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When should I take my CPI?

You work in insolvency, you have done for a while – maybe a couple of years, maybe a couple of months. 

You’re settled and happy with your job. The industry around you is continuing to rise, in keeping with the recent insolvency rate of the last few years, so you’re starting to think about your next steps to develop your career and keep up with the growing market.

In recent years, one of the most popular routes to development has been the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency, or CPI. 


As an Insolvency recruiter, one of the questions I’m asked most frequently by candidates and clients alike is: “When’s the right time for me to take it?”.

With no prior experience or qualifications required to sit the exam, and each employer having their own preferences on when to encourage their staff through it, I decided to take a further look. 

There are CPI exams every December and June and pass lists published online. The most recent sitting saw 20 people pass and become qualified.

The average level of experience of those taking the second 2019 sitting was approximately 3 and a half years, which is generally the level I’d say is reflected in the market. 35% of those taking the exam held the Administrator job title, and 15% were Senior Administrators.

As ever, London had the highest levels of passes, with 40% of those who passed the exam listing themselves as based in the city and immediate surrounding area. The second largest percentage we can see is the 15% who were located in the Lancashire and West Yorkshire area, with the rest scattered across the rest of the country, reflecting the national popularity of the CPI.

The continued popularity of the CPI over the CPPI (Certificate of Proficiency in Personal Insolvency) was evident. In 2019, there were 10 times more passing the CPI than the CPPI, reflecting the demand for a corporate caseload both from clients and candidates alike.

Of course, whether or not to take the qualification, and when it’s best to do so, varies from employer to employer. Prior to looking into it more closely, I would have recommended the 3-5 year mark. Yet, with so many insolvency firms supporting the costs and study support options, it really is a case of personal preference!

For more information about the CPI course, take a look at the BPP’s website.



Claire Jones is the Principal Resourcing Consultant in the Accountancy Division at Harvey John.

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