Search

IPD FAQs

Last update: 19 July 2021

These FAQs are compiled to support you in the completion of your application as part of the IPD pilot. We will continue to update these as new questions are raised throughout the pilot. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please email ipdpilot2021@aicpa-cima.com

IPD pilot general

What is Initial Professional Development (IPD)

IPD is a term used across many professions. It refers to the period where you learn to apply your knowledge in the workplace, gain experience, and develop the required skills and behaviours for your profession before qualification.

Why have you changed the name from PER to IPD?

We’ve updated the language we use to describe the process of gaining and assessing your work experience to reflect our new approach. Initial professional development (IPD) is a common term used across many professions and refers to the period where you learn to apply your knowledge in the workplace, gain experience and develop the required skills and behaviours for your profession prior to qualification.

We use the term here to emphasise our refocus of this assessment on the work experience (core activities) and professional skills and behaviours which are critical for CIMA membership and which will normally be developed in the early years of your career.

IPD also strengthens the link with the continuing professional development (CPD) you will undertake throughout your career and for which the process of managing and recording your IPD will prepare you well.

Why are you changing the membership process?

We’ve had feedback from students that the current membership process is very complicated and can be difficult to complete. We wanted to make the application process as simple as possibly whilst maintaining a high standard.

I've part completed under the old PER - can I continue with that?

Yes, it is your choice. However, you will not receive the discounted rate.

I’ve already started an application under the current system, can I join the pilot?

Yes, it is your choice. However, you will need to transfer any relevant information from your current application to the new form.  

I have part-completed under the existing requirements. Can I use what I have written up already?

You can adapt what you have drafted for the existing requirements but you must take care to ensure that the examples you have chosen and your write up meet the requirements and format of the new approach.  

My application was deferred under the existing PER approach, can I still join the pilot?

Yes. You need to assess whether the effort involved in providing the additional information required for your deferred application or drafting a new application is the best course of action for you.

I can’t attend a webcast; can I still be on the pilot?

Yes, we will send a recording of the webinars to all participants of the pilot.  

Will the pilot application give me CIMA membership?

Your application will be assessed in a similar way to the current PER process. If you meet the requirements you will be elected to membership 

What if I submit and my application isn't approved?

If any part of your application does not meet the requirements we will contact you to ask for more information, which you can resubmit.  

What if I don’t complete my application before the deadline?

We have set an application deadline so that we have time to refine the new process before it is rolled out for all students. If you have not completed before the deadline you will need to go back to using the current application form on the website or wait until the new process is available for all students.  

How long does it take once I have submitted my PER?

For the pilot it will take up to 8 weeks. We will communicate decisions as soon as possible and will keep you updated.

Why does it take longer on the pilot to get my application approved?

We need to carry out additional quality assurance checks and have additional reviews in place to ensure the new process meet the high standard required. We will get a decision to you as soon as possible and will communicate if the date can be brought forward.  

When will the new process be live for all students?

We will assess the success of the pilot and in Q4 2021 will announce the planned roll out date.

Are the current PER requirements being withdrawn?

Our intention is that the current PER requirements (updated and existing) will be phased out. The timeline for this will be determined by the outcomes of this pilot.

What if I change my mind about being on the pilot?

You would need to contact us so we can remove you from the pilot. We may contact you for feedback understand why you have withdrawn. You can apply for membership in the normal way with the relevant fee when you are ready.

Can I use the F2F session if I use the updated requirements?

For the pilot there are no face to face sessions

How will my involvement help the new process?

We will get feedback from you to help us make any improvements to the process for when it is rolled out to all students later in 2021.

Can I contact my local CIMA office for advice and support?

For the purposes of the pilot, a dedicated team is in place to ensure that you gain the answers you need quickly and all feedback is captured so please contact ipdpilot2021@aicpa-cima.com with all of your queries.

At what stage do I make payment for the membership application?

