Accreditation is a term that can mean different things to different people but, for our purposes, we take the term to mean a system by which an individual can be formally approved as having the skills and knowledge to deliver a given service.
However, the IMA does not consider that the attainment of these standards is the responsibility and priority of the individual alone, nor that the organisational environment in which people work has no influence on their capacity to meet these standards. Ideally, organisational and individual standards should complement one another in a context where skills, knowledge and activities are aligned with organisational principles, policies and practices. Likewise, the benefits of accreditation are as much evident for individuals as the organisations for which they work.
Following wide research into the appetite for accreditation, the IMA established a clear demand for accreditation and qualifications from both employers and employees across the sector in order to provide recognition for the ability to do the work they do.
The IMA accreditation scheme
The IMA has developed an accreditation scheme for advisers which incorporates
- a qualification, The Certificate in Money Advice Practice,
- a Continuing Professional Development Scheme, and
- a Professional Code of Conduct.
The benefits associated with accreditation for employers
This accreditation scheme includes gaining a qualification which is an independent and external validation of competence which can be used to establish a benchmark for service and individual standards. The scheme helps to provide a common language and standard of quality, which will promote a consistency of advice across all types of employers and services, as well as a commitment to maintaining that high quality. External benchmarking and validation of staff expertise enhances public confidence and indicates quality to all who come into contact with a service, including employees, potential employees, service users and regulators, and will provide a differentiation from less conscientious competitors.
The benefits associated with accreditation for employees
The accreditation and qualification is recognition of money advice as a skilled profession, enabling individuals to take a proactive role in their own professional development and career structure. It provides independent and external evidence of practitioners’ key skills and so can be used to demonstrate expertise to employers. In addition, it will improve employees’ confidence that they are knowledgeable, working to best practice standards, help them present a professional image and speak with authority.
For details of the Money Advice Service accreditation scheme and how this relates to the IMA scheme please follow this link: Money Advice Service Accreditation