Making your practice stronger with ICAEW’s BFP designation

For smaller practices, having staff with a professional status can help with skills shortages, succession planning and building client relationships

ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (BFP) is a non-chartered designation that provides employees with recognition from an international membership organisation. A great stepping stone towards chartered accountancy, it’s also a title in its own right and demonstrates that your staff meet ICAEW’s ethical and technical standards.

This article outlines everything you need to know about the designation and how you can offer it in your organisation.

Who is BFP suitable for?

BFP is a great option for professionals who work in a finance or business role, or any employees you believe would benefit from a professional status.

They might have accountancy or finance experience, but no relevant qualification; they might be part-qualified with other professional bodies such as AAT or ACCA; or they might be looking to validate their knowledge and keep up with their professional development.

Why offer BFP in your organisation?

Staff affiliated with a membership organisation such as ICAEW will enhance their credibility with your clients and give an added sense of assurance and quality to potential business partners. Bound by the ICAEW Code of Ethics, those with the BFP designation have a strong ethical understanding which enables them to gain your clients’ trust and build strong relationships with them.

Recognising your employees with the BFP designation can also help with recruitment and retention. By training or employing staff with BFP status, small practices can address any skills shortage within their business and retain talent by building a structured development path.

Additionally, one of the main benefits for firms is that they gain access to the ICAEW helplines. This means that they can receive specialist help on a wide range of topics including ethical, technical and legislative issues.

What are the benefits?

Once approved, professionals can use the BFP letters after their name to demonstrate their professionalism, skills and technical knowledge.

With the BFP status, professionals also show their commitment to continuous development and keeping their skills up to date, to keep up with business demands. Through their association with ICAEW, BFPs demonstrate their personal integrity and their ability to make ethical business decisions.

BFPs have access to a wide range of material, including resources from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the ICAEW Excel Community and frequent content on a technical specialism of their choice.

What are the requirements?

There are three requirements that need to be completed to gain the BFP designation:

1. ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB): Internationally recognised, ICAEW CFAB provides a strong grounding in business and finance.

A standalone qualification, it also makes up the Certificate Level of the ACA qualification. It covers six modules: Business, Technology and Finance; Management Information; Law; Assurance; Principles of Taxation; and Accounting.

There are no academic requirements to study the qualification. However, those with relevant degrees or equivalent non-ICAEW qualifications might be eligible for exemptions for up to five of the six exams.

2. The online ICAEW Ethics Learning Programme: This online programme, based on the ICAEW Code of Ethics, helps professionals get to grips with ICAEW’s ethical framework and practise how they would respond to an ethical situation.

3. Twelve months’ work experience in business and/or finance: Gained in the last three years prior to the application, the work experience needs to meet specific skills requirements and be signed off by an IFAC member who works/worked at the same employer as the applicant.

What is the application process?

For someone with no prior ICAEW qualifications, the first step is to register for ICAEW CFAB. ACA and ICAEW CFAB students or holders do not need to sign up again.

The next step is for your employees to apply online to start their journey towards the BFP designation. By registering, for free, to become a BFP student they gain access to their training file and to the Ethics Learning Programme.

Once they have completed all three requirements, they can apply for the designation online. Once they have received confirmation from ICAEW, they will need to pay a one-off registration fee and the annual fee.

Get in touch

If you would like to offer the BFP designation in your practice, use the details below to contact a dedicated member of the ICAEW Business Development team or visit our website.

Email bds@icaew.com or call +44 (0)1908 248 094

• Thanks to ICAEW for this article. Find out more at icaew.com/trainbfp

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