The discounted fee of £50 has been added to the accounts of everyone who has been accepted on the pilot. You can pay this fee through your MyCIMA account at any point before you submit your application.

Completing the Record of My Initial Professional Development form

Who is going to sign off my experience?

You will need to identify someone/some people to act as your IPD supervisor(s). Your IPD supervisor must be someone you have worked for in the past or are currently working for. They must have direct knowledge of your work – ideally your manager. You will need one or more IPD supervisors. The number you have will depend on how many you need to sign off your three years’ experience and all of your professional achievements.

Do I need to split my time across all of the functions/achievements set out in the assessment? Is there a minimum time to spend on each?

The only time requirement is to demonstrate three years' experience in a relevant role(s). There is no need to split this down any further.

How do I apportion time based on the tasks I do?

Apportioning time is no longer a requirement. You must record time in each role to demonstrate that the overall three years’ experience has been achieved but there is no need to apportion time to each professional achievement.

How do I allocate time to my experience?

You need only record the overall time (number of months FTE) in each of your roles. You do not need to break this down any further by allocating time to each of the professional achievements.

If I work for an accredited employer will there be a separate process for me to follow?

All students are required to complete the same process whether they work for accredited employers or not.

How long should my application be?

There is no upper limit for the application, however here is some guidance:

  • STAR templates- you should aim for 500-600 words for each of the core activities and skills and behaviours.
  • Company- you should aim for a word count of 250-300 words for the overview of each role and organisation.

For more details check the Guidance document

Will I be penalised if I go over the word count?

You won’t be penalised if you go a little (say 10%) over the word count during this pilot. However, the word count is provided to give you a steer on how much you should be writing and the pilot will be looking to check whether the word counts are appropriate and workable for all students so please make every effort to work within the word counts so we can test this out.

How to do a word count in the Word template?

Highlight the text within a box and you will see the word count on the bottom left of your screen. For mulitple boxes within each section add the word counts to get the total for the section.

How many STAR templates do I need to complete?

You will need to complete 8 in total - 3 core activities and 5 skills and behaviours.

Can I format text within my application form?

Yes, the easiest way to format your application (headers, bullets etc) is the write your text for a section in a Word document outside of the application form and format it as required. Then copy and paste the text into the application form box and the formatting will show on the application form.

I am on a training contract/programme and I have worked in several areas of the business. Who should act as my IPD supervisor and sign off - my mentor/development manager or my line manager in each of the areas I worked in?

You should choose the person who has had the most involvement and oversight of your work for the designated professional achievement. In this scenario, it may be that both have a similar level of involvement in your work and if so, you could choose either.

I have only had one manager so he/she will be signing off all of my experience. Do I need someone to act as a second signatory?

If your line manager covers all of your time in role and supervised all of your professional achievements, then it is fine to have only one person signing off.

How do I submit my membership application?

Save the word template as a PDF document and email your pilot application to ipdpilot2021@aicpa-cima.com .

Why do you only have a Word form for the pilot?

We want to test out our approach before our system development is finalised. By using a word form we can easily make changes if needed. We are, in parallel working on the digital solution and your feedback from this pilot will contribute to this.

Are there any example answers/responses?

We are working on this and will have more information coming soon.

Some of the documentation mentions the IPD cycle and how to work with my IPD supervisor to develop the required experience. Do I need to undertake those activities before I complete this assessment?

It is expected that anyone accepted for the pilot will already have the relevant experience and have only to concentrate in writing these up and having them verified by their IPD supervisor/employer. References to the IPD cycle and how to develop the required experience will be relevant to those students who don't yet have three years' experience and will support them and their IPD supervisor in identifying opportunities to develop the required professional achievements.

I am concerned about that I will need to provide sensitive and confidential information about my company. What should I do?

