Continuing Professional Education (CPE) refers to learning activities that develop and maintain capabilities to enable members to perform competently within their professional environment. The commitment to lifelong learning through the undertaking of CPE is necessary, in the public interest, to provide high quality services to meet the needs of clients, employers and other stakeholders.
The general rule for acceptable CPE activities is that they should be relevant to the work of the member concerned. These learning activities should help in your career development or improve efficiency in your current role.
Members have the flexibility to plan and choose CPE activities according to their individual needs and circumstances. The CPE activities are not limited to classroom-based lessons and can include online learning, attending seminars, conferences or workshops, or reading of professional journals and articles.
To ensure that the Institute continues to uphold professional and ethical standards required of the profession, all ISCA members except for Members-in-retirement (MIR) will need to fulfil certain CPE requirements. Please refer to CPE Requirements for more information.
Please refer to the table below for the CPE requirements applicable to each membership category.
Membership Category CPE requirements
Affiliate (ISCA)/ AAT (Singapore)
(With effect from 1 January 2017)
- At least 30 CPE hours over a rolling three-year period, of which 15 hours must be verifiable
- A minimum of 5 verifiable hours, including 2 verifiable hours of ethics, must be completed each year
(With effect from 1 January 2017)
- At least 60 CPE hours over a rolling three-year period, of which 30 hours must be verifiable
- A minimum of 10 verifiable hours, including 2 verifiable hours of ethics, must be completed each year
CA (Singapore) or FCA (Singapore)
- At least 120 CPE hours over a rolling three-year period, of which 60 hours must be verifiable
- A minimum of 20 verifiable hours, including 2 verifiable hours of ethics, must be completed each year
CA (Singapore) or FCA (Singapore) who is a public accountant
- Same CA (Singapore) or FCA (Singapore) as above
- Compliance with ACRA's CPE requirements in respect of the application or renewal of the certificate for registration as public accountants.
- On voluntary basis
The general guidelines for courses to be recognised as CPE activities are that they should:
- have a clear set of learning objectives,
- contribute to developing or maintaining member's professional competency, and
- relevant to the member’s work.
There is no requirement that CPE activities have to be accounting-related. Hence, members who have moved on to other professions are required to maintain their professional competency by attending courses that are relevant to their current work. Members who have relocated overseas are also expected to attend courses in their respective locations or attend online courses.
Verifiable learning refers to activities that could be objectively verified by a competent source. There should be evidences of participation to support member’s completion of the activity (e.g. certificates, receipts, attendance lists, minutes of meetings, employers' or lecturers' letter of certification).
On the other hand, non-verifiable learning refers to activities that do not have any evidence to corroborate the hours to be claimed. This could include non-formal activities such as reading of technical, professional, financial or business literature, self study and research.
The Institute previously categorised hours into structured and unstructured CPE. Now, CPE hours are based on verifiable and non-verifiable hours. What are the differences between these two concepts?
To some extent, verifiable and structured activities are quite similar.
A verifiable activity means that the activity can be objectively verified by a competent source, ie with supporting documentary evidence. Structured activity usually consists of either an interactive or an assessment component.
For example, participation in a course or seminar can generally be considered as both verifiable and structured CPE as it can be verified with documentary evidence and is most likely interactive or consists of an assessment component. Hence, a structured activity is, in most cases, also a verifiable CPE activity.
The difference between verifiable and structured can be seen in some examples of an e-Learning programme. Some e-Learning programmes might not have an assessment component. As such, they cannot be considered as a structured activity. However, they can be verified with documents such as confirmation of registration and completion by the provider.
No, you are not allowed to do so.
As the objective of CPE is to develop and maintain member’s professional competency, this is achieved through the undertaking of relevant CPE activities on a regular basis. Hence, you would still need to meet the minimum CPE requirements on an annual/ triennium basis.
There are 2 type of non-compliance. The first type is where hours are denied during the audit and a deficiency results. In such a situation, the member will be given a grace period of 6 months to comply. The member must provide a written explanation as to the reason(s) for non-compliance including his/her current situation and plans to remedy the shortfall. After the extension period, the portfolio will be audited again. If the member is still non-compliant after the second audit, it may result in non-renewal of membership.
