Why is CPD training essential for finance officers?

Why is CPD training essential for finance officers?

14 May 2024

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Finance officers can be an integral part of an organisation, providing specific financial expertise that is often essential for the growth and success of an organisation. In this article, we will discuss what defines the role of a financial officer, identifying some of the key skills required and why CPD training is so valuable for finance officers.

What does a finance officer do?

Finance officers are responsible for financial management, strategic planning, safeguarding of funds and analysis of cashflow. The Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of an organisation will usually ensure sustainable financial practices are maintained, as well as highlighting any financial deficiencies, and providing strategic solutions.

An effective financial officer provides numerous benefits to an organisation and plays an integral role in managing growth and development. Finance officers keep track of the money a business makes and spends. They are also responsible for an organisation’s taxation, including allocating funds for future tax bills. Managing these aspects of a business are essential for compliance, growth, and overall success. A proficient finance officer can also make an impact through iterative analysis of financial activity, and subsequently implementing corrective actions to help an organisation consolidate its strengths and mitigate its weaknesses.

Key skills and Expertise for finance officers

The role of a finance officer requires a reliable financial knowledge base, but also versatility and other wider professional abilities. As well as fundamental capabilities specific to finance, important skills may also include an acute attention to detail, a developed understanding of business operations, refined critical and creative thinking. Here are some key skills a financial officer should be continuously developing:

Financial analysis

The core function of a finance officer is the analysis of an organisation’s financial records and projections. It is integral to be able to analyse an organisation’s cashflow statement, balance sheet and income statement, and provide valuable insight. Finance officers are also required to be able to analyse financial information that may be specific to an organisation or industry.

Financial analysis is a skill finance officers should be constantly improving. The responsibility of an organisation’s financial outlook can determine the overall success of an organisation. Rigorous financial analysis can be a critical process in highlighting any potential problems or opportunities an organisation may encounter.

Financial strategy

As well as an ability to analyse an organisation’s finances, a finance officer is also required to provide strategic insights and solutions. An understanding of financial strategy can also improve a finance officer’s ability to analysis. Financial strategy focuses on both an organisation’s previous financial activity, as well as future outcomes. To provide valuable financial insight, professionals need to be aware of the current market and maintain a modern and relevant understanding of financial strategy. It is therefore important for finance officers to continually develop their strategic thinking and knowledge through an ongoing process of learning.

Presentation

Further to providing financial insights, a finance officer may also be required to present their findings in a legible and easy-to-understand way. Presentation of financial analysis and strategies can take many forms, and implementing this effectively should be recognised as a key skill for finance officers.

Financial data can be confusing for non-finance professionals. The ability to present this data in a format that communicates the key points a financial officer is trying to make can be a defining factor in their ability to be efficient and influence decisions in an organisation.

Taxation

Taxation is another important aspect of a finance officer's job. A deep understanding of taxation and financial compliance is crucial for overall organisation operations. It is also important to make sure that the organisation has enough capital to pay their tax bills when required.

Taxation legislation is idiosyncratic and constantly changing. Financial officers require a thorough understanding of current taxation rules and requirements, which should be consistently updated through professional education and learning.

Industry knowledge

As well as finance-specific skills, finance officers should also have a comprehensive understanding of the industry their organisation is operating in. Financial strategies, business structures and operating standards can vary across industries. A finance officer with a detailed knowledge of their current industry trends and developments can provide exponential value to an organisation.

Finance officers should be able to contribute valuable insight to an organisation through a specialised and up to date understanding of money, financial legislation and business practices.

CPD helps finance officers develop new skills

The importance of CPD for financial officers

Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, defines the learning activities professionals engage in to improve their knowledge and refine their skills throughout their career. Participating in CPD displays a commitment to lifelong learning and can provide value for professionals and the organisation they are employed by.

Financial officers require a varied skillset, and it is important for them to maintain and improve these skills throughout their career. CPD can help finance officers consolidate relevant skills, as well as develop new skills that can increase their overall proficiency. CPD is also an effective means to learn up-to-date trends and emerging technologies, which form the basis for a successful organisation financial strategy.

The professional bodies in UK for finance officers depends largely on their jurisdiction and specificities of their role. For example, some finance officers may be tasked with an organisation’s accounting. In this case, a finance officer may be required to undertake CPD by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), which varies depending on the accountant’s category, and The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), which requires professionals to complete an appropriate and relevant amount of CPD as an ongoing expectation of membership.

Other relevant bodies for finance officers in UK include the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) and the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professional (CIPP), all of whom require their members to complete CPD.

What are the benefits of CPD training for finance officers?

Finance officers who actively engage with CPD can receive a variety of benefits. As well as staying up to date with trends and technologies, financial officers may be able to develop professionally and gain advantages in their role. Some key benefits for finance officers who participate in CPD include:

Increased proficiency as a financial officer

Participating in CPD can close skill gaps and help to increase the ability of an individual. Increased proficiency leads to higher levels of productivity and improve the probability of success for an organisation.

Career advancement

Finance officers may be able to advance their career through engaging with relevant CPD training. Developing skills and knowledge can help improve a professional’s position within their organisation, or even increase job prospects and widen their scope of employment.

Continuous improvement

CPD is a dedication to lifelong learning. When a financial officer participates in CPD regularly, it breeds a culture of ongoing development and improvement. This can positively affect an organisation by encouraging members to continuously develop their skills and knowledge.

Develop wider skills

CPD also benefits more broadly in that it aids development of wider transferable skills. This could include fundamental skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork.

Cost Effective

CPD learning can also be a cost-effective option for financial officers and their organisations. It is often especially beneficial for smaller organisations who cannot afford to invest in expensive, bespoke training programmes. There is more reading on the benefits of CPD for small businesses in our previous article here.

Where can I find CPD for finance officers?

The CPD Certification Service works with a wide range of providers offering accredited CPD learning which may be beneficial to finance professionals looking to develop their skills and knowledge. Accredited CPD can provide reassurance as all learning materials have been reviewed and recognised for meeting the required industry standards.

There are many suitable finance courses and events. Finance officers may also want to engage with wider CPD learning in various forms. As well as structured approaches to CPD, finance officers can also participate in reflective and informal CPD, which can include books, publications, podcasts and journals.

Within the CPD Courses Catalogue, there are a range of specific courses for finance professionals, as well as other beneficial CPD learning. To find out more about a particular CPD course listed on our website, complete an enquiry form and the details will be sent directly to the relevant CPD provider. If you are interested in learning about finance CPD, you can find more information here.

How to become an accredited CPD Provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses, seminars, conferences, workshops, eLearning or educational events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please visit the Become a CPD Provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing Continuing Professional Development, as well as store your personal training record and CPD attendance certificates in one simple place, please visit the myCPD Portal page.

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For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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