Annual report

Sustainability and resilience are the watchwords for our 2021 annual report

Download the CIPFA annual report for 2021

This is a draft report and subject to member approval at the AGM on 12 July.

Our annual reports offer a broad overview of the institute's achievements and accounts for the year previous. The pandemic was a transformative event for CIPFA: rather than let it slow us down, we emerged stronger, fitter and with a five-year plan to grow our membership, tap into new markets and invest further in our existing systems and products.

Work got underway to replace our online exam system and virtual learning environment, greatly enhancing the experience of our students. These updates complement our refreshed and updated Professional Accountancy Qualification. Take up of continuing professional development (CPD) training has remained high, particularly in relation to open courses and e-learning.

Our apprenticeships programme was subject to its first full Ofsted inspection and we were delighted to be rated Good – a significant achievement given this was our first full inspection. Inspectors noted our effective relationships with employers, our sector-focused approach and "very strong commitment towards responsible stewardship of public money."

CIPFA Solutions, our advisory practice combining financial management, property and fraud consultancy, has continued to grow both its client base and revenue, from £2.226m in 2020 to £2.841m in 2021, an increase of 27%.

There were significant updates to our Prudential Code and Treasury Management Code for local government following two consultations with the sector, and we were an active participant in conversations emanating from the Redmond Review of local audit.

We aimed to increase the reach of our thought leadership, beginning a new programme of internationally-focused research with our analysis of public sector sustainability reporting. Given the importance of protecting the environment and holding ourselves accountable, we have chosen to frame our 2021 annual report to focus on sustainability. We are working towards a more integrated report that also tracks CIPFA's activities against relevant targets and in line with best practice disclosure standards.

This annual report sees us shift our narrative into a new structure aligned to two of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Education and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. These objectives are at the heart of CIPFA's mission.

More key points

  • Demand for accredited counter fraud training grew, and our Fraud Investigator Training programme was delivered to three government Ministries in Uganda.
  • A short, accessible e-learning module focused on ethics was made available free of charge to all members and students.
  • The accountingcpd platform was introduced – every member registered receives a weekly email containing a 15-minute CPD session, as well as a back catalogue of content and 10% off their range of online training courses.
  • CIPFA was recognised with a bronze award at the annual Association Excellence Awards for our work supporting members during COVID-19.
  • The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities formally appointed CIPFA to undertake a series of local government independent assurance reviews, positive response from the department, further requests for support, and further publicity.
  • A new Practice Oversight Panel was established to consider possibly developing areas of concern in current practice, raising awareness of potential risks to both the institute and sector.
  • With over 85% of police forces signed up to the Achieving Finance Excellence in Policing (AFEP) programme, we continue to be at the forefront of police finance.

Download previous annual reports