All submissions will be treated confidentially by CIMA and everyone involved in the assessment process. However, it is recognised that there is a balance to be struck in terms of company or client confidentiality and providing details of the specific examples you want to use. Talk to your IPD supervisor and agree the level of detail that you are both comfortable sharing. Make sure that you do provide enough detail so that you can fully respond to all prompt questions in the STAR template. Think about how you could anonymise clients, product or projects which might be commercially sensitive or how you could express the success of a project without disclosing sensitive financial information or other metrics.

The example I want to use is for a project that did not go forward due to matters out of my control. Can I still use it?

You can still use this but consider carefully whether this is the best example for you to use to complete the STAR template in full. For example, you may struggle to demonstrate the result/benefit to the business or impact of your actions if the project was cut short prematurely.

The example I want to use is for a project that has not yet concluded. Can I still use it?

You can still use this but consider carefully whether this is the best example for you to use to complete the STAR template in full. For example, you may struggle to demonstrate the result/benefit to the business or impact of your actions if the project has not yet concluded.

My colleague and I worked on the same project. Can we both use it as an example?

Yes, but you must ensure that you write up your experience separately and focus on your own actions.

I haven't worked on any projects so have no project examples to use. What can I use instead?

You can use examples from your day to day work for all the professional achievements. Look at the self-reflection questions and the example activities to identify how you are demonstrating the professional achievements in your day to day work/BAU.

Why do I only need to write up 3 out of 5 core activities and can I write more than 3 to ensure I pass?

Due to the range of roles that CIMA prospective members undertake, they may not all have the same experience during IPD. A small degree of choice and flexibility is built into the assessment to ensure that you can pick the three core work activities for which you will have the strongest examples to submit in your application. 

It is not recommended that you write up more than three core activities. Use your time instead to ensure that you choose the strongest example that you have and write them up as fully as you can.  

Why is there no choice on which skills and behaviours to write up?

The five skills and behaviours are critical to becoming a qualified CIMA member. The level to which these skills and behaviours will have been developed during the period of IPD is achievable by all students by the time they come to apply for membership.

Can I submit my application in a language other than English?

No, all applications must be submitted in English.

The example I want to use is not included in the CIMA list. Is that ok?

That is fine. The example activities listed for each professional achievement are indicative only. There are countless examples that could be used, and you will choose one based on your own experiences.

What will you be checking for with plagiarism software?

Plagiarism software will be used to assess the originality of assessments submitted and form one of the quality assurance that take place before you receive your results.

Do I have to show that I meet all the self-reflection questions and/or example activities for each of the professional achievements?

There is no need to cover all self-reflect on questions or example activities. They are provided as prompts to help you identify examples you can take from your own experience and use to write up each of the STAR templates required for each professional achievement.

Can I send a hard copy/paper version of my application?

For the pilot, we will only accept applications via email. Contact us if you are experiencing technical difficulties.

What format do I use to submit my application?

A Word template has been created for you to complete your application. Save as a PDF before you submit to CIMA.

Who should sign off my IPD? Eg more than 1 line manager; one line manager and a dotted line to another manager

IPD supervisors are required to make assurances to CIMA that you have met the requirements of the assessment with regard to time in role and achievement of the core work activities and skills and behaviours. To do this, IPD supervisors must have good oversight and understanding of your achievements and be comfortable and confident in making those assurances to CIMA using the IPD supervisor form.

In examples listed above either manager would be able to act as IPD supervisor – work with your managers to agree who would be most appropriate.

If your chosen IPD supervisor does not have sufficient oversight or knowledge of the examples you might be using for professional achievements then it is acceptable for you to use both, allocating individual achievements to the most appropriate manager. In this situation, it is suggested that you select one of your managers to sign off the time in role requirement (if applicable) and then each manager completes an IPD supervisor form (Appendix A) for the designated professional achievements.

Relevant experience

How far do I need to go back with my experience?

You only need to provide examples of three years' experience - you do not need to record your full employment history. You will likely find it easier to obtain sign off for experience and achievements acquired more recently and more recent experience is more likely to meet the updated requirements of the assessment.

What do I do if the company I worked for no longer exists?

