It’s all about the data

May 2022

Sarah Shreeves talks you through what CIPFA’s new certificate in data science entails Recent geopolitical crises have underlined the importance of understanding data security. Data is changing the way we live every day and is becoming increasingly important to organisations across the public sector. To better support the sector with this challenge, CIPFA has teamed up with the Southampton Data Science Academy (SDSA) to develop the CIPFA Certificate in Data Science.

Understanding the concepts of data science and security and how to correctly apply them is critical for those working in public sector finance roles. Anyone looking to develop their career prospects will need to stay on top of the latest updates and technical guidance available.

Skilled and qualified data professionals who contribute to the effective management of public finances and ultimately to a robust, resilient and impactful public sector. More informed use of data across the public sector could dramatically improve outcomes for service users.

Broadly speaking, course participants can expect to learn how to work effectively with data, unlock its value and communicate the insights they find. The programme has been designed to offer the flexibility to study around demanding schedules. Participants are only expected to dedicate around four hours per week to the course. To apply, individuals must be comfortable using Excel, but no coding experience is required.

This qualification ties into many of the key changes to CIPFA’s updated Professional Accountancy Qualification (PAQ), most notably a greater emphasis on data analysis as part of business planning and ethics, and modules on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and more.

These two new offerings work as part of CIPFA’s broader mission to shape the next generation of public finance professionals.

Public services require, and will continue to require, data to both continually innovate and to maintain transparency and trust with the people they provide for.

If you wish to know more about CIPFA’s upcoming qualification, contact Victoria at

• Sarah Shreeves, Head of Training Services at CIPFA