The second type of non-compliance is where there are concerns about false declaration. For such cases, a report might be lodged to the Council/Investigation Committee on the grounds of professional misconduct. This may result in non-renewal of membership.
Members have the flexibility to plan and choose their CPE activities according to their individual needs and circumstances. However, it is a mandatory requirement to fulfil at least 2 verifiable hours of ethics courses every year.
Members who want to apply to be a public accountant and public accountants who want to renew their certificate of registration will have to comply with ACRA's CPE requirement.
Below are the definitions of the CPE competency categories:
• Category 1: Financial Reporting Standards and Pronouncements
• Category 2: Ethics and Professionalism
• Category 3: Auditing Standards, Pronouncements and Methodology
• Category 4: Insolvency and Restructuring.
If the course does not fall into any of the four categories, you may select ‘Others’.
The fulfilment of CPE hours in the various categories applies only to CA (Singapore) who are public accountants, for compliance with the requirements set by ACRA for renewal or registration as public accountants.
For members who are not registered/registering as public accountants, there is no requirement on the types of CPE activities that are mandatory, except for the minimum 2 ‘verifiable’ hours of ethics for each CPE year. As such, if you are updating your CPE records in the ISCA eServices portal, you can select “Not applicable” for your CPE activities.
The Institute accepts a wide range of topics as ethics-related and the generally acceptable topics include anti-bribery/anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, company’s code of ethics/ code of conduct etc. We leave it to members’ discretion to substantiate what courses covers the ethics component.
If there are no such options available to you, the Institute also provides a wide range of ethics courses at http://cpe.isca.org.sg/.
Yes. If you have not been able to fulfill the CPE requirements due to reasons such as medical conditions, unemployment, full time homemaker, career break and retirement, you may wish to seek for CPE exemption. A waiver may be considered if the member has not carried out work of any professional/business nature (whether paid or unpaid) for the full CPE year under request. In other situations, a reduction in CPE hours may be applicable. To enquire on your eligibility for CPE exemption, you may write in to us at email@example.com.
Otherwise, for members who have not been able to comply due to reasons such as busy work commitment, the Institute will provide a six-month grace period to members to make up for the shortfall in CPE hours by 30 June of the subsequent year. Members who wish to have additional time to fulfill the shortfall are required to write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, stating the reason(s) for extension and plans for remedy.
I am unsure if I have fulfilled ISCA’s prescribed CPE requirements since I did not attend any CPE courses or training. How do I do my CPE declaration during membership renewal?
There are various verifiable learning activities that members can claim for CPE hours, and this include beyond training. In general, CPE activities include those that are relevant to the work areas, development and maintenance of a member’s professional competence. For example, CPE hours may be claimed for your time spent on preparing and discussing technical matters at board meetings or audit committee meetings.
Attendance at external training or courses is also one of the verifiable learning activities. Some examples that constitute CPE hours include:
- Attending seminars, talks or workshops
- Attending in-house training provided by your employer
- Attending online programmes or e-learning
- Studying for an MBA or other post-qualification programmes
- Preparing and sitting for professional examinations
- Writing technical articles, papers and books
- Coaching or mentoring
Evidence of participation for these activities can be in the form of certificates, receipts, attendance lists, minutes of meetings, employers' or lecturers' letter of certification.
You will need to indicate your CPE compliance status when you renew your membership on the Members’ Portal or in the renewal form. If you have not been able to fulfill the CPE requirements, please indicate so and you will be given a six-month grace period till 30 June of the renewal year to make up for the shortfall.
Yes, members are required to keep a record of their own CPE activities. This can be done following the format set out here.
Members can also record their CPE activites and view the CPE history online at the ISCA eServices Portal. After you have logged in, click on “CPE records” on the left menu to view and edit your CPE records.
For more information on your account login, please refer to the FAQ at http://isca.org.sg/member-services/faqs.
Kindly note that the “CPE Category” field is only applicable for public accountants. If you are not a public accountant, you may indicate “Others” or “NA” as the CPE category. For information purposes, Below are the definitions of the different categories:
- Category 1: Financial Reporting Standards and Pronouncements
- Category 2: Ethics and Professionalism
- Category 3: Auditing Standards, Pronouncements and Methodology
- Category 4: Insolvency and Restructuring.