You can still claim the experience. State in the section where you write up details of the role and organisation that the company no longer exists. If you are still in touch with your previous manager then you can contact them and ask them if they would be able to sign off. They do not currently need to be your line manager but can sign off the time in relevant role and the example activities you select if they had direct knowledge of your work at that time.

Can I use part time work?

Yes, but you must pro-rata the time based on a full time equivalent (FTE) role. For example, if you worked 2.5 days a week (which is 0.5 FTE), you would need 6 years of experience to be equivalent to 3 years full time.

I was on furlough - does that time count?

Time on furlough cannot count towards the three years.

I've been working remotely during the pandemic. Can I still us that experience?

Yes, if work has been done under the supervision of your IPD supervisor and he/she is able to sign it off.

Can I use an example from a training course or from studying?

No, all examples you use must be from your day job.

Do I have to work for an employer who is accredited by CIMA?

No, you can work for any employer so long as you have a relevant role in Finance.

I'm currently on a career break/parental leave etc. Can I apply?

Yes, as long as you have 3 years relevant experience. Leave such as parental leave cannot be counted towards the three years.

How do I record a career break?

Simply record the start and end dates in the relevant experience section of the form and state "career break" in the role field.

Can lecturing/academic experience count towards my experience?

Contact CIMA for details of our academic route to membership.   

Can an internship or work placement count?

Yes, if the role provided relevant experience as defined in the guidance and the employer can sign off the experience.

Do I have to work across all the finance functions defined in the relevant experience?

No, you need to have worked in one or more relevant role/s and be able to demonstrate the core activities and skills and behaviours in the STAR template.

I'm an apprentice, how do I record my experience?

As an apprentice you have a separate route to CIMA membership, for details please visit https://www.cimaglobal.com/Our-locations/UK/Apprenticeships/Epa/

Can I use examples from non-finance roles (for the skills and behaviours)?

All examples you use must be from your day job in finance. So you couldn’t, for example, use examples from a previous career in, say, retail, HR or IT before you started your finance career.

Do you have a list of job titles that meet the relevant experience requirements?

We don't provide a list of job titles as these can vary so much from organisation to organisation. Our guidance on relevant experience focusses on the areas and functions where you're likely to be working and the characteristics of the role you will be in. Reflecting on the professional achievements we ask you to demonstrate will also help you to ascertain that your role and the experience you're gaining is relevant.

I don't work in the finance department. Is my experience relevant?

We recognise that the shape and structure of organisations is changing and that many CIMA students and members will not be working within a traditional finance team, instead working within the business and embedded within project and cross-functional teams providing financial leadership and expertise. The assessment allows you to detail in the relevant experience section how you work as a finance professional within the business before going on to demonstrate how you have met the professional achievements. The professional achievements cover a broad range of finance roles.

Finance is only a part of my role. Can I claim pro-rata time?

Yes, if you work part time you can pro-rata the time so that you have the 3 years of relevant experience in your application.

I have another professional accounting qualification. Can I be exempt for some/all of the experience requirements?

No, you must complete this assessment and demonstrate that you meet CIMA's requirements for membership.

I've had several different roles - is that ok or do I need to have three years' experience in my most recent role?

You can submit one role or multiple role - the only requirement is that you record and have verified three years' experience

I want to use experience from 20 years ago. Is that ok?

There is no time limit on experience you submit. However, you will be required to have someone verify your experience and professional achievements so you should carefully consider whether you are still in contact with someone who can do that. It is also a risk that experience gained so long ago won't meet the current criteria, so you would therefore be better off on both counts selecting examples from your more recent experience.

How do I know if my experience is relevant?

You can be working in any industry or sector and size or type of organisation. You’re likely to be working in one of the following areas:

  • management accounting
  • finance business partnering
  • accounting
  • financial services
  • professional services and consulting
  • financial and management reporting
  • financial management
  • financial and business analysis
  • performance management
  • audit and assurance
  • risk management
  • taxation 

More guidance can be found here

Who can sign off my experience?

