Digital Skills Programme

Professional Development


The Digital Skills Programme enables those working in professional services to understand how emerging technology is impacting the professional services industry.

Delivered digitally over three months and covering a range of contemporary topics covers areas such machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced data analysis, the Digital Skills Programme empowers professional services employees for the changing world.

Online Classroom

This course will be delivered through Online Classroom Live.

16 CPD hours
16 hours
Online Classroom Live

This course has already run and a new date has not yet been scheduled. Please contact us to register your interest.

business benefits


Digital Skills Programme



What is it?

The Digital Skills Programme focuses on and develops a detailed understanding in emerging areas including automation, AI and Big Data, and how these will affect financial processes and implications for the work of professional advisers, contributing to your organisation’s innovative approach.

Each session comprises:

  • Pre-work – to include short reading and video resources (up to one hour)
  • Two-hour interactive training session, delivered online
  • Post-work – exercise to consolidate lessons learned and additional resources (up to one hour)





Why does changing technology matter and how does it affect professional advisers?

This module explores and discusses the developments in technology affecting professional services firms, and the interrelationship between them. By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Discuss the forces driving technological change and the way they interrelate
  • Interpret developments in technology in the light of ‘big picture’ changes
  • Consider ways in which your firm’s practices help or hinder the exploitation of new technology
  • Understand the ways in which your career planning and development may need to change to be successful in a digital age

Working with Data

This module focuses in more detail on data. We have all heard the saying that ‘data is the new oil’, but what does this mean and how do organisations go about making use of it? This module will introduce the benefits of a structured approach to data analysis, going on to take participants through an exercise with Excel to show how its capabilities can be used to create an interactive dashboard and chart to convey the results of analysis.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Describe the Data Analysis Lifecycle and the benefits of a structured approach to data analysis
  • Carry out a mini-data analysis project using Excel functions
  • Use Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts to create and present an interactive dashboard

Advanced Data Analysis

This builds on the previous module to develop more advanced data analysis skills with Excel, and in particular forms of data visualisation including graphs and charts. This will include discussion of best practices in visualisation and common use cases in professional services. Excel is a powerful tool, but there are points where more advanced tools such as Power BI, Alteryx or Python would also be helpful. While not providing in-depth training in these tools, this module will provide an overview of their capabilities and signpost the availability of further resources.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Record and edit Excel macros
  • Select and apply appropriate forms of visualisation to communicate the results of data analysis
  • Understand the capabilities of Power BI, Alteryx and Python, with potential use cases in professional services

Advanced Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence has been a staple of science fiction for decades and can conjure up images of sentient robots and machines seeking world domination. The reality, at least at present, is more prosaic. To quote one of the many current definitions (Office for Science), AI is “the analysis of data to model some aspect of the world. Inferences made from these models are then used to predict and anticipate future events”. Various developments in technology are leading to increased use of AI and machine learning across a range of industries, including professional services, and its use by clients is also raising issues.

This module will introduce the key concepts in AI, consider use cases in professional services and potential future developments. By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Understand the key features of AI and machine learning
  • Evaluate use cases for AI and machine learning in professional services firms to enhance processes or client services
  • Consider potential future developments and business impact of AI and machine learning

Ethical & Legal Issues in Big Data & Artificial Intelligence

Changes in digital technology are raising countless ethical issues and trusted professional advisers will be expected to understand these issues, act ethically themselves and provide advice and thought leadership in this area. At the most basic level, the law in this area, especially GDPR, must be thoroughly understood and applied, but other considerations may be less clear-cut. For example, if algorithms are being used to make decisions based on historical data, are they perpetuating historical forms of discrimination? What are the ethical implications of business models which are based on use of personal data? This module will serve to raise awareness of these issues.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Recognise the situations in which GDPR will apply and implement its principles, as well as other legal and ethical issues around data
  • Consider issues raised by AI and similar technology in relation to professional ethics and potential approaches
  • Reflect on ethical implications of business models enabled by technology and the potential role of professionals in giving advice on these

Cyber Security

Cyber security is not a new field. As soon as businesses moved information online they became vulnerable to attacks and there have been many well-publicised incidents where organisations have suffered damage including financial, reputational and loss of intellectual property. McAfee recently estimated that approximately £430 billion is lost every year to cyber-related crime. As more and more of our business and personal lives move online and into the cloud, the risks to information assets will only increase. Professional services firms have always had a focus on risk management and securing assets so an understanding of this field is vital for anyone working in these firms.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Understand typical cyber security threats and the implications of those threats
  • Design basic cyber security controls and tests to gain assurance over those controls
  • Understand key cyber security controls and defences, and their day-to-day implications for all staff

Digital Business and Digital Transformation

In 2014 Facebook paid $19 billion for WhatsApp. At that time, WhatsApp had revenues of $10.2 million, was losing money and had about 50 employees, and yet now the transaction is generally regarded as a bargain. It is clear that digital technology has changed the rules of business - for example many digital products and services have little or no marginal cost and network effects mean that the returns of having scale can be enormous. All businesses, not just technology companies, are being strongly affected by these trends and those in client-facing roles in particular need to be aware of them, and help their clients respond in a process often known as digital transformation.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Analyse the impact of digital technology on the economics of business and particular firms
  • Advise on the strategic implications of these changes for organisations
  • Understand the concept of digital transformation and the practices that support it

Emerging Technologies

There is a constant buzz around technologies that are just about mainstream, becoming mainstream, or just talked about. Those who are not aware of these technologies may be at risk of missing opportunities or having their businesses changed by them. This module covers the technologies which are becoming more popular, or are on the horizon, and which are likely to have significant impact for professional services. It will also cover some tools for ongoing 'horizon scanning' and distinguishing hype from substance.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • Appraise key emerging technologies and their impact on professional services firms and their clients
  • Carry out ‘horizon scanning’ to identify future emerging technologies of potential interest
  • Distinguish hype from technologies likely to make a substantive change


Sessions run over a four-month period, with live sessions approximately every two weeks.


Delivered remotely by our expert tutors via Online Classroom Live, with any pre-/post-course work available via BPP’s Learning Management System, the Hub.

How much is it?

£1,800 (subject to discounts if multiple students from the same employer sign up). If you would like to book five or more employees onto the programme, please contact for a discount code.



Business simulations and applied learning

Experience an interactive and high impact learning experience utilising professionally relevant case studies and utilising custom-built platforms which replicate those used in practice.


Market leading online delivery

Courses are delivered using our premium online study mode Online Classroom Live. It uses market leading Adobe Connect with interactive features to replicate a real-life classroom.


A fully supportive environment

Our tutors are experienced professionals who have been specifically recruited for their industry experience and passion for training. They bring real-life work-based examples into their teaching sessions, sharing their own experiences of how the concepts covered within the topics apply within business.