Continuing Professional Education

Extract from the Malta Institute of Accountants CPE Regulations Effective as from January 2017

Minimum CPE requirements
1. The CPE Regulations identify Core competency areas and Professional Development competency areas, which Members are required to satisfy in order to achieve the desired level of professional competence.

2. On an annual basis Members shall obtain at least:
Twenty-five (25) hours of structured CPE
Fifteen (15) hours of unstructured CPE

3. At least ten (10) hours of structured CPE must be carried out in those areas qualifying as Core competencies.

4. .The balance of fifteen (15) hours of structured CPE must be carried out in those areas qualifying as either Core or Professional Development competencies. The Institute is a firm believer in a holistic approach to CPE. It recommends Members to undertake training on Professional Development competencies, which training will vary depending on the exigencies of one’s roles and responsibilities.

5. The number of hours credited towards the 25 hours requirement will be calculated on an hourto-hour basis. For activities that fall under paragraph 7.2, only the lecturing time can be claimed as structured CPE; thus registration time and any break times are to be deducted.

Structured CPE

1. For an activity to qualify as structured CPE it needs to meet the following three criteria:
Relevance: The CPE undertaken has to be relevant to the individual’s circumstances and to the exercise of the profession and increase his or her professional competence;
Measurability: a defined number of hours (CPE units) can be attributed to the activity; and
Verifiability: the learning can be objectively verified by a competent source.
If any of these three criteria is missing the activity will fall under Unstructured CPE.
Activities that qualify as Structured CPE are included in the following paragraphs.

2. Courses, conferences, seminars and organised technical discussion meetings provided by:
(a) The Malta Institute of Accountants;
(b) Other professional associations;
(c) In-house within firms or companies;
(d) Independent providers of such activities; and
(e) The University of Malta.

Independent providers of courses, conferences and seminars normally seek accreditation for an event to qualify as structured CPE from the Accountancy Board, following the Board’s CPE Accreditation Rules which are the subject of a separate publication. However, the fact that accreditation is not sought by the course provider would not disqualify an event from being regarded as structured. If an activity is relevant, measurable and verifiable, a Member may still claim the hours spent on that activity as structured CPE.

External quality reviews imposed on a Member by the Accountancy Board following a QAU inspection visit cannot be claimed as structured CPE.

3. Participation on technical committees or panels set up by the Malta Institute of Accountants or other professional associations, the Accountancy Board, accounting and audit firms or governmental entities but only if:

(a) The committee or panel can demonstrate a tangible output, such as a new standard, technical release or other form of guidance, as a result of its work; and

(b) The Member can demonstrate that he or she has contributed to that tangible output.
Participation on committees which fail to meet the above criteria will fall under unstructured CPE.

4. Web-based learning activities only if:

(a) The activity is measurable. Normally, web-based activities would have an assigned amount of hours however, when this is not the case, the Member shall reasonably assess the amount of time spent on such activities; and

(b) The activity is verifiable, that is a certificate of completion is issued upon completion of the online activity.

Web-based learning activities that do not meet all of the above criteria qualify as unstructured CPE.

5. Time spent on lecture preparation and lecturing only if:

(a) The Member is providing such an activity upon his employer’s, the Institute’s, or the market’s demand and the subject is relevant to the lecturer’s work;

(b) The knowledge gained increases the lecturer’s technical or professional competence and achieves the objectives of that form of CPE identified in Section 3 of this document;

(c) The lecture must be supplemented with some form of study material such as notes and/or presentations.

A Member may claim up to a maximum of thirteen (13) hours of structured CPE spent on lecture preparation and lecturing. Repeat lecturing of the same course cannot be classified as structured CPE. One-to-one lectures fall under unstructured CPE.

6. Reading for a relevant post-tertiary course only if the level and depth of knowledge involved increases his or her technical or professional competence and achieves the objectives of CPE identified in Section 3 of this document.

Unstructured CPE
1. Self-managed activities of an informal nature which are relevant, can be measurable but cannot be verified. These include:
(a) Individual research including: viewing of videos, television programmes and audio recordings
(b) Reading technical and professional journals, the financial and business press and accessing relevant websites;
(c) Activities that fall under paragraphs 7.2 – 7.6 but do not fulfil the criteria to qualify as structured CPE.

