Key competencies for public sector finance professionals

Public services around the world are facing unprecedented change and challenges, from new regulations and transforming work practices through to a global pandemic that continues to impact all facets of society

Helping public finance professionals respond to these challenges and prepare for the issues of tomorrow is core to CIPFA's mission. We believe that lifelong learning and a commitment to continuing professional development are key to supporting a robust, resilient and ethical public finance profession.

It is for this reason that we have brought together the full range of knowledge, skills and approaches we believe are required by public finance practitioners, in our key competencies for public sector finance professionals.

This document is aimed at public finance professionals working both within and alongside the public sector and has been designed to stimulate thinking and discussion, and to aid planning in relation to career pathways and the development needs of those tasked with all aspects of public financial management.

Download the key competencies

Using the key competencies

Given the rich diversity of career pathways within the public finance profession, it is not the case that everyone will need all the competencies listed. But our hope is that they will serve as an invaluable conversation-starter, used by public sector organisations, and the finance professionals working within them, to help identify training needs.

As you read through the document, consider to what extent you – or people within your organisation – need the various competencies, taking into account job roles, seniority and chosen career pathways. Then ask yourself to what extent these competencies already exist. This will, in turn, highlight potential learning and development gaps – thereby helping you plot the way forward.

You can also download our companion document, CIPFA's learning and development directory, which lists all of our core qualifications and short courses according the key competency themes.

Four thematic areas

The document sets out the competencies required in four core thematic areas:


Contact us

If you have any feedback on the key competencies or would like to discuss related learning and development options, please contact us.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7543 5600