Your IPD supervisor should be a person you work closely with, has insight into the work you do and your performance and be able to support you in managing your IPD. You and your IPD supervisor both play an active role in ensuring that you gain the experience and professional achievements required for CIMA membership and will regularly review your progress together throughout your period of initial professional development.

Can I use experience from previous job roles?

Yes, you can use experience from any finance role that demonstrates the required core skills. However, you will need to ensure that your IPD supervisor which was relevant for that role is available to sign off this experience.

I have three years' experience, but I don't have examples to use for all the required professional achievements.

It is anticipated that most CIMA students who have been in a relevant role as described in the IPD guidelines for about three years will have the experience to meet the required professional achievements. It can sometimes be difficult to recognise your own achievements so work with your IPD supervisor to review the professional achievements, self-reflection questions and example activities and talk about examples you could use from your own experience. Remember that the example activities are just indicative and won't cover everyone's experience. If you and your IPD supervisor agree that you don't yet have enough experience in a specific area, then you can identify opportunities to gain that experience.

I have less than three years’ experience. Can I still be part of the pilot?

You must have achieved a minimum of three years' experience by the date you submit your application.

Can I use experience that I gained before registering with CIMA?

Yes, you can use experience from before you registered with CIMA and/or experience gained while and after sitting exams

Can I use the same example for more than one professional achievement?

It may be that one project or substantive piece of work can provide examples for more than one professional achievement. It would be permissible to use this across more than one professional achievement, but you must be careful to make sure that the write up of each STAR template is specific to the professional achievement being claimed. You must not cut and paste whole or part of responses for one STAR template to another. We would advise you to  question whether the specific examples strongly represents your professional achievements in more than one area and recommend using a different example if you can to showcase the range of experience you have and avoid any unintentional overlap.  

Do my three years' experience need to be consecutive/uninterrupted?

No, they don't need to be consecutive/uninterrupted

I have much more experience and it is at a more senior level than the example activities in the guidance. What do I do?

The core work activities and skills and behaviours that have been selected for the assessment are those which are fundamental and critical to the work of the chartered management accountant and applicable across the range of finance areas where CIMA members work. You start to develop these from day one in a finance role and continue to demonstrate and improve these for many years, even after becoming a CIMA member.

The language used to express the professional achievements has been carefully chosen to reflect the threshold for professional competence in these areas (that is, the minimum standard you need to reach) in order to help CIMA students reflect and recognise how they are developing and achieving these from very early on in their career. We wanted to make the professional achievement requirements applicable and accessible to all, recognising that by this stage in your career you may not have had the opportunity to take on a leadership or management role or to be involved in developing strategy, for example.  

However, if you have had more experience or have a more senior role at the time you are applying then this should simply mean that you have more examples to draw upon for each of the professional achievements. You may chose to draw on an example from an earlier stage in your career or choose a more recent example from your most senior role(s) which demonstrates how you have developed the selected professional achievement beyond the threshold required. For example, the guidance around the leadership professional achievement does not expect that all applicants will have people management responsibilities or experience developing or leading strategy or projects at the point of completing the application, but if you do have experience in these areas then you can certainly use these in the examples you write up in the STAR template.

IPD supervisor

Is there any guidance/information for IPD supervisors?

Guidance specifically for IPD supervisors will be available soon

How many IPD supervisors do I need?

The number of IPD supervisors you need will depend on your employment history and which roles you will be using to demonstrate three years in a Finance role and each of the professional achievements. The minimum required is one IPD supervisor. The following table provides some illustrative scenarios of how many IPD supervisors would be needed and what aspects of the application each would sign off.

Find examples here

I no longer manage this person. Can I still sign off?

You can sign off the period when you managed and oversaw the work of the applicant if this is being used to claim the three years' relevant experience and/or if the applicant is using any examples from the time you oversaw his/her work to claim professional achievements.

