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Bespoke CPD Sessions in Two Accountancy Hot Topics

Bespoke CPD sessions

Sustainability standards and digital technologies are at the forefront of changes shaping the finance sector and are reforming the way accountancy professionals operate, making it important for all accountants and finance professionals to stay abreast of rapid developments.

At First Intuition, our client British Sugar approached us saying these were the two emerging topics having the most impact on their business and asked if we could offer a CPD session on them. As a result, First Intuition delivered a bespoke continued professional development (CPD) session on sustainability standards and digital technologies in accounting, that was tailored to the client’s needs. Including key updates and information to keep British Sugar informed and up to date.

The session was a great success and demonstrated the type of bespoke programmes First Intuition can offer to employers that are tailored both by topic and content.

Jenny Whittaker, Financial Controller at British Sugar said,

“We were thrilled to have First Intuition join us at British Sugar to provide an update for the finance team on upcoming Sustainability IFRS and digital finance training.”

This article outlines the relevance of sustainability reporting and digital technologies to accountants, their significance as CPD topics for finance employers and professionals, and the type of content covered in First Intuition’s bespoke sessions.

Sustainability reporting under the International Financial Reporting Standard’s (IFRS) International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)

Sustainability reporting is increasing in importance for businesses as sustainability becomes progressively interconnected with financial performance. Therefore, accountants must understand the evolving standards and regulations governing sustainability reporting. The IFRS has shaped sustainability reporting frameworks under the ISSB’s Sustainability Standards, whose mandate is the creation and development of sustainability-related financial reporting standards to meet investor’s needs for sustainability reporting.

For accountants, familiarity with these standards is essential for accurate and comprehensive reporting and aligning financial statements with sustainability objectives. With the possibility of the implementation of mandatory sustainable reporting for businesses, the need for proficiency is needed more than ever.

During First Intuition’s bespoke employer session, important updates around sustainability reporting included delving into disclosure requirements and implications for financial reporting. These were tailored specifically to what was relevant to British Sugar and the areas they required information. Furthermore, the session covered the disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably be expected to affect cash flows, as well as the access to finance or cost of capital over the short, medium and long term​. Incorporating physical risks, transition risks, and opportunities.

Digital Transformation in Accounting

Simultaneously, the accounting profession is undergoing a digital revolution, driven by technological advancements and automation. Automation is fast becoming the foundation of digital technologies in finance, streamlining routine tasks and allowing accountants to focus on higher-value activities. Understanding automation principles, including AI and generative AI, and keeping up to date with ever-evolving technologies and programmes in the finance sphere ensures professionals are equipped with the tools to use technology effectively.

First Intuition’s Digital Finance Essentials course encompasses a wide array of these technological elements, ranging from automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to data security and change management. In the bespoke session, First Intuition introduced digital technologies in finance covering key trends in jobs, risks including data security, an overview of automation and AI and use cases in accounting, and advice on managing the emotional cycle of change that we experience when we try new technologies. As well as tips for navigating automation, AI, data security consideration, and understanding the impact of these on accounting practices.

The Importance of CPD

CPD is essential for finance professionals to stay abreast of industry changes that are shaping modern accounting practices. Sustainability reporting and digital transition are two topics becoming integral within this. By prioritising CPD accountancy professionals can stay ahead of the curve and drive organisational success.

Jenny Whittaker, Financial Controller at British Sugar shares,

“We have ambitious strategic goals across all areas of our business including decarbonisation and digital transformation, so these topics were extremely relevant for our finance team. The number of recent changes in technology can unlock efficiencies for our team and across the business to allow us to spend more time on strategic priorities so it’s really key as a function we stay up to date.”

Tim Howes, Client Director at First Intuition who delivered the session, comments on the value of CPD.

“In a rapidly changing world of conscience and technology, CPD is becoming ever more important to ensure continued competence, relevance and trust in the profession. FI’s unique ability to offer flexed and bespoke insights working closely with our clients means that we are well placed to help in the delivery of the key updates required to keep ahead of a steep curve of change.”

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