The Institute strongly urge members to take personal responsibility by attending and updating our CPE activities on a regular and timely basis.
Only members who have been selected for the annual CPE audit need to submit the evidence of participation for their verifiable CPE activities.
For courses, seminars, workshops or conferences organised by the Institute, certificates or letters of attendance will be issued to participants. The number of CPE hours granted is clearly stated on each certificate/letter. Members are required to retain the certificates/letters and present them if they are selected for the audit.
For courses not organised by the Institute, the following examples represent evidence that could be used for verification:
- Confirmation of participation by a provider, organiser, instructor, employer, mentor or tutor
- Confirmation of registration or invoice for payment of course fee
- Agenda or meeting minutes for participation in technical committees
- Transcript, examination result slips
- Publication of a professional article or a research project
Kindly note that the number of hours claimed has to be properly substantiated in any evidence presented. Only the actual hours participated in the relevant CPE activity is claimable.
If hours are denied during the audit and a deficiency results, an extension of up to six-month may be granted for the member to comply. After the extension period, the portfolio will be audited again. If a portfolio is deemed to be ‘Non-compliant’ after the second audit, it may result in non-renewal of membership.
Members are advised to attain and retain their CPE records and the evidence of participation for a period of five years.
I am also a member of another professional accountancy institute. Do I have to comply with the CPE requirements of ISCA?
The courses and activities you attend to comply with the CPE requirements of other accountancy institutes are also valid for ISCA. However, you still have to maintain a separate record and ensure that it matches our requirements for submission to ISCA.
I have completed my CPE requirements with ISCA. Do I still have to comply with the CPE requirements of other professional accountancy institutes that I am also a member of?
Different accountancy bodies might have different requirements for CPE. Do check with the respective institutes.
CPE should contribute to the professional competence of the individual member and therefore, as a general rule, acceptable CPE courses or activities should be relevant to the work of the member concerned.
Activities must be verifiable with a clear set of objectives and a logical framework. Only the actual time during which you participated in a recognised type of technical activity can be claimed.
ISCA CPE offers a wide array of courses that cater to our members' needs with CPE hours awarded. Kindly visit their website for more information.
A number of the courses I attend are organised by ISCA. Does this mean that I do not need to produce evidence for these courses?
We would still require you to present us with evidence, in the form of certificates or letters of attendance, for these courses.
I have attended a number of courses run by organisations other than ISCA. Can I claim CPE hours for these courses?
Yes, you may claim verifiable CPE hours for a learning activity if the answer is yes to all the questions below:
1. Is the activity relevant to your current or future work?
2. Are there clear learning objectives or outcomes when attending or completing the activity?
3. Does the activity help in the development of your professional competency?
4. Can you provide proof of attendance or participation of the activity? The evidence of participation should clearly indicate your attendance and course details such as the course title, date and duration so as to support the number of hours claimed.
Hence, in-house training, attendance at external seminars, workshops or conferences may also count as verifiable CPE hours.
I have participated as a speaker/presenter at an event? Can I claim the preparation and presentation time as verifiable CPE hours?
Yes, we recognise both the preparation and presentation time of speakers/presenters as verifiable CPE hours. For a first-time presentation, you may claim preparation time of up to two times the actual time of presentation (e.g. Preparation time of up to 7 CPE hours can be claimed for a 3.5-hours course).
For repeated presentations, both the preparation and presentation time can be claimed as per above only if it can be shown that there is a significant change in the presentation content such that additional preparation time is needed. Otherwise, the presentation time can only be claimed once each calendar year.
In order to be verifiable, there should be an evidence of participation to support your course participation and the duration of the actual presentation. We will accept different forms of supporting documents so long as it provides indication of the member’s participation as a speaker in the programme. Examples include Company’s letter of confirmation, certificate of participation, published materials indicating speaker and course duration etc.
Request for waiver or exemption will be granted to any member (except a CA (Singapore) who is a public accountant) only in exceptional circumstances, which may include but not limited to the following, to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis:
- Onerous caring duties for close family member
- Long term illness and/or serious ill health
- Maternity/ paternity leave
- Career break
- Education leave
- Working part-time or semi-retired and not carrying out any professional work of a business or financial nature (paid or unpaid)
Approval for waivers or exemption may be granted where the Institute is fully satisfied that the fulfilment of the CPE requirements was not practically possible due to arduous factor(s), such as, challenges arising from a medical condition.