Entitlement to an Exemption from CPE and Monitoring of Exemptions
1. The Institute recognises circumstances where Members are unable to fulfil their CPE requirements. The following circumstances entitle the Member to an exemption from CPE: maternity leave, serious illness, pursuing full-time study, not in employment (neither gainfully employed nor self-employed) and working in a non-accountancy related position (not doing any accountancy related work).

2. Members who are on maternity leave are entitled to a reduction of 9 hours in their structured CPE requirements in the year of confinement. The 9 hour CPE exemption can be taken pro-rata over two years if maternity leave extends from one year to the next.

3. For the other reasons, the Member is exempted in whole or in part from any requirement to undertake CPE depending on the period during which the Member was out of the profession. In the case where a Member was out of the profession for part of the year, a partial exemption applies. In such case, CPE requirements should be calculated on a pro-rata basis by taking into account the months out of the profession and deduct them from the mandatory requirements. This applies for the total hours and the Core competency hours.

4. Members are required to self-assess the circumstances giving rise to the CPE exemption and decide whether such circumstances are a valid reason for an exemption. Members are also required to self-assess the number of hours of entitlement to a CPE exemption based on the above.

5. Members are required to declare their entitlement to a CPE exemption and the reasons thereof at year-end in their CPE return.

6. The Institute will carry out audits of CPE exemption declarations to verify the relevance and validity of the exemption. Thus, in all cases, Members should keep documentary evidence in support of the exemption in order to present it to the Institute, when requested. Members are required to keep this documentary evidence for a five-year period as this may be required as part of the Institute’s monitoring process.

Re-entry into the profession following CPE Exemption and Monitoring of Re-entry
1. When a Member’s circumstance changes such as he/she will no longer be entitled for an exemption, it is the onus of the Member to undertake action to satisfy the requirements for reentry into the profession, as set out below.

The Re-entry into the profession regulations came into force in 2012. The diagram below highlights the respective actions required to re-enter back into the profession. For transitional arrangement purposes year 1 is 2012.

1 Calculation of pro-rata hours – take into account the months in which you were not exercising the profession during the year. Example: – Re-entered the profession on 15 April, therefore 3.5 months out of the profession
-Minimum hours per year: 25 hours (10 Core)
– 25 – (3.5 / 12 x 25) amounting to 18 hours (40% of which must be Core)
-Therefore the pro-rata hours for the year are 18 (7 of which must be Core)

2. Members who were exempt from CPE requirements for a period of up to 2 years can re-enter the profession and start practising immediately.

3. Members who were exempt from CPE requirements for a period between two and five years are required to go through a catch-up phase on CPE by undertaking the required number of CPE hours. The catch-up depends on the number of years in which the Member was out of practice, as follows: a catch-up of 38 hours for those exempted between 2 to 3 years, 50 hours for those exempted between 3 to 4 years and 62 hours for those exempted between 4 to 5 years. Half of the required hours need to be completed before re-entering the profession.
Any hours spent on CPE activities during the period of a CPE exemption will be reduced from the number of CPE catch-up hours required to re-enter the profession.

4. Members who were exempt from CPE requirements for five years or more are required to complete a refresher course prior to re-entry as stated below:

A Member is required to attend the related final study units over two semesters in two out of four of the following subjects offered to professional-level accountancy students by the University of Malta or equivalent courses as approved by the Institute:

• Financial Accounting;
• Taxation;
• Management Accounting;
• Auditing.

Note: should the Member wish to practise in the field of auditing, attendance to the auditing seminars is mandatory.

Members are required to attend at least 80% of the study units in the two subjects chosen (attendance at tutorials, if any, is optional).

5. Members are required to inform the Institute of their re-entry into the profession at year end in their annual CPE return.

6. The Institute will carry out audits to verify whether the Member who re-entered the profession met the requirements for re-entry into the profession prior to and/or following re-entry. Members who re-enter the profession are therefore required to keep records and evidence of action undertaken to satisfy the requirements for re-entry into the profession. Members are required to keep records and documentary evidence for a five-year period as this may be required as part of the Institute’s monitoring process.

The full CPE Regulations can be downloaded from :-
http://www.miamalta.org/Page.aspx?pageid=82

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