Sligo e-learning firm paves way for continuous learning

21 Aug 2007

A Sligo-based e-learning firm has developed a platform for accountants, bankers and finance professionals to meet their continuous professional development (CPD) and education obligations via the internet.

The company has so far attracted clients from as far away as the UK and Australia who wish to maintain and advance core finance and business skills.

Diarmuid O’Donovan, chief executive of said e-learning is proving vital to keeping professionals up to date.

“The ability of e-learning is to deliver results for the individual’s learning objective, provide the information required immediately, at a reasonable cost and without the need to travel.”

Using a fully standards-compliant Learning Management System, similar to the ones used by international organisations, large corporations and universities provides an extensive range of online finance courses and the proof of completion required for the professionals finance CPD records.

O’Donovan said that the practicalities of an ever changing business and regulatory environment requires individuals engaged in all sectors of industry, practice and public financial services sectors continually update their existing knowledge and gain expertise in new areas.

He added that the terminology used by different regulators and professional bodies varies. But whether it is called CPD, Continuing Professional Education (CPE) or Life Long Learning the reasons for the introduction mandatory CPD are the same- the financial professionals’ need for knowledge and the end-users’ need for confidence.

“With so many different regulators and professional bodies overseeing financial service professionals and services it is not only the title given to mandatory CPD schemes that vary,” O’Donovan explained.

“Other variables include the number of CPD hours sometimes referred to as CPD units, the definition of breakdown of the CPD requirement into verifiable and un-structured CPD and even what constitutes CPD.

For the accountancy profession, the International Federation of Accountants issued International Education Standard (IES) for Professional Accountants 7 to ensure that all 150-plus of its member bodies introduced CPD schemes of comparable standards.

IES 7 did not impose a one-size-fits-all approach to CPD, but provided the framework and principles upon which each body could devise their own unique scheme. When listed, the types of activities that could constitute CPD, IAS 7 specified that any “could be carried out using electronic means and e-learning opportunities”.

According to O’Donovan for the professional accountancy body of which he is a member, “ACCA learning activities may contribute to ACCA members’ CPD requirements unit scheme when the member can indicate how their participation helped them to maintain or develop business and/or financial knowledge and skills relevant to their individual role and career aspirations.

“Given that each members role and career aspirations are different for each learning activity they undergo, regardless of provider, ACCA members must decide on the relevance of that activity to them. Furthermore, to constitute verified CPD proof of participation in the activity must be maintained,” O’Donovan added.

By John Kennedy