via the CPD Activities Finder many of which are free or are being offered to members by our CPD partners at a discounted rate. Please check this online resource as you may be able to find an activity which covers the subject matter of a cancelled face-to-face course. For example, ACCA has increased the number of online courses and webinars.

I am really busy now adapting my working practices in response to Covid-19 and do not have time for CPD. What should I do?

We recognise the challenges many members are facing due to the impact of Covid-19. You may be working from home for the first time or having to manage a team remotely. You may be using different technologies or platforms  to conduct meetings and stay in touch with your colleagues and/or clients. You may be involved in crisis management or business continuity planning. You may be researching the financial implications of Covid-19 in order to advise your employer or your clients – ACCA’s Covid-19 Hub provides lots of useful articles and insights to assist you in this. You may be balancing work with looking after dependents. While it may not be at the forefront of your thoughts at this time, you will look back on these challenges and realise that they have contributed to your development and will count as CPD. For example, you may have gained new skills, developed your personal resilience or honed your time or people management. Researching into the implications of Covid-19 for you, your employer and/or your clients will also count as CPD.

If you are unable to work during this time, then you may be eligible to apply for a CPD waiver. Please see the CPD waiver guidance for further details.

How do I show ACCA that I’ve been undertaking CPD?

For an activity to count as CPD you need to be able to demonstrate how you have or will apply that learning in the workplace. So, any learning you do now, even if you are furloughed or on a career break, will count as CPD if you can show that you will use this learning when you return to work. For example, you may learn about a change to tax regulations that you will then use to update your tax reporting when you return to the office. You may be learning how to use different technologies or processes that you will implement when back at work. Or you may be undertaking some personal development that will benefit your effectiveness in the workplace or aid your career progression.

My employer usually pays for my CPD but is not able to currently. What should I do?

ACCA has a comprehensive range of online learning available via the CPD Activities Finder many of which are free or are being offered to members by our CPD partners at a discounted rate. There is also a lot of useful articles and insights on the Covid-19 Hub which can contribute to your CPD. Please also remember that work-based learning and development is a really good source of CPD.

I work for an ACCA Approved Employer but have been furloughed/asked to take a temporary leave of absence, can I still meet the requirement for 2020 via this route?

Yes, you are eligible to meet your CPD requirement for 2020 through the Approved Employer route if you have been employed by an ACCA Approved Employer – professional development stream at any point during the year. When you return to work, you and your employer will review your ongoing development needs and agree a plan of action to meet these.

I am also a member of another IFAC member body and follow the IFAC body route to meet my CPD requirement. What should I do?

You will remain eligible to meet the ACCA CPD requirement through following the IFAC body route, if you remain a member of your other IFAC member body and meet the requirements of that body’s IFAC complaint CPD policy. ACCA will respect any amendments, variations or waivers your other IFAC member body may decide to make.

I am unsure about ACCA’s CPD requirements. Where can I find more information?

Full information on ACCA’s CPD requirements is available on the managing your CPD area of the website.