I am not CIMA qualified or a qualified accountant. Can I still sign off?

Yes, you do not need to be CIMA qualified or a qualified accountant, but you must have direct knowledge of the applicant’s work and have been in a more senior position to the applicant.

I am no longer working at the same company as the applicant. Can I still sign off?

Yes, you can still sign off experience and examples from the time when you worked at the same company and directly supervised the applicant's work. Include your current employment and contact details in the form and state under "relationship to candidate" that you were a previous line manager at X company.

I am not the applicant's line manager. Can I still sign off?

The line manager will normally be best placed to sign off experience. However, anyone who is in a more senior position to the applicant and who has oversight of the applicant's work and contribution to the business can sign off. You will need to include details of your relationship to the applicant on the form.

I am the sole IPD supervisor for the full application. Is that ok or does the student need to find a second verifier?

If you can verify the required three years' experience and all eight professional achievements (3 core activities and 5 skills and behaviours) then it is fine to have only one person signing off.

What happens if one of my managers no longer works for the company?

If you are still in touch with your previous manager then you can contact them and ask them if they would be able to sign off. They do not currently need to be your line manager but can sign off the time in relevant role and the example activities you select if they had direct knowledge of your work at that time.

Who else, other than my line manager can sign off my experience?

Your line manager will normally be best placed to sign off your experience. However, anyone who is in a more senior position to you and who has oversight of your work and contribution to the business can sign off. He/she will need to include details of their relationship to you on the form.

I am self-employed, who can sign off my experience?

You must find someone who can verify that you have the required three years' experience.   The following may be able to verify your role/company and that you have been working in finance for at least three years:

  • Longstanding client/s
  • An external accountant to your company and/or
  • Your business bank manager 

In terms of the professional achievements, a client, for example, may have enough oversight of your work to sign off your completed STAR templates for work you have undertaken for them. If you have previous experience working for another organisation and are still in contact with your previous line manager then you can use examples from that role. If not, CIMA will assign an assessor to review and approve your example activity STAR templates.

I don't recall the particular example the applicant is using, or my recollection is different. What should I do?

Discuss the example with the applicant and provide feedback which will allow the candidate to either rework the example so that you are confident in signing off or assist them to find an alternative.

I didn't supervise the applicant for this example. What should I do?

If you do not have direct knowledge of the applicant work being used for the example, then you cannot sign off. Work with the applicant to either find an alternative example that you can sign off or identify someone who directly supervised the work and can act as IPD supervisor for the professional achievement.

Can I give feedback to the applicant to help improve the write up?

Yes, you can give feedback to support and coach the applicant in identifying good examples and improving draft responses to the prompt questions in the template. 

I don't think the example chosen by the applicant meets the selected professional achievement, what should I do?

A small number of example activities that could be used to evidence a particular professional achievement are provided in the guidance However, these are not exhaustive and applicants' own examples will of course be specific to their own experiences. Use the self-reflection questions in the guidance documents and discuss the example with the applicant to provide feedback which will allow the candidate to either rework the example so that you are confident in signing off or assist them to find an alternative.

What criteria should I use to sign off the submission?

Guidance on how to assess the application can be found here << IPD supervisor guidance document>>

I don't think the write up meets one or more the points under "achieved". Can I still sign off?

You cannot approve if you judge that write up does not meet all the "achieved" criteria.  Feedback to the applicant on what is missing or needs to be strengthened to aid them in redrafting before resubmitting to you.

I am related to the applicant. Can I still be the IPD supervisor?

You cannot act as IPD supervisor if you are related to the applicant.

I am concerned that the applicant is including confidential information in the application. What do I do?

Work with the applicant to agree a level of detail that gives enough information about the particular example but maintains company and client confidentiality, for example by anonymising client or product names. The write up will focus on the applicant's own experience and contributions in response to the prompt questions in the STAR template as such do not require attaching or replicating company-sensitive documents.