The Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants (ACCA) has launched an online training resource to help
finance professionals plan their careers and optimise their
continuing professional development (CPD).

ACCA COMPASS assesses core competencies and

On one level it allows members to benchmark
their skills against a given role at various levels of experience
and create career development pathways.

On a second level it enables employers to
analyse their finance function, decide on the roles and level of
competence they need for their business, then assess each
department and role against the benchmark they have set. They can
then target activity such as restructuring, staff development and
talent management towards obtaining the right levels of

ACCA acting director of professional
development Tony Osude said the drive behind developing the tool
dates back to the mandatory CPD requirements introduced by the
International Federation of Accountants for professional
accountants in 2005.

“It became clear between 2005 and 2008 that
there was a need to help people make a greater connection between
the CPD activities they were undertaking, their career progression
and the immediate needs of their role,” he said.

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Therefore, in 2008, the ACCA surveyed its
members to find out what the precise issues were around CPD.

The first thing members were looking for was
“how do I get the biggest bang for my buck”.

Secondly, many members wanted a much more
structured approach to their planning in terms of combining both
short-term and long-term benefits.

Thirdly, they wanted better diary management;
finally, they wanted a link with career development.

“[ACCA COMPASS] is about helping them make the
link between development they do for their day-to-day role and also
development they need to go onto the next step, which may be up the
career ladder, but also about moving across into a different
service line or industry,” Osude explained.

There was a correlation between the less
planning someone did and the less they got in return for CPD.

“The more time you spend planning what you are
going to do by way of CPD, even for your short-term needs, the more
likely you are to get much more out of it. Certainly for the longer
term you need to plan very much ahead,” Osude said.

The benchmarks were set based on conversations
with employers and members, as well as information obtained from a
member training needs analysis the ACCA runs each year.

The institute also used consultants from UK
accountancy group Tenon and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

While the ACCA and the consultants set
benchmarks for specific service lines and industries, users can
customise these to match the nature of particular roles.

Osude said the product is the only one of its
kind that is tailored specifically to accountants.