Continued Professional Development

html5 certificate

Anyone who is running a business, especially a service-based business, knows that in order to provide the best possible customer support you can, you need to continually keep on top of the latest “thing” in your industry. That “thing” could be:

  • software
  • technology
  • legislation
  • a number of other skills needed for running your business and providing your service

There are so many ways to continue with CPD (Continued Professional Development), and if you belong to some associations – like the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers for example – then you will have to make sure you obtain so many CPD points in a given year, and that you obtain the right type of CPD.

There are different types of CPD, and if you belong to a professional body they will outline exactly what sort of CPD you need to acquire, and how many hours or points you need. There are also many different ways you can acquire CPD.

In my case, in order to maintain my membership with the ICB, I am required to do 30 hours of CPD per year, and this is to be made up of structured and unstructured activities. Structured activities include:

  • attending branch meetings
  • seminars
  • training courses
  • obtaining more qualifications

Unstructured CDP is easier to achieve as it involves things like:

  • reading magazines/blogs/newsletters
  • meeting with clients
  • discussions with colleagues

I am constantly working on continued professional development with keeping on top of the latest rules concerning running a business or being self-employed, reading all of the newsletters I receive from my association and software companies, and doing various training courses. My clients can be assured that I am always striving to better my knowledge so I can offer them a fantastic service.

At Ihelm Enterprises though, continued professional development isn’t just for the bookkeeping and payroll side of things – we also continue to improve our knowledge of the latest technology, website software, and anything to do with websites and website hosting. Just recently myself and Michael completed an Introduction to HTML5 course and we both received a distinction. The course wasn’t very in-depth, but it gave us an introduction to the new CSS elements available with HTML5 and the best ways to implement them. This will, in turn, help us to help our clients with maintaining their websites and with making sure they are using the most up to date CSS elements. I am also currently working on a course that is introducing me to the top 5 social media trends for small businesses.

CPD does not have to be expensive. You can sign up to blogs and receive newsletters for free and there are all sorts of courses out there that are not expensive. You do need to be wary of courses that are free or are of low-cost as not all of them will provide you with the best information out there. I would suggest researching the courses or getting recommendations from other people that you know, to make sure the course offers you exactly what you are after.

CPD may not be mandatory in your line of work, but if you don’t work at improving your knowledge and skills, and keeping on top of the latest information for your sector, you won’t be able to offer the best service possible to your customers. Making sure that you continue to improve your skills is an important aspect of running a business, and something all business owners should do.

Don’t Risk Losing Money by Choosing the Wrong Business Name

So you’ve decided to set up your own business and you’ve chosen a name, but what do you do next? I’ve listed below four things you should do before setting your business name in stone.

  1. Check the name isn’t registered on Companies House. Even if you aren’t setting up a limited company, if the name is registered on Companies House than you cannot use it.
  2. Check to make sure the domain name is free by using a site like 123-reg.
  3. Search online to make sure there aren’t any other businesses in your area doing the same thing, with the same name.
  4. Check to make sure the name hasn’t been trademarked by visiting the Intelectual Property Office website.

Make sure your business name is definitely available to be used before spending money on marketing material. You don’t want to spend money producing business cards for example, and then find out that you can’t use that name.