The majority of professional accountancy bodies in the EU maintain a system of continuing professional development (CPD), according to a study by the European Federation of Accountants (Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens – FEE).
The practices of 39 accountancy bodies in 30 European countries were surveyed for the study.
The findings reveal that all the professional bodies surveyed invest significantly in lifelong learning. Thirty-seven maintain a CPD education system and two are in the process of establishing one with a view to making it mandatory.
FEE president Jacques Potdevin said: “At a time when business, technology and regulation change so swiftly, continuous professional education is a priority for every professional accountant who aims at delivering high quality to clients, employers and the broader stakeholders community. It is first and foremost an individual discipline that is legitimately expected from anyone holding a professional title that stands as a reference for expertise and independence.”
FEE said a large majority of the bodies already comply with the new EU Directive on Statutory Audit, to be implemented by member states before June 2008, and with the International Standards on Education No 7, issued by the International Federation of Accountants.
However, the study acknowledges that there is room for improvement in the monitoring of compliance with CPD requirements. FEE recommends developing appropriate and practical methods to demonstrate how relevant competence is enhanced and maintained.
FEE chief executive Olivier Boutellis-Taft said lifelong learning is an area where the accountancy profession leads by example. “The benefits resulting from the profession’s investment in this field are widely spread across society; it is a tangible contribution to Europe’s ambition to become the most competitive knowledge economy,” he said.