How I won the AAT CPD Prize, by Sarah Knight

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain in a formal and non-formal work environment.

At AAT we are continually encouraging all learners to keep abreast of changes to legislation, technology and working practices. By continually investing in learning, AAT members can be at the top of their game.

Sarah Knight collecting her prize in 2013

Here the winner of the 2013 AAT CPD prize, Sarah Knight shares with us what it means to be crowned a winner and why keeping her CPD on track is so important.

How I won the AAT CPD Prize

I actually didn’t plan to enter the 2013 AAT CPD prize and I knew little about it. I received an e-mail from AAT on the day I returned back from a family holiday last August and had just found out I’d failed an ACCA exam, so I was feeling pretty crushed.

The competition seemed a good way to re-focus my mind. I was heavily involved in my own CPD process & thought I’d enjoy sharing my tips and learning’s with others. I didn’t think for a moment that what I was doing was any different from anyone else.

I found the process very natural as I was only communicating what I was actually doing. I enjoy studying and I do a lot of wider reading across trade titles and accountancy websites. I like to understand different views especially from a business perspective. I’m also interested in leadership so I like to keep abreast of famous business leaders and their initiatives. I think if you are passionate about the field you work in then it’s only natural that you should want to acquire knowledge within your chosen field.

What I would say is that the CPD cycle is the starting point; from there you inject your own personality, ideas and dreams. CPD should inspire you, your colleagues, your professional body and to a degree, others outside our profession and be a continually rolling process.

Made the shortlist

I was really surprised when I was shortlisted to the next stage of the competition and asked to submit my CPD records. And even more so when I was invited to London for an interview and to give presentation on a CPD related topic.
Waiting in the foyer for what seemed like an eternity quickly became a distant memory as I entered the open plan AAT offices. Although I felt very comfortable with my interviewees, I certainly still had butterflies presenting my research.

I felt immensely proud & emotional as I went through my PowerPoint presentation. I struggled to keep control of my emotions as I watched my work play in front of my eyes – the words seemed even more powerful projected onto the wall. My CPD style and interview preparation was, according to my interviewers, unique and innovative.

I worked hard to make my feelings and opinions come alive and it was a joy to watch the interviewers engage and enjoy my presentation. Of the entire process, this is the moment I will cherish for years to come.

And the winner was me!

I received a call from AAT half way through the year end audit. I was overwhelmed when I was told I had won – something I was unprepared for!

Winning has given me the confidence to apply for a more challenging role. I took a new position at Pentagon Motor Holdings in January as an Assistant Accountant. I also felt more confident and decided to retake a hard law exam which I’m happy to say I passed – second time lucky!  I think winning an award like the CPD one gives you the strength to believe in your own abilities and achievements.

I am planning to enter this year to defend my accounting crown, and I encourage all AAT members to enter as well.

If  you need help with your CPD , have a read of the top tips in this article.

Sarah Knight Sarah Knight is the winner of the 2013 AAT CPD Prize.

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