I am currently working overseas and will not be in Singapore for the next few years. Can I get any exemption from CPE requirements?
In general, no exemptions will be granted in this case as members should still be able to attend courses and carry out other verifiable or non-verifiable learning activities even while working overseas.
I am over 55 years of age and serving as a director of a listed company on a part-time basis. My duties consist of attending board meetings twice a month. Can I get a waiver of my CPE hours?
No, you would not be able to get a waiver of your CPE hours. As a director, you would still need to stay updated on the latest news and developments and as such, your CPE hours cannot be waived off.
Nonetheless, you may wish to note that CPE hours can be included for your time spent preparing and discussing matters at board meetings or audit committees. CPE hours are claimable beyond training to also include attendance at seminars/talks, being a speaker or conducting in-house training, coaching or mentoring.
Member should raise the exemption request to the Membership Services Department at email@example.com in writing and state the following:
- Reason for applying for CPE exemption;
- Type of CPE exemption request – Waiver, Reduction, Extension;
- CPE year(s) under request;
- Number of verifiable and/or non-verifiable CPE hours accumulated from period of request to date;
- Previous or current employment date/details and intention to return to workforce (if unemployed); and
- Provide copies of documentary evidence to support the application (e.g. CPF contribution statement as evidence of unemployment, medical certificate in the case of illness)
All exemption requests (waiver/reduction/extension) will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
I have been granted waiver for CPE hours for a particular year. Do I still need to request for waiver in subsequent years?
Yes, we would require you to submit your request annually. This is to ensure that we remain constantly updated of your status.
If the fulfillment of CPE requirements was not practically possible due to arduous factor(s), you may wish to seek for CPE exemption. A waiver may be considered if the member has not carried out work of any professional/business nature (whether paid or unpaid) for the full CPE year under request. In other situations, a reduction in CPE hours may be applicable.
However, before you return to the workforce, you are expected to catch up on your CPE activities so as to equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to competently perform your work and meet the needs of clients, employers, and other stakeholders as a CA (Singapore).
1. CPE Triennium Period: Choose a triennium period to start. The dashboard shows your current triennium period by default.
2. Required: This column shows your CPE requirements for the selected triennium period. Click on the numbers to view the breakdown of your CPE requirements by years according to your member class and type:
3. Achieved: This column shows your CPE hours clocked for the selected triennium period. Click on the numbers in the dotted box to view the breakdown of your CPE records by year. Click on the numbers in the Total column to view your CPE records for the period.
Please note that only courses attended with ISCA CPE will be automatically updated into your CPE records. For external courses, you will need to update the portal using the link “Update My CPE Hours”. Make use of the document upload function to maintain the evidence of participation for your verifiable CPE activities in the portal.
4. Hours Capped: As hours achieved in excess of each CPE year’s requirements cannot be carried forward to subsequent years, this column shows the total verifiable hours capped for the selected period.
In the below instance, although 27 verifiable hours were clocked in 2015, the hours are capped at the required hours for the year, i.e. 20 verifiable hours.
5. Exempted: This column shows your total exempted hours for the period (if any). To apply for CPE exemption, please click here.
6. Outstanding: This column shows your total outstanding verifiable hours for the selected period. The outstanding hours are computed using “Hours Capped” less “Exempted” for each CPE year. See illustrations A and B below for more information.
Illustration A: Although the “Outstanding” balance is shown for the selected triennium period, this amount is calculated on a yearly basis.
In the example below, the “Outstanding” is not a direct computation of total hours of “Required” 60 less “Hours Capped” 25 less “Exempted” 40). This is because the 40 Exempted hours were for CPE years 2015 and 2016 and there is still an outstanding balance for 2017. As a general rule, hours clocked in excess of each CPE year’s requirements cannot be carried forward to subsequent years.
Illustration B: Although hours clocked in excess of each CPE year cannot be carried forward to the next, hours clocked in the current CPE year(s) could potentially be used to offset the shortfall in prior years.
In the example below, the 2016 CPE hours could be used to make good the shortfall for CPE year 2015 and hence there were no outstanding hours for the 3-year period.