The Leasing Foundation launches consultation on professional certification programme 

The Leasing Foundation, a forward-looking not for profit organisation that focuses on professional development in business finance, has today launched a consultation for its Certified Business Finance Professional programme. 

The programme, which provides a framework to encourage, support and reward continuing professional development, is open both to individuals newly-joining the business finance industry through to experienced professionals, in all areas of business finance. 

Professor Peter Thomas, executive director of the Foundation and one of the design group for the programme, says:

“The Certified Business Finance Professional represents a step change in our ability to attract new talent and how we encourage, support and reward professionals for investment in their own development. 

“Until now, there have been few structures for industry-wide sustained, lifelong, continual professional development. One of the most important aspects of the health of any industry – the ongoing development of contemporary skills, competencies, knowledge and sharing by professionals – is what this programme supports.”

The programme has four levels that build from Foundation (level 1), through Early Career, Development, and Mastery (level 4). Individuals enter at a level appropriate their experience, what they have learned and how they have supported the industry. They are then provided with recommendations for activities that match their needs and interests and that align with the development priorities of their organisations. Professionals then move through the programme as they gain experience, acquire new knowledge and engage in industry enhancement activities such as mentoring, sharing expertise or thought-leadership. All of their activity is showcased in a public profile. 

The programme does not provide training courses. Instead it curates high quality professional development resources, including learning materials, from any organisation endorsed by the programme. This ensures that professionals have access to diverse, high-quality development opportunities. 

The programme also encourages and rewards a neglected area of modern professionalism that is the hallmark of an innovative industry – the sharing of experience, expertise and insights – by recommending projects and activities that professionals can become involved in. 

Thomas notes: 

“There are many training courses. But modern professional development is more than just gaining skills or knowledge -this is just one part of who a credible, effective and rounded modern professional should be. 

“We want people to invest not just in themselves but also their professional community – and show that they have done so. That could involve taking a Coursera module on blockchain or doing an internal development course, or an industry diploma – but also being engaged in a mentoring programme, or an industry innovation forum, or in charitable giving. Modern professionalism is the intersection of experience, knowledge and sharing.” 

“We want to help people make informed choices about their own development beyond a fixed curriculum to gain knowledge which, in a fast-moving industry, can become quickly outdated. 

“We live in a time when you can learn on a mobile device and access thousands of high-quality resources online; when organisations are realising that what is essential in their workforces is flexibility, agility, insight and foresight; when skills and knowledge have an ever-decreasing shelf-life, and when businesses are fighting to hold onto their best talent and struggling to fill key positions. A different approach is needed to exploit the opportunities and overcome the challenges.”

Ian Smith, CEO of 1pm plc and a member of the design group says: 

“The appeal of the accreditation framework for attaining the status of Business Finance Professional is that it stands apart from traditional approaches in being designed to promote added value. It credits a blend of academic and practical knowledge, real-world application and an individual's re-investment in their chosen career; relevant, practical recognition for today's diverse, dynamic sector.”

The outcomes of the programme include visibility for business finance to outstanding younger talent who will be attracted to being part of a programme that supports them from the first moment they join the industry; support for early career professionals in making more informed development choices; and the opportunity for senior professionals to both nourish the industry and assess their own future advanced development needs. The programme will also create a greater sense of professional community which will be enhanced as the programme offers a range of services to certified professionals.

The programme has been developed by a small agile design group who are sharing their thinking to gather insights from anyone in the industry – from individual professionals, through industry bodies to HR and learning professionals.

An outline of programme can be accessed at

http://cbfp.org.uk

and you can respond on the site or by email at

yourview@cbfp.org.uk